Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Album Review: Kyuss- Welcome to Sky Valley

Before he reached rockstar status with Queens of the Stone Age Josh Homme was in a little stoner metal band called Kyuss.  In QotSA Homme handles both lead guitar and singing duties, however, in his Kyuss days, at the tender age of 15 to 22 he was just a young phenom guitarist.  Though the band is filled with highly talented stalwart performers, I think Homme’s unique guitar tone, which he achieved by playing through a bass amp, is what gives the band their dirty, dusty, desert sound that makes them a completely unique entity in the metal genre. 

Kyuss is one of those bands that somehow never quite reached the level of recognition they deserved, and in fact, are sadly mostly obscure, which is crazy given how awesome this band is.  Though their entire catalog is worth giving a listen to, my favorite is their third album, Welcome to Sky Valley

Maybe the band didn’t want to get big, because they didn’t do themselves any favors or make this album very accessible due to the fact that they lumped their songs together on this album three per-track, which makes listening to an individual song a bit of a pain in the ass.  As an full-album-or-nothing guy I don’t have such a problem with this, but I can see how it would really bother a lot of people.  

With Welcome to Sky Valley, Kyuss achieved a unique sound that others have tried to duplicate, but failed.   Homme's guitars have a low trudgey tone that induces instant head banging.  The bass thunders, and when you add in the drums you get a unique heavy sound that feels slow, but actually moves along at a pretty fast pace.

The only caveat here is that vocalist's John Garcia's voice is a bit of an acquired taste.  His range is quite limited, but he never tries to go outside of his comfort zone and if you do enjoy his voice, then it is no sweat.

Criminally under-listened, Kyuss may just be the best band not many folks of heard of.  If you aren't already a listener, remedy that ASAP. Every song on Welcome to Sky Valley is an incredible piece of desert metal magnificence, and unique sounding.  So get out there, get your hands on Welcome to Sky Valley and branch out from there.  Enjoy!

Check out the Demon Cleaner video...Sorry, I wasn't able to embed it!

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