So, you go to your friendly neighbourhood record store and find this nice little blue album with a colourful bowl of fruit on the front. In the top left it says MELVINS and you’ve never heard of them. The album just looks so friendly and the bowl of fruit so inviting that you decide to give the record a chance, expecting maybe some happy pop or jangly Indie Rock. After all, those scary Metal bands always decorate their records with skulls and devils and dead people on black backgrounds, so a nice bowl of fruit atop plane of soft blue must be as far away from that terrible Metal garbage as possible.
You might think that, of course, until you are crushed under the weight of the opening riff of “Boris,” which continues again and again throughout most of the song with Buzz Osbourne sneering maniacally over top. As a whole, “Bullhead” plods away, hitting you like the asphalt as you’re bound and dragged behind a giant drunken snail on a bumpy road... Many MELVINS fans hail this as one of the band’s best recordings, mixing the uncompromising heaviness of the earlier “Gluey Porch Treatments” and “Ozma” with more expanded and flowing compositions. Those who swear by the newer MELVINS, say, the MELVINS post-“Houdini,” might find this a little dull, as aside from a few voyages into dissonance there really isn’t much an “experimental” edge to it. Nope, no fooling around here, just straight up heavy riffs, pounding drums and Buzz’s crazed vocals. The production is pretty weak, which takes away from the heaviness of the record, but that’s nothing that can’t be fixed with the volume button.
Oh and two interesting facts. One, this was Kurt Cobain’s favourite album and you sure can tell seeing how the bassline from NIRVANA’s “Milk It” is stolen directly from “It’s Shoved.” Second, this is one of the few albums which featured Lorax aka Lori Black aka Shirley Temple’s daughter on bass. It’s not really surprising that someone like that played bass for the MELVINS, though, as they go through bass players often enough that everyone – even you – has probably played for them at one time or another. (Online July 23, 2005)