Kyuss Welcome to Sky Valley
Grade
A
 
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Groove. Style. Power.

The band known as Kyuss presents a variety of heavy rock easily influenced by Ozzy-era Black Sabbath and Led Zepplin. When you listen to them, you can hear it clear as day. What Kyuss shows is that they understand what makes great rock and what made their musical forefathers so well received. It's not just the heaviness, but the style and songwriting behind the sound.

Kyuss' bluesy rock is infectious. Guitars are heavily distorted and layered with a deep fuzz reminiscent of 60's and 70's rock. Bass lines and the drums are clean and provide both a wonderful beat and backbone to the music. John Garcia's vocals are acidic and add a shrill bite to songs that would often be so laid back that one might relax to them.

Welcome to Sky Valley is presented as three seperate tracks, each composing of three to four songs. Each section has it's own personality, but the strength of the album is listening to it as a whole. The opening track, Gardenia, sets a wonderful tone that will give new listeners an idea of what they're getting into. It has that heavy groove with a hook that just pulls you in and then just keeps running until the powerful apex near the end.

Part 2 is a wonderful triptych of songs, probably the strongest of the three parts. 100 is a fast-paced rock track, followed by Space Cadet, one of the best accoustic pieces I've heard in some time. At the end is Demon Cleaner, another in the line of heavy-handed rock tracks that starts with a tribal-like drum intro. The final song of the album is Whitewater, a lengthy, yet emotional track that is signature to Kyuss - it starts off rather mainstream, but falls into a more free-form explorative, almost like an experimental jam-session.

And that's where Kyuss is really at it's best. When they seem to be just "winging" it, they show an inventiveness and imagination that really draws you in. While a lot of their stuff is more straightforward (calling it mainstream would be a misnomer), when they stray from the main path, you really just have to sit in and enjoy the ride.

What else can be said about Kyuss? They prove that blues-laced rock isn't dead and that bands still write smart rock songs. If you even had a bone in your body that loves good old-fashioned rock and roll, Welcome to Sky Valley should be a part of your music collection. You'll be caught by the groove and catchy hooks and glad you stuck around for the whole length of the album.

- - Kinderfeld

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