Bringing back the power of trios, the Pittsburgh-based rockers Melt dropped their sophomore record Replica of Man on the 7th of July 2023. With Joey Troupe (guitar, vocals), James May (bass, vocals), and J.J. Young (drums, vocals) collective writing and performance, Replica of Man shows Melt‘s big captivating sound that’ll instantly turn you into one of their fans. Let me tell you more about it.
With deep groovy bass, fuzzy riffs, and Sabbath-y vocals, Melt cemented their purely heavy stoner rock sound as they opened Replica of Man right with its title track. The dense riffs kept me hooked and expecting a lot from these guys as a stoner and psychedelic fan, while the jazzy drums/bass conversation was extremely interesting and as a major element of the genre, powerfully controlled the song’s pace and dynamics, especially with such an ever-changing structure. A solid opener that says a lot about Melt‘s roots and influences. Sight to See comes next, pushing the trio’s sound boundaries further, adding a playful progression and a psychedelic touch to their mix without compromising their core sound. Its acute dynamic shifts highlighted Melt‘s musicianship and writing skills, as they freely played around with the song’s pace and groove adding layers of complex well-arranged breakdowns and guitar melodies that amplified their sound taking it to the next level sonically and musically. Problem Child kicks in with a hard-hitting buildup before diving into a creeping intimidating groove topped by powerful rocking vocals. It introduced a more melodic side of their writing that’s been cleverly mixed with some subtle progressive elements while keeping their raw driving energy intact.
Diviner comes next with slower bluesy vibes and a killer progression, it has a smooth flow that moves freely between powerful mood boosters and floating mellow verses with no fillers. It has a pretty fluid structure with a spacey sound that I believe offers a lot of improvisational parts when played live. Skeleton Girl‘s bass-driven sound and fast punk-ish riffs had me slowly headbanging as they laid those thick punching lines. The vocal melody has a killer catchy flow with such an aggressive delivery that perfectly matched the song’s raw heaviness, adding a new texture to its blasting sound. Keeping the “Sabbath Worship” alive, Swamp Water hits with brilliant guitar work and surely the jazzy drums and bass duo. It has some of their finest work off this record, showing the trio’s unbreakable chemistry and irresistible banging flow. Shame picks up its predecessor’s flow and adds a pinch of grunge to its sound. Its heavy dynamic shifts grab the listeners’ attention as Melt brilliantly kept things interesting by inserting samples within their remarkable hooking flow. Sword or the Scepter steers toward a faster, more intense sound as Melt comes at you with full force, refreshing the whole record’s dynamics as we are getting closer to its finale, and the way they played around with the pace and tempo made it more fascinating. Ending the record on a highly psychedelic note comes Hive Mind sounding like OM meets thrashy fast riffs in a unique mix of hypnotizing flow and extreme heaviness in an epic well-layered and arranged structure that offers massive twists and turns in an unforgettable sonic journey.
Replica of Men is a solid, well-crafted record by the Melt trio. It shows their advanced writing skills, knowledge of their direction, and musicianship offering some of the finest guitar, bass, and drum work I’ve listened to this year. Totally recommended for all stoner and heavy music fans. I’ll definitely be looking forward to more, keep on rocking guys. Cheers!