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49
4.7 out of 5 stars
Welcome To Sky Valley
Format: Audio CDChange
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on 17 September 2003
Before Queens Of the Stone Age, Josh Homme and Nick Olivieri were in one of the most influential rock bands of the nineties. That band was Kyuss, and 'Sky Valley' is possibly the best of their albums - although 'Blues For The Red Sun' and '...And The Circus Leaves Town' are damn fine records too.
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.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
This album changed my life.
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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 15 January 2003
Any self respecting rock fan needs to have a Kyuss album or 4! I heard this Album in 1995 and eventually tracked down a copy to buy. (Not before I had many puzzled looks from the staff at HMV) They were from then on my favourite band of all time, and I still hope that they might re-form one day. But until then I will have to content myself and listen to demon cleaner and dream. Why do I like them and why should you buy this album? Well I promise you, you are in for a treat. Many bands that have made it to stardom these days do not sound half as good. Kyuss are timeless even now this album will put a shiver down your spine and a big silly grin on your face. It is a Classic in that it is exquisite and perfect, a groundbreaking album and it should defiantly be on your list of to own albums...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 29 August 2011
Kyuss(*) is invariably listened to by me on scorching hot days where it seems like all other music's power is drained away. Thinking back to long rides on buses through the desert in Inner Mongolia for hours upon hours in the sweltering heat now only conjure up memories of 'Gardenia', 'Asteroid', 'Whitewater' and 'Supa Scoopa and Mighty Scoop'. Kyuss and their three main albums 'Welcome to Sky Valley', '...And the Circus Leaves Town' and 'Blues for the Red Sun' are very much products of their environment. Indeed, it is seemingly impossible to envision these stoner-rock pioneers being based anywhere else but the dusty desert town of Palm Desert. Kyuss' down-tuned, sludgy, sledgehammer riffs lead a sonic assault so dominated by the bass that the vocals, though obviously sung/screamed extremely loudly, are almost entirely submerged in the mix. The vocals on Kyuss are the weakest link, but when listening to such sludgy, heavy riffing it hardly even matters. Likewise, lyrically the album consists of the semi-coherent musings of a stoner...at best. However, I do not fault the album at all for this: Just listening to the steadily accelerating final riff of 'Asteroid' or the 'Planet Caravan (Black Sabbath)'-like 'Space Cadet' is enough to understand that in this album the vocals serve as just another auxiliary instrument: less of a focus than the guitar, bass and drums. It should be noted that 'Whitewater' has one of the greatest riffs in metal, stunning in its simplicity but ever more heavy in spite of (or perhaps due to) it. Although somehow I doubt that stoner rock will be experienced quite the same way in the UK, I do believe that some part of it doesn't change: After all, 'The Sword' and 'Orange Goblin' both fly the 'Stoner Rock' flag in the UK, and their music is no less heavy and no less powerful.

*Kyuss, of course, featured the future singer/guitarist and leader of 'Queens of the Stone Age' - Josh Homme on the guitar, and by listening to this album we can see how much 'Rated-R' and 'Songs for the Deaf'-era Queens of the Stone Age are influenced by this group. The slightly robotic, repetitive riffs of Queens of the Stone Age songs can also be found here, except that here they are transposed several tones down and are much heavier, however the gargantuan riffs remain. For instance, the main guitar line of 'Gonna Leave You' or 'Do It Again' from 'Songs for the Deaf' would not be out of place here. Kyuss have recently re-united under the moniker 'Kyuss Lives!', which features the entire line-up of the band minus Josh Homme, which is a bit of a pity as I would really love to see them live in their original lineup.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 5 January 2011
Well... back in the mid 90s... times were dry
and dusty, in the deserts of Calli....

Back in North Wales, UK....
I was on the dole, and going no place...
lived in a tiny city on the coast..
but if there's one thing, that saved me
from the mundanity of life it was music
like this...

It's nothing to do with being stoned (I dont smoke)
it's nothing to do with being a rocker or a rebel
or an incorrigable reprobate, who has lots
of misanthropic tendancies...a guy with a massive
chip on his shoulder because he hates the world
and everything in it....hold your breath.

These are personal statements to be made elsewhere...
cos listen, this world don't revolve around you...I
thought it did...here's the wake up call...

And it goes thus:

Some bands define the era, (take your pick)
some bands define that particular sound,
and some bands are KYUSS.

This record changed my life.

That sounds sycophantic subjective rubbish, self pitying
hogwash??? maybe... but if you're a committed music fan
whoever you listen to, then every listener has a heirachy
of bands he likes, goes to see, buys all the cd's,
the singles, bootlegs; everything...there were/are
more important things than music? Not really...

Kyuss were 'my band' that sat firmly at the top
of my musical listening tree.
Draw a line, then talk about other bands.
Who's yours?

The rock music media regard this record on the same
plain as I just did. It was that good.
I didn't buy it and regard as such
just cos they did. I have a mind of my own. There
are other bands I like, lots of them.
But If I had to pick my most listened to
record since I started listening this would be it.
(just for the record, WASP's 'Live in the Raw'
was the first metal cd I bought six years or so previous)

'Welcome to Sky Valley' then...
What's so special about it??
Why all the fuss??
(there's no hype, there doesn't need to be)

From the very first note of 'Gardenia'
to the last laugh of 'lick ya do da'...
this is just absolutely blistering, full on,
don't you dare turn it down or leave the room,
style-mixed, crossed over, stoner rock record...
It was like a tidal wave of noise coming out
of the speakers... if ever a sound filled the room,
and made the walls shake thunderously, this was it....

How a band creates such a sound is beyond me,
I'll let the technical experts here explain it and
it's deeper cultural and musical significances.

But ask yourself which record you've played the most -
considering the number of bands you have to choose
from. Why is that band you're most listened to record?

Meaning: music fans talk about going through listening
phases, this band, that band, new, old, something different
now and again. Other bands other people told you about,
you heard on the radio, you saw a gig.

Some bands survive all that. They don't come and go, they
don't grow old, fall out of listening fashion, get dull,
sound dated, or lose credibility.

Since they split (for whatever reason)
all I ever heard was when are they getting back
together. Kyuss then - a band for life, not just for christmas.

It's hard to believe 18 years later...
the band are to reform....Kyuss lives indeed.

But suffice to say, am now over 40
ready for the knackers yard, and listening
to Black Mountain, Black Tusk and Wolf Mother
- three glorious bands in their own right who have
carried on the baton, but with their own unique
sounds. Ask yourself this: those three bands I just
named where do they get their sound from? Musical
evolution.....

Of course every single rock fan, which ever genre
you like, should own a copy of this record.
Collectors item any one?

It worked for me. And Some.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 24 May 2007
Well, well, Kyuss - Josh Homme's old band. Not being overly impressed with the last QOTSA outing 'Lullabies' I let my appreciation of the guys music slip. I've only just heard this band (I know, I know) & have not been aware of them that long. Silly me.

Like all the other reviews state, this band were truly superb. From the off, every track rolls along with a funky heavy flow thats impossible to resist. Opener 'Gardenia' is a corker, a 6 minute monster, displaying effortless led zep-esque grooves & a bassline to die for. Another favourite is 'Supa Scoopa & mighty Scoop', such a catchy chorus section, with Hommes classic dirge licks leading the way.

The CD is split into three sections, with the middle part initially going full force with the fierce '100 (degrees)' & then slowly cooling off with the sublime & catchy 'Space Cadet'. This is then followed up by the amazing 'Demon Cleaner', truly one of the best songs to come from any band in the nineties. The last section matches up to the rest, closing in pleasing fashion with 'Whitewater', the longest track on the disc & another one to savour.

Honestly, this lot belong with the true greats of the decade along with Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, Alice In Chains etc & should appeal to any fan of alternative music. Not heavy enough to be metal, too heavy for the mainstream, Kyuss were spot on.

The price of the CD along with the outstanding reviews & large fan base should make this an immediate purchase. Funky desert rock for the smoker in you. Inspirational stuff.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 5 February 2004
Amazing,molten,chilling,grooving.These are just some words to describe this album but there are so many superlatives i could use. If you like QOTSA then buy this. If you like rock music then buy this.Imagine if Black Sabbath had grown up in the californian desert instead of Birmingham and you'll get an idea of what this band is about.Forget Nu-Metal,the only reason the kids don't listen to kyuss is because no one has introduced them to it yet.My ambition is to go to the desert to listen to this as i'm sure it sounds a whole lot better in a car stereo drivin' down the freeway through the mojave.To sum up,please buy this 'cause it RULES!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 10 November 2002
"Welocome to Sky Valley" is my second favourite album of all time. This may not seem like much of a recommendation at first, but it is worth bearing in mind that my favourite is "Blues for the Red Sun", also by Kyuss. Before you go tramping off in search of "Blues....", I really must recommend that you get this one first. Kyuss are not a famous band, and so they don't get much time on radio or t.v. Chances are that anyone who is reading this and doesn't own a Kyuss album already is coming to Kyuss through a more famous band, such as Queens of the Stone Age. Therefore, it is best to listen to the Kyuss album which is most friendly to newcomers, and this is it. "....Sky Valley" is the most highly produced Kyuss album, and is probably the smoothest on the ear. Songs such as Demon Cleaner and Space Cadet are incredibly listener friendly, and I have yet to find the person who doesn't like Supa Scoopa and Mighty Scoop. Probably the roughest songs on the album come towards the end, but the album finishes with one of the greatest, most liquid jams of all time, Whitewater. There's a joke track at the end called Lick Doo, and it is completely out of character for Kyuss. Gardenia possesses one of the greatest riffs ever, and N.O. one of the most screamable choruses.
Overall then, this album is a class act, and a superb introduction to a truly awesome band. With it in your collection, you will be ready to tackle the might of "Blues...".
Why are you still reading. Buy the album......NOW.
Don't make me come out there.....
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 29 January 2012
if you think queens of the stone age rock, forget it, Kyuss stomps all over them and this album is their best. Deep, dark and moody guitars from Josh Homme, tight percussion and John Garcias almost soulful, yet forceful vocals add up to make stoner heaven. Standout tracks are Gardenia, Whitewater and Supa scoop and mighty scoop, but fear not, for it is all good. Buy it and you will never want it to end. In fact, buy all their albums.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 3 March 2004
This was the last Kyuss recording that i bought after first hearing them a few years ago, and i wish it had been the first. This album not only rocks, but defines what makes a great rock album. To begin with, the album is unusually structured, as it is made up of nine tracks, which are grouped into three phases of three songs. This works incredibly well and is complemented by some amazing production on the phases (each phase has its own distinct feel to it). Stand out tracks on the album are Gardenia and Whitewater. As it says on the sleeve this cd is best listened to without distraction. and smoking is not really a distraction... good if you like Los Natas, Unida, QOTSA etc (but if you like that kind of stuff you should have already heard this as it is a classic of the stoner/desert rock genre)
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