Kyuss Welcome to Sky Valley

[Elektra; 1994]

Rating: 4/5

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

Some people may argue that Welcome to Sky Valley is the best Kyuss album. Me? I’m not sure. Definitely seems more ambitious. Widescreen, panoramic; much bigger sound -- heavier. However, it is not so catchy. The liner notes say to listen without distraction. There are subtleties in the sound; atmospheres which can only be picked up with repeated listens. It seems more based around "the blues jam in the desert" than Blues for the Red Sun.

For me, some of the tracks seem a bit long and ponderous. But having said this, these songs are still miles better than virtually everything else in this genre. Maybe because Blues for the Red Sun is so amazing, that I think of this album as a bit of a disappointment. As I write this review, "Supa Scoopa and Mighty Scoop" plays; the ending is short blasts of guitar sound for about 15 seconds.

It's important to note that this record is split into 3 "acts". "100 Degrees" starts the 2nd section briskly, then breaks into chili-esque funky interlude before returning to the chorus. Next up, on "Space Cadet", a psychadelic intro is followed by expansive lyrics. Maybe the idea is to start off fast then go down into introspective mode. After all, this is stoner rock. This would work for stoners. But I get bored with some tracks half way through and skip ahead.

The next track, "Demon Cleaner", starts promisingly: "I’ve got the demons in me, I’ve got to brush them all away." This is Kyuss at their best. Before you know it, "Demon Cleaner" ends prematurely. The last section starts again introspectively before launching into heavy riffage: "Take one to the mountain, take one to the sea, take one to the belly of the beast, then take one to me."

Next track, "Odyssey", is an obvious highlight on the album. It is a monster of a track. Renew the faith. Kyuss are best when they don’t mind sounding like rock dinosaurs and just point there speakers to the sun and guzzle down all the excess. I have just realized that the vocals sound similar to Ian Astbury’s out of the Cult. "I wake up tomorrow today, I could be dead, I live my life alone, never going home, just like she said, It’s just a song to sing." Watch out for the scatological bonus track. I guess it’s offensive.

Welcome to Sky Valley is an epic record with some obviously great compositions. So, if you’ve got a week to waste and the refreshments to aid the wound, go ahead. But I couldn’t recommend it to people checking out Kyuss for the first time. I’d stand by Blues for the Red Sun until the end of time. That’s what this record sounds like. The end of time.

For me, some of the tracks seem a bit long and ponderous. But having said this, these songs are still miles better than virtually everything else in this genre. Maybe because Blues for the Red Sun is so amazing, that I think of this album as a bit of a disappointment. As I write this review, "Supa Scoopa and Mighty Scoop" plays; the ending is short blasts of guitar sound for about 15 seconds.
It's important to note that this record is split into 3 "acts". "100 Degrees" starts the 2nd section briskly, then breaks into chili-esque funky interlude before returning to the chorus. Next up, on "Space Cadet", a psychadelic intro is followed by expansive lyrics. Maybe the idea is to start off fast then go down into introspective mode. After all, this is stoner rock. This would work for stoners. But I get bored with some tracks half way through and skip ahead.
The next track, "Demon Cleaner", starts promisingly: "I've got the demons in me, I've got to brush them all away." This is Kyuss at their best. Before you know it, "Demon Cleaner" ends prematurely. The last section starts again introspectively before launching into heavy riffage: "Take one to the mountain, take one to the sea, take one to the belly of the beast, then take one to me."
Next track, "Odyssey", is an obvious highlight on the album. It is a monster of a track. Renew the faith. Kyuss are best when they don't mind sounding like rock dinosaurs and just point there speakers to the sun and guzzle down all the excess. I have just realized that the vocals sound similar to Ian Astbury's out of the Cult. "I wake up tomorrow today, I could be dead, I live my life alone, never going home, just like she said, It's just a song to sing." Watch out for the scatological bonus track. I guess it's offensive.
Welcome to Sky Valley is an epic record with some obviously great compositions. So, if you've got a week to waste and the refreshments to aid the wound, go ahead. But I couldn't recommend it to people checking out Kyuss for the first time. I'd stand by Blues for the Red Sun until the end of time. That's what this record sounds like. The end of time.

1. Gardenia/Asteroid/Supa Scoopa and Mighty...
2. 100 (Degrees)/Space Cadet/Demon Cleaner
3. Odyssey/Conan Troutman/NO/Whitewater
4. Lick Doo

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