Melvins’ albums Houdini (1993), Stoner Witch (1994), and Stag (1996) have been out-of-print on vinyl for over two decades following their initial release on Atlantic Records – until now. Jack White’s Third Man Records have reissued all three albums on vinyl. Each record is pressed on 180-gram vinyl in gatefold sleeves.
Perhaps the Melvins’ most diverse album, Stoner Witch incorporates elements of blues, experimental rock, punk, and sludge metal. At times it will sound as if you’re listening to compilation of albums. Due to this, the album in its entirety may not appease the listener. In addition, the tracks have a wide margin of duration. You have tracks that span a mere two minutes, leaving you wanting more; then you have trippy tracks that seem to go on forever and tend to get skipped. This album is indeed a mixed bag.
Stoner Witch’s short tracks occasionally show flashes of brilliance. “Magic Pig Detective” clocks in at 5:33, but the actual playing doesn’t begin until 3:33. Hampered, by three and a half minutes of filler, still leaves an interesting track with a thrash-metal feel. “Sweet Willy Rollbar” opens with a hog-like sound..? It continues on with punkish riffs and some wicked drumming, which leads into an outro that feels like a pre-verse. Other short tracks include the instrumental “June Bug” and bass-rooted “Skweetis”. “June Bug” opens with some playful drums behind a heavy bass riff. The guitar then enters with a cheery afternoon atmosphere until distortion crashes in. When the distortion fades the Celtic atmosphere resumes as if it had never stopped.
Of all the albums to choose from, Stoner Witch is a good place to start if you’re new to the Melvins. It’s versatility showcases different aspects of the band. Meanwhile, if you’re a Melvins fan, you should pick-up this up if you haven’t done so already.