and Boner Records were denied permission to use the name, their 1992 album officially titled "Melvins" will always be known as Lysol. The earliest prints of the album actually have the name on it, but this was corrected (poorly) with black tape and ink. Still, for Melvins fans, Lysol it is.
Lysol is made up of a single track spanning 31 minutes and 23 seconds, though it is separated into six parts: Hung Bunny, Roman Dog Bird, Sacrifice, Second Coming, The Ballad of Dwight Fry, and With Teeth.
Hung Bunny kicks off the album, though it's less of a kick and more of a long, slow shove through miles of mud. This is ten minutes of drone, in the vein of Earth and Boris. At first there is only guitar, though sharp cymbals puncture the sludge occasionally, giving a hazy frame of reference. Buzzo's wails float in and out of the mix, sounding like a chanting monk encloaking a temple with incense. Unlike Earth or SUNN 0))), this drone does not sound threatening or menacing. It soothes and stupefies like alcohol. After eight minutes monotonous drums flood into the space, beating like a frantic human heart. The entwined guitar and feedback riffs begin to compress, crashing down quicker than before. The drums stop.
Roman Dog Bird begins. The guitar is still slow and heavy, but no more than usual for the Melvins. King Buzzo begins to sing in that groggy, belligerent bellow, echoing over the roiling sea of fuzzy guitar growls. Towards the end there is a reference to Alice Cooper's Second Coming, a cover of which appears later in the album. It seeps into Roman Dog Bird from across the album space.
The next song is a cover of the song Sacrifice, on Flipper's album Gone Fishin'. It slows the pace of the album right back down to snail-crawl, where it started. An understated bass line starts it off, and as that grooves on, Buzzo plays with some mic feedback and comes in with the guitar. The song itself is a satirical look on the draft and war, something like the Dead Kennedys would have wrote. The chorus intones a portrayal of the country demanding a sacrifice of your life for the cause of the war, which sadly is not far from accurate. The Melvins have always had a strong punk connection without really being a definitive punk band, so Sacrifice sounds like something they could have written if it hadn't already existed.
Covers abound at this point of Lysol; Second Coming and The Ballad of Dwight Fry are both originally Alice Cooper songs, and they come up next. Both songs are cut down to half their respective lengths, and all that remains of the first one is a military snare drum and very Cooperesque guitar riff. The Ballad of Dwight Fry is done very well, and actually not too different from the original. I've always placed Buzz Osbourne's voice at somewhere between James Hetfield and Alice Cooper, so he's fully capable of impersonating either.
With Teeth closes the album. It's only about two minutes long, but it cuts in and ends the streak of covers for some classic Melvins rock. This segment was written by bassist Joe Preston, who had been complaining that he wasn't getting enough say in the band. Buzzo gave him the last two minutes of the album, wrote his name bigger than everyone else's on the album credits, and later, fired him.
Lysol stands out for a number of reasons. For one thing, there was the issue with the name. For another, it's not divided into songs, but parts of one track that sound different and have different names. Pointless of course, but Melvins will be Melvins. The third reason is that half the album is covers, so there aren't enough to make it a cover album but a bit too many to seem normal. In fact, the only Melvins songs on Lysol could barely be considered songs, in the traditional sense. One thing people learn fairly quickly about The Melvins is that they don't do normal very well.
Despite these oddities, the album flows very well. The one-track thing makes sense when you think about that; it doesn't seem like much of a stretch to consider Lysol as one long song. I've already mentioned the ways it achieves this. Firstly, the references to upcoming parts that are heard early on. This makes the separate parts more cohesive. Secondly, and more importantly, the covers that were chosen are songs the Melvins are very capable of performing. They would fit well into other Melvins albums, say Houdini or Ozma. As it stands, they're all together on Lysol, bookended by a whole lot of feedback, drone, and drunken hard rock.
Lysol - Melvins - 1992 - Boner Records