In music, you keep searching and searching until you find those special artists that cope with the general feeling you have in a certain point or another of your life and describe your life and the way you interact with your surroundings most. KYUSS is one of those lost bands that were never "found", them always being very distant to begin with. They were most popular in the mid 90s, having reached cult status amongst the "desert" scene, which they've created. Now there have been infinite artists who are special in the one or the other way, but KYUSS have created something as immortal as it is supreme. Forget about founding fundamental bands such as SUBWAY TO SALLY or OOMPH!, which have also started trends such as medieval and Industrial Rock, only to be surpassed by greater giants such as IN EXTREMO or RAMMSTEIN. KYUSS have remained giants in their self-appointed subgenre and always will be. They've also known when to stop with the band and call it a day, a fact most artists do not seem to get. But that's not the main topic here. Here we will discuss KYUSS' megalith "Blues For The Red Sun", released back in 92' where I was merely a pup.
There are so many different feelings this album induces that it's almost an impossible task to describe even a fraction of them, since most are so utterly abstract, so amazingly distinctive that you try so very hard to look up complicated words to describe even more complicated moods. When listening to KYUSS and more precise this album, you need a certain degree of concentration to begin with. Nothing will come out of a hectic party or social get-together, if not all participants are on the same level of understanding as you are. It will end in an emotional catastrophe. The main impulse behind KYUSS is that they may or may not have reached a certain level of clairvoyance, you have to decide for yourself in which direction you are heading when listening to this bombastic and heavy album. The main reason this album is considered to be as Heavy Metal as any of the big classic giants is because of its themes and the manner in which they are presented: you have parallels to astronomy, psychology, interpersonal relations, etc. Heck, you even have the most banal lyrical themes you could imagine, be it riding around with a purring motor behind your hood, stuff like that. But the central reason is that they are extremely heavy. They get under the skin pretty fast with a good reason; when playing guitar through a bass amplifier you're sure to get a bombastic sound. The songs are full of weird gimmicks and strange atmospheres that seem to be so natural and organic that you don't even bother to pick something out and bitch about it, since the album is, like most KYUSS work, to be viewed upon as a whole, as a coherent piece of extreme expression.
KYUSS' trademark are most certainly John Garcia's vocals. They are simply amazing. That semi-destroyed, yet oh-so-melodic and harsh voice fissures even the most massive of mountains. His voice is one of the most powerful and distinctive voices I have ever heard and there are quite some good vocalists out there, especially in the Metal scene, where vocals play a very important role. The impressive thing about KYUSS and "Blues For The Red Sun" is that the vocal duties are kept very sincere and discrete, so that there still is a lot of room for great and groovy, trippy instrumental parts. When John Garcia sings however, actually no matter what he does with his voice, it most certainly has every potential to be awe-inspiring and shattering. Although he sounds resigned, there is that sheer supreme tone in his voice that sends shivers down the spine and evokes goose-bumps.
To fully understand this album, you must be prepared to loosen your thoughts, to let go of any and all mind-maps or strings that you might use for typical genres and subgenres. I never could fully understand this album, until one day I became interested in... deserts. You know, the sand-masses, not whipped-cream cake shit (I like to assume that, since its more comforting). This is the album you need to listen to alone before you die. Grab yourself some cool beers while you do so.
(Online April 21, 2010)