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The Bootlicker

The Bootlicker isn’t the blissful CD brimming with pop melodies I anticipated, but the promise of unconventional Melvins material still rings true. The second recording of a trilogy, The Bootlicker is essentially the Melvins minus the heavy-metal distortion. The singer/guitarist King Buzzo’s howls have softened into whispers. Without all the noise, the sedate, complex arrangements expose the group’s prog-rock influences more than ever. I imagine the Satanists from the film Rosemary’s Baby substituting “Black Santa” and “We We” for traditional lullabies while rocking the antichrist child to sleep every night. Freed from having to smash his kit to pieces, the drummer Dale Crover’s liberal use of the sleigh bells, gong, and cowbell indicates how creative a musician he can be underneath the group’s audio slaughter. How different is this record from conventional Melvins fare? Well, the experimental “Prig” begins with five minutes of noise, keyboards, and beats before launching into a slow, countrified jam with acoustic guitars and piano.

Originally published in the Orlando Weekly on September 16, 1999.