It was more than two decades ago when the legendary KYUSS (founded as SONS OF KYUSS) took shape and form and played their distinctive type of Rock/Metal that was soon to be recognized as the "stoner" or "desert" sound that would influence a wave of young musicians that have had enough of the whole negativity that just kept growing at an exponential rate. Up to this date, not much has changed, except that this particular wave of music died out sometime in the late 90s. There is a big difference between the roots and the newer bands that also adhere to the "desert" scene, since the latter have taken over a more cleaner "pop" sound. Bands such as QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE (Josh Homme's brainchild) or FU MANCHU don't represent the scene that was heaviest under the name "KYUSS" and the main problem is the rise to a greater audience and mainstream. It seems to apply to every musical group, that once you gain a greater audience and popular attention that you automatically reduce the heaviness in your attitude and sound and it all damps down to a softer type of cushion.
This album, falsely known as "Welcome To Sky Valley" can be described as KYUSS' peak or "opus magnum", but since every release this band has put out is amazing and most authentic in its own way, we'll just agree on the fact that this selftitled LP is not only a very good KYUSS/Stoner album, but also one of the most inspiring, distinctive and exceptional albums ever made. The main reason this band has been so highly influential and distinctive is the fact that they bring a certain feeling or sentiment into their music adequately and authentically. They have a certain idea of what's wrong in the world and put it very well into music by dragging the listener into that black hole of what society represents and finishing him off with the tearing heavy guitar riffing and John Garcia's amazing raspy half-sung vocals that absolutely no musician can mimic or surpass.
The album is divided into three "movements", a rare type of separating an album, which is not very popular amongst the Heavy Hetal culture, since it takes a little more compositional effort than simply putting out track after track. "Movements" mostly appeared in baroque or classical pieces, where a certain pattern, such as Allegro-Adagio-Scherzo-etc. was followed. The composition here can be described as a very far cousin at very best, but that's probably the intention. Whatever the cause, this is the construct of the different parts of the album. Now, there is no musical analysis of the "parts", since the album should be viewed upon as a whole piece of art and expression. The nihilistic or fatalist nature (as I would like to interpret it) of this music is only surpassed by the amount of creativity and energy it incorporates, by terms of radicalness of course. In other words you don't have to dig very deep to capture the essence of this album and in order to enjoy it, you simply have to pay attention, as the band suggests on the album sleeve. Of course everybody should interpret the music in whatever way they like, be it as a playground of thought, a floating cloud of inspiration or a dead end street. You can go almost anywhere if you are stupid and the day is long.
Each and every song has its own particular "flow" of music and more iInterestingly, of consciousness. There is a constant flow of ideas that seem to flow directly into each other, embracing one another, forming a great whole. The songs aren't as direct as one would expect from this musical niche, but present themselves in a narrative order, with occasional recurring parts. We have instrumental songs, slow ballads and of course balls out rock'n'roll hits that drift into eternity. This record is as timeless as it is captivating; imagine being out in the desert while the sun warms the air around you, getting cooler while it gets dark, that is the overall feeling on this record. The mezmerizing echo of soothing guitar parts mixed with the immortal voice of John Garcia shifting into buzzing sludgy and mushy riffs that drag along as your mood gets evaporated and your thoughts swirl into each other like a desert twister. There isn't anything to be said about this album that hasn't already been realized in the past 16 years. The whole record is amazing and awesome. Period. A long lost gem of creativity and understanding.
(Online April 18, 2010)