Melvins' music is influenced by Black Flag's mix of punk and metal on their album My War, and other slow punk acts like Swans, Flipper and Wipers, but also by some hard rock and metal bands such as Kiss and Alice Cooper; however, their idiosyncratic approach, bizarre sense of humor, and experimentation make neat categorization difficult. Buzzo has also stated that his guitar playing is more influenced by Black Flag than Black Sabbath, with whom they are often compared.
They often favor very slow tempos, and their sludgy sound was a strong influence on grunge music, especially Nirvana, Soundgarden, Green River, and many other bands from Seattle. These bands, however, tended to use more conventional musical structures with this sound. Melvins have also influenced many bands outside the Seattle grunge scene, including Tool (who are personal friends with the band), Boris (who took their name from the title of a Melvins song), Mastodon, Neurosis, Eyehategod, and Isis.
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