Musical style and influences
Variously described as a sludge metal, grunge, experimental rock, alternative metal and doom metal band, the Melvins explored a variety of different styles throughout their career, including noise rock, dark ambient, noise, jazz-rock, avant-garde music, electroacoustic music, and punk country. Initially starting out as a hardcore punk act, their sound eventually started to absorb influences by Black Flag‘s mix of punk and metal on their My War and Slip It In albums, the Butthole Surfers, slow punk acts like Flipper and the Wipers, industrial music pioneers Throbbing Gristle, and also by hard rock and metal bands such as Judas Priest, Kiss, and Alice Cooper. Since the 1990s, the band has occasionally touched on electronic music, as on Prick (1994), Colossus of Destiny (1998), Pigs of the Roman Empire (2004) – the latter a collaboration with dark ambient pioneer Lustmord, and Throbbing Jazz Gristle Funk Hits (TBA). Buzz also listed Swans and Venom as early influences on the band.
Melvins’ sludgy sound was an influence on grunge music, including bands such as Nirvana, Soundgarden, Green River, and many other bands from Seattle. They have also influenced artists outside the grunge scene, including Tool, Mike Patton of Mr. Bungle and Faith No More, Boris (who took their name from the title of a Melvins song), Pig Destroyer, Helmet, Full of Hell, Corey Taylor of Slipknot, Sleep, Earth, Sunn O))), Lamb of God, Mastodon, Neurosis, High on Fire, Baroness, Eyehategod and Isis. AllMusic wrote “their ability to combine punk with a strong Black Sabbath influence had a major impact on everything from grunge to alternative metal to doom metal and stoner rock.” In 2017, Metal Injection ranked Melvins at number 2 on their list of “10 Heaviest Grunge Bands”.