Ever since Black Sabbath invented the genre, metal has had an odd relationship with rock. On the surface, they look alike—similar guitar/bass/drums instrumentation, similar (primarily) white male demographic, and even, with Led Zeppelin, similar canon. Yet, the similarities are often less like the relationship between siblings and more like the relationship between a person and his or her corpse. Rock's knowing, ironic swagger becomes, in metal, the single-minded slog of earnest debasement. The Who stutters about their generation with an iconic sneer; Metallica bellows endlessly about some faceless leper messiah. Mick Jagger's clever, carefully arranged Miltonic man of wealth and taste becomes the blunt, thudding buzzsaw of Deicide's "Satan Spawn, The Caco-Daemon."
This isn't an absolute division: There are many groups, from Guns 'N' Roses to Nirvana to High on Fire, that have borrowed from both sides of the rock/metal divide. If there's one band that has made a career out of turning itself into its own rock/metal doppelganger, though, it's the Melvins, perhaps the only band that manages to be both an indie-rock institution and metal royalty. Like the freakish two-headed cartoon animals adorning their 1993 major label debut Houdini, the Melvins have always managed to make their individuality about de-individuation; their face is facelessness, and their facelessness is a face. The carefully spelled-out and mangled lyrics on that same album ("Los ticka toe rest. Might likea sender doe ree. Your make a doll a ray day sender bright like a penalty") mock and embrace both the inarticulate roar of metal and rock's pretension to profundity.