It would be a fair comment to say that music lovers are lovers of music because the bands that they love no one else really understands. A feeling the fans of bands such as Kyuss must love getting. Yes, to those neducated in this field, Kyuss may well sound like another rock 'n' roll band. What Kyuss actually represent are one of the last ever rock 'n' roll bands to sound like they do, and turn it into a whole new genre, revolved completely around a certain substance.
In their ten or so year lifespan, from 16 to 18 year olds to 26 to 28 year olds, they accomplished a lot more than many. They had every rock 'n' roll ethic going, music loving kids having a good time, tantrums, drugs, sex, and alcohol. But all to a fun extent, they were a bull-***ting hypocritical rock band causing controversy; after all, it was the music they were interested in, but, with everything else on top, the formula equated to possibly the last perfect rock band.
Taking drug addled, bass grooves as their primary guitar sound, all your favourite Black Sabbath riffs, adding an amazingly talented vocalist (John Garcia), singing about getting stoned and having a good time, Kyuss combined all of these elements and more to create a potent brew of rawk at its finest. A band who dominated underground metal during the late 80's and early to mid 90's for their music stance, which sat somewhere between rock 'n' roll, heavy metal and death metal. Oh yeah, and they were appreciated by all genres as being apart from the general flow, and thus they created a whole new genre - stoner metal.
And you only need to pop this, one of the most influential metal albums of all time, into to your loudest sound system, and you're pretty much stoned without the weed. 'Welcome to Sky Valley' was released in 1994, a time when grunge and at the other end industrial metal was at an all time high. Co-founding member Nick Olivieri had just left the band (remind you of anything from 10 years later?), and there were severe doubts about the future of Kyuss. So, in return, Kyuss shut everyone up by releasing an absolutely flawless record.
Split up into three sections; I, II and III, this was ten tracks of every single sound that made them great in the first place. Kicking off with the quite amazingly sluggish riff of 'Gardenia', providing an amazing stoner experience, a song sounding like a seven minute improvisation, onto Supa Scoopa and Mighty Scoop, a guitar riffage dream, Part I is basically the band saying they can still write amazing weed based heavy metal songs.
It's not until part II that you are absolutely blown away. Kicking off with the punk rock behemoth '100 Degrees' you get a fast paced love song. But then, right after the climax, you suddenly get dragged into the fantastic country and western based 'Space Cadet", seven minutes of phenomenal chill out, acoustic riffs that is just stunning to sit down and listen to. Finishing off this part of the album is Demon Cleaner, the extremely heavy anthem of the album, which by then you are just stunned.
And in part III, we get back to the extremely heavy, yet chilled out, but simultaneously groovy beats of the Kyuss sound and are loving every moment. As amazing as their previous effort, 'Blues for the Red Sun' there was no beating this, and perhaps although ''And the Circus Leaves Town' was a very good album, with some brilliant tracks, it was as an album too far when you hear 'Sky Valley'. The main thing to appreciate when you listen to Kyuss is that, although they spent their time smoking, and then singing about weed and its quite hilarious effects, stoner metal probably isn't the right term. When you listen to the record, even without looking at the bands cover art or videos you can imagine yourself at what the more appropriate term for Kyuss' music is 'desert rock". Because what this music really incorporates is the feeling of just driving in an open top car, stereo system blasting, sun setting, in the middle of no man's land America, the deserts. And the fact that a piece of music that is this album can create its own personal feeling of setting is what really separates it from all competition.
I really liked this article, it's always interesting to read about the band members, and their influences, and interpretations. I wish you would have gone a little more in depth with the track reviews, to let us know why the album means so much to you, and music. Otherwise, it's a solid review.
Also, I'm also one of the people who likes Welcome to Sky Valley more than Blues for the Red Sun. But I'd choose Oliveri over Reeder, even though I think Reeder is slightly more talented. It's close though.This Message Edited On 02.11.06
Some great highway music right here, i listened my friends copy of this cd for the first time on the way to a tool concert and it blew me away that i hadnt heard of this band till then. i now own Sky Valley and its probly in my top 5 most played.
Right on! Good review, in that it had explanation and background done well, but perhaps more detail on tracks would have improved it. Personally, I think some of the tracks are a little sub-standard for Kyuss (all on III except Whitewater) but even they sound amazing when you just listen to this through in order. It gels perfectly, and you described the whole 'stoned without the weed' feeling just right.
seen them live in 1995, the most amazing concert I've ever seen. People were standing like salt-pilars, not too close to eachother looking to Kyuss, lots of them with open mouths.
No headbanging, no dancing, no pogo, even no crowdsurfing.
There was -suitingly- some wind that gave some curves to veteran hard rock fans hair. And it was all played extremely loud. "supa scoop", "gardenia", "demon cleaner", I remember them like it was Yesterday. My favorite album of Kyuss, and I still regulary listen to it.This Message Edited On 07.30.08