Review Summary: Hard Rock for the red sun.
Genres are a silly thing. Without them, I think people would have more varied tastes (including me). How will you ever get into The Beach Boys if you group it in with Boy band Pop from the 60's? How much would people love country if people like Billy Ray Cyrus hadn't made a mockery of it. And most obviously? How would people realize the genius of an album like "Liquid Swords
" if they can't shut the hell up about "Rap is just talking over stolen music
". Politically and socially, this would be considered racism and ignorance, but in the music world, it's what defines some as listeners. I try to broden my horizons, without it becoming me trying to act elitist and open minded in an annoying way. It's not all bad, tho. I can't tell you how many artists I've discovered simply because they were pigeonholed into the same scene as another band I liked. Like everything else, it's hypocritical to take a solid stance for or against genre definitions.
What does this have to do with the album? Be patient, dammit. I was recently wearing a t-shirt of the very album I'm reviewing, when I get the age old "Hey dude, what's your shirt say
". Unfortunately it was a dorky man who probably wouldn't listen to the album if I burned it for him, and not a slutty round titted woman I could start a meaningless conversation with. Despite this, I indulged him. "Kyuss, what are they considered
?" And here we go again with the genre deciding whether a band is worthy of listening to or not. A smart man would say "Oh, they're rock
", but the hipster snob in me took over and I blurted out "Durrr, stoner metal
". I say this to a many that hasn't drank or smoked in years. Thus most likely turning him off to the band simply because it's considered Stoner metal. Like all conversations between two white people, the conversation turned to Pink Floyd, and Kyuss was no longer the topic of discussion.
So Is Wretch Stoner Metal. Honestly, it does have that vibe. It'd be less ignorant to just consider it hard rock, but who cares? The album itself really doesn't get a lot of attention, even among people who know Kyuss. Obviously, people gravitate toward Blues for the red sun. Is it the fact that the song doesn't have too many radio friendly songs, maybe it's the nondescript cover. Whatever it is, Wretch is an afterthought, and is seen as a showcase of the potential that Kyuss has. For me. It was their peak.
The album starts undeniably strong with "(Beginning of What's About to Happen) Hwy 74
". The drumming by Brant Bjork is very fast, but not overly complex, Josh Homme has distinctly dirty riffs, and the lyrics are remeniscent of older rock songs. No cryptic symbolism here, just balls to the wall roughhousing through music. There are a few ground rules that are established by Wretch immediately: This album is RAW. Not in the trying too hard way, straight forward, and devoid of any bells and whistles. John Garcia has a very distinct snarl, the production makes you feel like you're drenched in sweat, smelly, recovering from a fight over a chubby girl who gives really awesome head. A lot of people criticize the album for being underproduced, but I see this as a strong point. Sometimes and album can be great, but isn't a good representation of the band: the slow burning, yet somehow still fast pace of songs like "Isolation
" and "Black Widow
" represent the mischevious fun Kyuss seems to pull off so well.
While many songs are short by Kyuss standards, they have a few epic songs on here. Arguably the best is "The Law
", clocking in at nearly 8 minutes. The song is almost the pure definition of a Kyuss song, and the alleged Stoner Metal genre as a whole: Badass lyrics, crazy guitar work, and most importantly, a bassline that makes barry white's tone sound like tiny tim's. I hate the term "Pure unadulterated rock
" but If it applied to anything, it would be a song like "The Law
". The song benefits greatly from the trashy production, as it is impossible to polish something so raw.
Another gem on the album is "Son of a bitch
"God damn son of a bitch,
See the young ones play,
And say what you want to hear.
You have a-long legs,
You got a big arse.
Your buttpot will never last.
That's the great thing about this album. The lyrics aren't going to make you find god, understand why your first girlfriend dumped you, or realize that love is not a commodity that can be measured, it's just fun and cool. Sometimes we all need to take a break from the self indulgent introspection in music and have a little fun. another simple, yet really well done song is "Big Bikes
". The hook is simply "I want want some pussy... From a bad bitch... on a big bike
" which might be the most patriotic thing I've heard in a long time. I cannot get over how well the playfully rough nature of the instrumentation goes with the simple, yet outlaw driven lyrics.
Another album highlight is "Deadly Kiss
", the opener from the "Sons Of Kyuss
" ep. It still sounds like an opening song even though it's the 6th track. More demented fun through Homme's guitarwork, more breakneck drumming, and lyrics that demand to be shouted loudly by whatever dirtbag is listening to the album. This, along with "The Law
" are the most metal driven songs. Even "Love has passed me by
" is a deceptively fun joyride considering the lyrical content. Even when Kyuss is gloomy, they do it in a fun loving, energetic way.
A lot of songs on Wretch, are from the Sons Of Kyuss (5 to be exact), Too bad they cut the intro from Isolation which was probably the most brooding and serious i've heard Kyuss. Another great song is "Katzenjammer
", which is Kyuss' original band name. "I'm not
" seems to be the most lyrically different song, as it's surprisingly greatful and upbeat, once again, the bass shines once again on "I'm not
", and John's vocal's make you completely take Queens of the Stone Age for granted. And the album closer "Stage III
", isn't as timelessly hip as the other ten tracks, but the clausterphobic production once again shows it that in their fake little genre that people like me pigeonhole them into, Kyuss will never be topped.
Overall, the album will never be considered legendary, but that's missing the point. There are certain bands that can do no wrong. Kyuss is one of those bands, and Wretch is one of those examples of them doing no wrong. So maybe it is stupid to tell people a band is stoner metal, maybe it's ill-advised to compare Kyuss to Queens of the Stone Age, Sleep, and Even Sabbath, maybe this album doesn't just appeal to those who drive in hot weather with bad air conditioning, who self medicate and screw anything not nailed down to the floor, but all I care about is the fact that I discovered this album. If you don't listen to it because you don't have enough sensory details, or possibly too many, that's your problem... not mine.
Not a single member outdoes the other. They are all on the same level of greatness
Simple, yet really well done songs that will stay with you, without making you think about your feelings and ***
Varied lyrics. Never gets too sad or happy, and remains fun throughout... Oh, and you don't have to be high to appreciate this.
You may not dig the production value
Not as acessible or groovy as later Kyuss releases
If you don't like classic rock, you may not appreciate this album, as it is a total throwback.
(Beginning of What's about to happen) HWY 74