Boring Machines Disturbs Sleep: Kyuss : Welcome To Sky Valley

Boring Machines Disturbs Sleep

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Kyuss : Welcome To Sky Valley

As you grow up and accumulate cd's and records throughout the years, musical tastes tend to change or mature. Some stuff I have in my collection ,from ten years ago, almost makes me cringe. However, other albums stand the test of time and always live with you. One of the albums I am talking about is "Welcome To Sky Valley" by Kyuss.

When I first heard this band in 1995, they were just about to disband . Despite almost ludicrous amounts of critical acclaim, they never seemed to get anywhere. Thankfully, I discovered them before it really was too late. Tensions came to a head and the world lost one of the greatest rock bands of all time.

Not before making some of the best guitar records ever, though. Kyuss' "blues-based retro rock" was monumental and stunningly heavy. The four-piece honed their skills, throwing regular desert parties in their hometown of Palm Springs, California for their friends.

These skills developed into a sound influenced by Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Lynard Skynard and guitarist Josh Homme's favourite American punk bands. Of course, Homme is now ridiculously famous with Queens Of The Stone Age , but there was a time only those in the know, understood what an accomplished guitarist he was.

Kyuss' second album "Welcome To Sky Valley" stands shoulder to shoulder with any Hendrix, Zeppelin or Sabbath release. A collaboration with Masters of Reality's Chris Goss, the album's sleevenotes insist you "listen without interruption" as this is one hypnotic trip.

"Gardenia" kicks off the record with a thick riff that has since spawned thousands of copyists. Vocalist John Garcia sings with a bluesy howl ,that you soon come to love, reminiscent of Lynard Skynard. The band were famed for their awesome live power and I can imagine this one going down a storm.

Next track "Asteroid" changes the pace, Kyuss were not one-trick ponies. Starting with blissful guitar sounds, this instrumental effort soon let's loose, pummelling your senses into submission. The band had a unique ability to almost bludgeon, with their thick soup sound.

One of my favourite Kyuss tracks of all time is, "Supa Scoopa and Mighty Scoop", which shows the band were obviously under the influence of a plethora of illegal substances. Ludicrous song titles aside, this is arguably Kyuss' finest moment. The rhythm reminds of why I love heavy rock. Regardless of your opinion of that genre, this song is just outstanding. Music does not get any heavier than this.

"Space Cadet" is a mellow acoustic jam, highlighting maturity for a band who were all still in their early 20's. Garcia's vocals sound like something from Page and Plant's "Gallows Pole". While, "Conan Troutman" again displays Kyuss' awesome force. This is a short burst of a song with driving rhythm's and fraught guitars.

Finishing proceedings off, is 8 minute epic "Whitewater", featuring Josh Homme's best ever guitar work. Homme claims he had never heard any Black Sabbath records when growin up. If that is the case, then he was chosen by the devil himself, as Tony Iommi's heir to the throne.

Criminally ignored, despite bands such as Metallica and Faith No More often name-checking them, Kyuss disbanded after just four critically acclaimed albums. Of course, they will always have a cult following, but so many people missed out on them. Witness Kyuss' awesome live power on the video posted above. Once described by a Kerrang! journalist as "worth selling your legs to witness", I would give anything for a reunion.

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