|3. Supa Scoopa And Mighty Scoop|
|4. 100 Degrees|
|5. Space Cadet|
|6. Demon Cleaner|
|8. Conan Troutman|
Criminally ignored by the mainstream music press (unlike QOTSA, who seem to be everyone journalist's band of the moment), Kyuss nevertheless gained a huge underground following, and it was a surprise when they split so suddenly whilst seemingly on the verge of greater success. Apparently, there were internal problems within the band - namely they all hated the singer!
Still, you'd never guess there was friction in the camp whilst listening to this huge slab of stoner metal. The opening track 'Gardenia' fuzzes into view with an immense, snaking riff, and doesn't relent for nearly six minutes before giving way to the spacey 'Asteroid' - which starts with a clean, quiet intro followed by another juggernaut of a riff.
An example of the sheer inventiveness that set Kyuss apart from their peers is heard when bizarre, atonal guitars pop in halfway through a song which has all but broken down into nothing ness. The song then gets faster and faster as it reaches its climax before cutting straight into the best track on the album, the amusingly-titled 'Supa Scoop And Mighty Scoop'.
This monster of a song possesses what must surely be the best metal riff written since Master Of Puppets. John Garcia screams over the top 'Don't try to take me away; Like I can't live without you' - it sounds cheesy but fits the song perfectly. Halfway through the song changes into another garganutan riff with a completely different feel, the rhythm changes on this album are fantastic. If you thought the end of the previous song was odd, just wait until you hear the end of this one!
The rest of the songs are equally impressive, with some variation on show. '100 Degrees', for instance, is a heads down speedburst clocking in at under two and a half minutes in length, whilst 'Space Cadet' is an acoustic song which manages to sound menacing (God know how they pulled that one off). 'Demon Cleaner' is extremely catchy and the majestic closing track 'Whitewater' is sheer class. In fact, the only thing that lets the album down is a rather stupid hidden track at the end which is nothing more than the band pissing about on a hammond organ for a minute and a half. Tedious.
Still, happily locked away at the end of the album you need not concern yourself with it at all. Simply ignore it and concern yourself only with the rest of what is one of the finest rock albums ever released.
When I first heard Sky Valley in about 1996 - 97 It was a revelation. A perfect plend of dense, heavy music with melody & riffs that Black Sabbath would kill for. An unpretentious, progressive form of Rock music that swells with raw energy. Nothing else sounded like this at the time although many people have been influenced by the Kyuss sound since. Kyuss should have been huge but were hindered by the fact that they did not fit into the Seattle scene & did very few interviews, photo shoots etc.
The album starts with the monolithic intro riff to 'Gardenia' one of the finest songs Kyuss ever recorded. The album then ebbs & flows in a beautifully structured way, moving from the heavy rocking of tracks 3 & 4 to the gentle, qiuet 'Space Cadet' with ease. Next up - 'Demon Cleaner' a warm but bitter, heavy but ambient song which is the defining moment of the album. 'Odyssey' is an angrier track with a groovy breakdown section & the next 2 tracks round Sky Valley out perfectly. Finally we have ' Whitewater', an epic song which gives me goosebumps every time.
This easily makes it into my all-time top 5 albums. They were the Led Zeppelin of the 90's.
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