The Melvins PhotoFORMED: 1985, Aberdeen, WA

The Melvins were the first post-punk band to revel in the slow, sludgy sounds of Black Sabbath. Their music is oppressively slow and heavy, only without any of the silly mystical lyrics or the indulgent guitar solos -- it's just one massive, oozing pile of dark slime. The Melvins' first record was released in 1987; they've released several albums since then, but it wasn't until 1993 that they went to a major label, thanks to their protégé, Kurt Cobain.

While the Melvins' can be dull and repetitious, their place in rock history is interesting, even if it is just a minor footnote. The band formed in Aberdeen, WA, the same town that produced Nirvana's Cobain and Chris Novoselic. For Nirvana and many other Seattle-area bands, the Melvins' sludge was inspirational; the younger bands took the Sabbath-styled heaviness of the Melvins, while adding an equally important pop song structure, which the group tended to lack. While all of their disciples became famous after Nirvana broke big in 1991 (including Mudhoney, which featured former Melvin bassist, Matt Lukin), the Melvins only expanded their cult slightly. They did earn a major-label contract with Atlantic, but after releasing three records for the label, they were dropped in late 1996, and the group returned to indie status, landing with Amphetamine Reptile for 1998's Live at the Fucker Club. The following year, the Melvins released their first album on Mike Patton's Ipecac label, The Maggot. Bootlicker followed later in 1999; another new effort, Crybaby, appeared early the next year. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide