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The Colossus of Destiny

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  • Lately I have come across the inspirations of Melvins titles ever more frequently. There are allusions to “the Anti-Vermin Seed” off of the fantastic “Hostile Ambient Takeover” (which may very well be the Melvins greatest, most cohesive work to date) in Gore Vidal’s novel “Messiah”. Two other songs off of “H.A.T.” find their titles rooted in science fiction. “The Brain Center at Whipples” is the title of a Twilight Zone episode while “The Fool, the Meddling Idiot” is screamed at the climax of the 1950’s sci-fi epic, “Forbidden Planet” starring a surprisingly suave Leslie Neilsen.By far my favorite Melvins song title discovery is “Colossus of Destiny” which is found midway through the great John Fante’s novel “the Road to Los Angeles”. It is the title our hero, Arturo Bandini dreams of for what will be his masterwork, his final statement to the world. When I read that name on the page the clouds parted.”Colossus of Destiny” was initially intended to be “the Crybaby”, the third part of the Melvins 1999-2000 trilogy which ultimately became the guest stars album. The trilogy was intended to showcase a different facet of the Melvins music on each album; “the Maggot” being the heaviest album ever released and “the Bootlicker” being a relaxed, quiet work. Looked at in the context of the potential third piece of the musical puzzle, “Colossus…” makes a lot more sense. Many people hate the noise of this record but cannot deny that this is a significant part of the Melvins makeup. The Melvins have released difficult music since their inception and noise pieces have been part of their repertoire for a while now, most notably on the underrated “Honky” and culminating in the aforementioned “Anti-Vermin Seed”, the Melvins most accomplished foray in this vein so far. The majority of the poorly-worded, far from scathing reviews below mention past Melvins noise efforts in their diatribes dismissing this album, for example “Prick”. These people are essentially the crybabies the Melvins name in this album’s original title.I find the album itself fun to listen to. I bought it outside of Seattle as I drove cross country and as I twisted my van along craggy mountains and lush, green valleys, the music held my attention and god forbid, engaged me. I will admit that I do not listen to “Colossus of Destiny” as much as I do other Melvins albums but that does not mean it’s poor. I want to hide a boombox with “Colossus of Destiny” behind the jack o lantern on my porch come Halloween and really scare the hell out of the neighborhood.It is extremely hilarious seeing how infuriated people get over the lack of “songs” on this album. I find the people that try to find some rhyme or reason or theory to this album equally comic. Both camps are wrong. It’s like Buzz says in his liner notes to the reissue of “Gluey Porch Treatments”. There is plenty of room out there for the Melvins to release anything they want and why shouldn’t they? They keep us on our toes unlike any other band out there.

    Posted on December 29, 2009