A tribute to The Melvins, in theory, is a great idea. Hell, all tribute records in theory are great ideas. They pay homage to talented bands that have been around for years and influenced countless artists. It's only fitting that they be showered with the respect that they deserve, right? Of course! Unfortunately, most tribute records don't turn out so well. Case in point, We Reach: The Music of the Melvins.
The majority of the artists contributing to this release are confined to the metal community. The lack of variety considering the influence of The Melvins reaches beyond just metal is disappointing. So here we have eighteen songs performed by primarily metal bands with the bulk of the songs covered stemming from the middle of The Melvins' catalog. Where to begin?
Let's start with the good. Mare's rendition of "Nightgoat" is an interesting take on the classic from Houdini. The band leans away from the original composition and actually ends up sounding quite a bit like California-era Mr. Bungle. Mastodon chime in with a beefed-up reworking of "The Bit", maintaining the integrity of the song but giving it an extra kick. Matt Pike of High on Fire and Keelhaul teaming up for "Oven" is a fine turnout; they should work together more often. Isis working with members of Agoraphobic Nosebleed may sound weird, but their collaboration on "Boris" is spot on; they take the longest song from The Melvins and play it to a T. Made out of Babies make things interesting as a female-fronted band covering "Bar X to The Rocking M" - a different twist on a classic is a good thing.
Unfortunately, not all covers turn out so well; here are a few that weren't so good, in my opinion. Strapping Young Lad sounds like every popular metal band on the market with their adaptation of "Zodiac." Guess you have to be a fan of the band to enjoy it. Pig Destroyer's "Claude" is pathetic for a cream of the crop grindcore band - their interpretation could have been so much more. Eyehategod's cover of "Easy as it Was" is easily a snoozefest. Blessing the Hogs get a hand from Sean Ingram of Coalesce for their cover of "Hog Leg." Honestly, apart from Ingram, there really isn't anything worth mentioning. Pincer 2 must be a joke, and a very horrible one at that. Their covers sound like a shitty and untalented version of Jud Jud.
Finally, there are the songs that fall somewhere between. The Dillinger Escape Plan cover "Honey Bucket" and it pretty much sounds exactly like that: Dillinger playing The Melvins but with crappy production. Absentee and Disengage's efforts are admirable. I enjoyed them, but they were played fairly straight and could have benefited from some meddling. The rest of the songs aren't overtly good or bad; they're just there.
If you're a fairly big Melvins fan, I suggest locating a copy of We Reach used as the respectable covers are worth hearing. However, if you're a casual fan, the risk here is too high. You'd be better off spinning your copy of Stoner Witch or Bullhead.
6.5 / 10
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