Kyuss Blues for the Red Sun

[Dali Records; 1992]

Rating: 4.5/5

Styles: hardcore rock, heavy metal
Others: Fu Manchu, Negative Creep

To avoid cliches about stoner rock or desert bands is difficult. Like grunge, this is a scene that either exists or doesn’t depending on your perspective. If you like heavy music and buy a lot of it, Kyuss may slide into to the mire of other related bands like The Obsessed or St Vitus. If you look from the outside, you can easily begin to focus on the environmental influences of these bands and begin to try and create a scene. It seems that the desert bands, if they exist, are different from the grunge bands in that they seem able to keep the level of their notoriety just out of the mainstream. This music seems like the diametric opposites of punk and hippy colliding. At one moment a Sabbath riff present itself followed by psychedelic interludes.

The general sound of this record is full of low end sounds. Guitars tuned down to C? Just as rain influenced the Seattle bands, Kyuss are obviously influenced by the sun, deserts and highways; the heat induces trippiness, so you want to get on the open road to cool down. Space out in the shade. This record reflects these two feelings perfectly.

But somehow none of this conveys how good this record is. Yes, it’s been done before, but maybe not so influenced by experimental ambitions. Some tracks are jammed out, others just rock, but the listener will never know where they’re going on this lost highway. The standout tracks are the pacy road monster "Green Machine" in which the riffs, Negative Creep—like, gun the song up to lyrics such as "I’ve got a wheel inside my head, a wheel of understanding.. cool breeze, get the hell away from me", While "50 Million Year Trip" shimmers brightly before galloping across the plains, then settling down to build up to a heavy riff. Melodies overlap as vocals come in, "I am dreamin’, I am rollin’, I am hidin’, I am running, but I’ll never forget you, never forget you." This all before the song descends into a pyschedelic swirl, only to build again.

Camp fires are burning and cars are revving up, the amps are up to 11, but the bass is low slung, towering riffs give way to sand storms. As the sun sets, the ceremony has just begun. The darkest hour is before the dawn. This is a beautiful timeless organic record.   1. Thumb
2. Green Machine
3. Molten Universe
4. 50 Million Year Trip (Downside Up)
5. Thong Song
6. Apothecaries' Weight
7. Caterpillar March
8. Freedom Run
9. 800
10. Writhe
11. Capsized
12. Allen's Wrench
13. Mondo Generator
14. Yeah

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