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Pure Mojave Nirvana - 95%

mike34260, October 24th, 2016
Written based on this version: 1994, CD, Elektra Records

If you've ever had an ounce of interest in stoner metal, this album demands at least one listen from you. From the beginning, it's obvious that this isn't the usual Sabbath worship that we all know and love. Don't get me wrong the influence is there, and quite proudly displayed. But what sets this apart from other works is the excellent use of atmosphere to create one coherent listening experience. While listening you can really get a sense of where exactly these guys hail from. Suddenly the term "desert rock" becomes less vague and it all starts to make sense. You can picture yourself relaxing in the California High Desert at sundown, with a little help from the album cover of course. The production plays a large role in creating this believable atmosphere. The guitars have a wonderfully thick, fuzzy tone that adds the perfect amount of weight to each song. Even acoustic guitars are used throughout the album, and to great effect might I add. The bass lines fit perfectly with the fantastic riffs to create an enormous wall of sound. The drums do a great job of carrying the rhythm and even steal the show on a song like Demon Cleaner. Every instrument is leveled perfectly and the mastering is quite dynamic for a stoner metal album from the mid-90s. This album sounds best when played as loud as possible, barring hearing damage of course.

The lineup on this record was something special. Each member played their respective role well and the synergy is heavily audible. John Garcia provides the perfectly gruff yet clear as day vocals that Kyuss is known for. John's range is quite varied and his voice fits excellently with this kind of music. Josh Homme provides the signature fat, heavily down tuned riffs with the help of fuzz pedals and massive 15" bass amps. Scott Reeder (bass) and Brant Bjork (drums) perfectly play off each other to set up a rock-solid rhythm. There is no weak point when it comes to talent on this album.

And now for the best part of a review, the highlights! Starting off we have my personal favorite track, Gardenia. This track to me encapsulates the sound of Kyuss in every way. The main riff is superbly heavy and laden with the perfect amount of tasteful distortion. John's intense wails coincide flawlessly with the driving drums and bass. There is even a funky instrumental section before the main riff returns in full force to show who is boss. If you only check out one track from this album, let this be the one to grace your ears. Asteroid and Space Cadet are two atmospheric tracks that help keep the album varied. Asteroid starts with a clean guitar part before introducing heavy riffs and oddly enough becomes quite psychedelic for a solid minute, only to have the riffs come back to end the song. Space Cadet is an all acoustic song where the guitars and drums really shine. John provides calm, fitting vocals while this song serves as a sort of "breather" for the album. Letting you take a break before things kick back into full gear. Another personal favorite is Demon Cleaner. A song with one hell of a groove, the drums are given their time to shine. The fuzzy guitars and spacey vocals also help set the tone of this track, excellent in all aspects.

The last track I want to mention is Supa Scoopa and Mighty Scoop. With a title as unconventional as that, you know this song has to rock. With an absurdly catchy main riff and wonderfully sung verses, this song is a strong contender next to Gardenia as the best the album has to offer.

The only thing stopping Welcome To Sky Valley from achieving the coveted 100% mark is the last track. While it is a fun track in its own right, Lick Doo is just a little too goofy of a song, much less at the tail end of the album. Other than that this album is, in my opinion, pretty much perfect. When I think of stoner metal I immediately think of Kyuss. And there is a clear reason, these guys were pioneers and rightfully cemented their legacy in the genre. If you're ever itching for a great stoner or just metal album in general, don't hesitate to try this one out. I can almost guarantee that you will enjoy it.

Brush Away The Demons - 96%

enshrinedtemple, May 24th, 2016

Welcome to another masterpiece from Kyuss. Kyuss were able to change and still be a great band. Losing members is never any easy thing to overcome and many times the magic dwindles away. Kyuss would be able to come up with one more truly great album with Welcome to Sky Valley. The band maturity level skyrockets as Kyuss hone in their craft even more. The band were now considered desert legends and they certainly live up to that title with the three movements found on Sky Valley.

I failed to mention in my review of Blues for the Red Sun that Chris Goss was a big part in getting the band to move forward after Wretch. He was very instrumental being a musician himself and knowing about where the members of Kyuss came from. It was truly a match made in the desert. Chris knows how to keep things fresh, diverse and exciting. I wish he would do more producing or arranging for bands.

Scott Reeder is welcomed into the band in place of Nick Oliveri. Like I mentioned, Kyuss lost no momentum and were able to continue tapping that desert inspiration. I found out the he left the band after his father died in a car accident. Heavy stuff there to think about indeed. It is easy for bands to fall apart after something like that and I hope they were still able to help support Oliveri. Still the past is in the past and the music is what we will stay focused on. Oliveri would not be the last person to leave Kyuss but as long as Homme, Garcia and Bjork were together, Reeder would fit right in and get comfortable.

Sky Valley is a unique piece of work that is not focused on the different songs per say. It is focused on these movements. The album has 3 movements and within each movement lies different songs that are interconnected. This can be frustrating at parts because the CD copy I own requires you to listen all the way through or it makes you skip to a certain part. That is why Sky Valley is such a mood dependent album for me. I am not going to listen to it for just Demon Cleaner. I am going to listen to the entire experience as it is meant to be enjoyed. This is the main element to the album that sets it apart from Blues for the Red Sun and other Kyuss projects but that doesn’t necessarily make it better than them.

Space Cadet is a droning and psychedelic piece of work. The acoustic guitars and the sitar like guitar parts really take you to a different place. Its brilliant how you listen to the song and get those desert feelings despite the song being titled Space Cadet. I would assume the song was about being in space and trying to get back to earth. Waiting is hard, fucking takes so long. Another highlight would have to be Demon Cleaner. The catchy and echoing yeah brings a lot of catchiness. Another plus side is it comes after the mellow and chilled out Space Cadet. The song is one of those that pulls a big punch to the listener. It’s the mood contrasts that make Kyuss a great band to listen to and what make Sky Valley such a great piece of work.

I would call Sky Valley a mood dependent masterpiece that is meant for those lazy summer days or maybe star watching at night. The heavy moments are still there, but this is more of a rock album with a lot of laid back moments. They certainly scaled back the pummeling heaviness of the past in favor of some more psychedelic elements. Kyuss is one of those bands that could potentially fit into different time periods easily. One would not mistake them for a 70’s hard rock band. They can fit in with likes of Black Sabbath and Zeppelin and no one would bat an eye. They were maybe a little too different to be understood in the 90’s aside from their dedicated fan base. Sadly, they are and were one of those bands that flew under the radar and never got popular enough.

We are lucky that we got 2 masterpiece albums from Kyuss. Wretch is something to appreciate and so is Circus but no Kyuss material will ever outshine what they did from 1992 to 1994. Sky Valley is an album worthy of the praise but I personally find it a notch below Blues for the Red Sun. The reason being that the album forces me to listen to everything or nothing. I feel like I am doing something wrong if I listen to just one part of a movement rather than just listening to one song. It just doesn’t work that way once you enter the world of Sky Valley. Once you go in, there is no turning back. Also another turn off is Lick Doo. It would have fit on Blues for the Red Sun, but it just sounds completely random on Sky Valley. It serves no purpose besides showing that the members of Kyuss got high and made a silly song. With Sky Valley being such a mature and hypnotic slab of desert goodness, I see no place for Lick Doo. It is one song that I can play by itself but to me that just defeats the purpose of having it on an album like Sky Valley.

The sound of the desert - 100%

Doominance, July 6th, 2015

Kyuss' self-titled album; more commonly known as 'Welcome to Sky Valley' was recorded in 1993 - only a year after the release of their excellent 'Blues for the Red Sun' album, but wasn't released until the summer of 1994 due to some issues with record labels. The record label issues and the growing tension within the band between primary songwriters Brant Bjork (drums) and Josh Homme (guitar) didn't hamper the band's ability to make music, as evident on this album. If anything, it made the band even better!

'Welcome to Sky Valley' was the first album to feature Scott Reeder on bass and this would prove to be a key ingredient to the amazing goods on this record. While original bassist Nick Oliveri is a good bassist and churned out some pretty mean, punky basslines on 'Blues for the Red Sun', Scott Reeder takes the lid off and let's loose with a more laid-back style of playing. His jams often come across as improvised and not necessarily rehearsed that much and makes the album sound more natural and free-flowing. Reeder was also the one who came up with the riff to the super-chill song "Space Cadet" that opens with a neat bass-solo that makes it impossible to not think you're observing the sunset whilst hitchhiking somewhere in the middle of nowhere in the Californian desert.

Scott Reeder doesn't only make the bass sound overall better, but also seems to allow Josh Homme to experiment more with his guitar riffs. The guitar isn't as raw and punky as on the 'Wretch' album and not as soaringly aggressive as on 'Blues for the Red Sun'. 'Blues for the Red Sun' had some trippy guitar bits here and there, but it's become more of a focal point on 'Welcome to Sky Valley', which makes the album much more relaxed and psychedelic than the previous records.

The chemistry between Homme and Reeder is truly phenomenal on this album and even without drums and vocals, they would sound great, but one cannot leave Brant Bjork and John Garcia out of this album. Bjork wrote, or co-wrote, most Kyuss songs. Some of the best tracks on 'Welcome to Sky Valley' are written by Brant Bjork alone. These include the massive album opener "Gardenia"; a longer, extremely heavy and fuzzy ditty and the otherworldly album closer "Whitewater"; another longer song with some really nice guitars and vocals.

Speaking of vocals, John Garcia has some of his greatest moments on 'Welcome to Sky Valley'. "The voice of desert/stoner rock" has a very distinctive voice - his somewhat sleazy snarls - but Garcia shows some good variety on this record. On songs such as "Gardenia", "100 Degrees" and "Odyssey", he sounds like he usually does. He takes his singing to another level on "Supa Scoopa and Mighty Scoop" and totally steals the show. The same could be said about his performance on "Whitewater". Garcia sings in a clean. calm voice, too, heard on "Space Cadet" and "Demon Cleaner" and does a good job in that department, as well.

'Welcome to Sky Valley' is THE album to play during a nice, hot summer evening. Or a long drive. Kyuss merged the band's more straight-forward, aggressive punk-influenced rock with a larger doses of neo-psychedelia than ever to craft an album that shows the best of both worlds of the band. You get the dirtier, faster and more intense songs in "100 Degrees", "Odyssey" and "Conan Troutman", the longer, slower and more laid-back ones in "Gardenia", "Space Cadet" and "Whitewater", so you'll find what you seek, when exploring Kyuss' sound, right here on 'Welcome to Sky Valley'.

Cream of the Crop - 100%

Xyston, January 25th, 2014

The third full-length album by Kyuss, kings of the Californian desert, “Welcome to Sky Valley” is the absolute pinnacle of stoner rock/metal, a masterpiece that for two decades has inspired countless bands and rewarded the ears of fans who desire truly heavy music. Although there’s been a long-standing debate over whether Kyuss should be viewed as the “real” pioneers of the dearly beloved (and highly ambiguous) genre we know as stoner metal, what’s certainly undeniable is that they’re the best at it – if by stoner metal, we essentially mean heavy fuckin’ rock that is just too thick and Sabbathy to simply be called “rock”, despite not sounding very doomy. That’s probably the reason why either “stoner rock” or “stoner metal” is often used to refer to Kyuss and other groups, but with such an amazing album at hand, I must ask: who GIVES a shit?

The band certainly didn’t, and with such quality, overtly heavy tunes coming from “Welcome to Sky Valley”, it should be rather obvious to stoner fans, and metalheads generally, that Kyuss do reside on a fine branch of our mighty genre’s family tree.
No, this is not a doom metal record. This is enormously heavy music, but to begin, it should be clear that the strain of stoner metal developed by Kyuss is one that marries Iommian riffs to a grooving, psychedelic aesthetic that also bears traces of straight-ahead 70s hard rock. Contrast this with their Californian contemporaries, Sleep, who took a far more rigid approach with their emulation of Sabbath, maintaining a pronounced doom character (yet still produced a sound infused with notable psychedelic jammy-ness). Today, the stylistic divide between these two routes to stonerhood is manifest in bands that have more of a “Kyuss approach” – driving, rocking – versus the “Sleep approach”, more droning and doomy. Think Orange Goblin versus Electric Wizard, or on a smaller scale, “Sabbra Cadabra” versus “Into the Void”.

Anyway, that should be enough for genre knit-picking – the bottom line is, “Welcome to Sky Valley” is distinctively heavy and Sabbathy enough, and undoubtedly headbangable. And, most importantly, it’s a shining moment of musical achievement and the best release from Kyuss. Indeed, one of the most difficult debates of my life has centred on whether I prefer the previous record, “Blues for the Red Sun”, or “Sky Valley” (you know you’re a stoner metaller when). I’ll always worship “Blues for the Red Sun”, which holds a special place for me as the album that introduced me to Kyuss, although I’ve reached the conclusion that “Sky Valley” does surpass it. Its compositions just seem to have a more mature, intricate quality to them, while the musicianship has improved. To be sure, Kyuss haven’t strayed much at all from their musical style on “Blues for the Red Sun”, and the strength of each song is still hugely derived from Josh Homme’s immaculate riffs, but the addition of bassist Scott Reeder (replacing Nick Oliveri) is what I think really allowed Kyuss to reach this level of greatness. Unlike the previous record, there are numerous moments on “Sky Valley” where the bass alone is running the show and making the music shine as a whole. Take opening track "Gardenia" – nothing short of beautiful, as Homme’s riffage roars atop of Brant Bjork’s thunderous drumming. The mid-section with the solo? Reeder tears it up! The Butlerian madness this guy pulls off on this track (and elsewhere throughout the record) is simply unbelievable and dynamic, and a sure proof of his status as a bass god. Seriously, if you thought he sounded good in his previous position playing bass with legendary Scott “Wino” Weinrich in The Obsessed, you MUST listen to “Sky Valley”, because it’s surely where he’s offered his best performance.

The key to any great stoner rock/metal album is that it possesses a good flow, and “Welcome to Sky Valley” doesn’t just fulfill this requirement – it defined this as an element tied to stoner excellence. I do find the fact that there are only 3 official tracks on this record to be cool and interesting (2 songs each containing 3 parts, the final one containing 4) although this is obviously a construct; it doesn’t matter where one part stops or ends if you’re listening to this without pause, beginning to end. What’s more important to note is how perfectly placed each part is relative to the others. Like with the opening track, which is officially “Gardenia/Asteroid/Supa Scoopa and Mighty Scoop”, the exceptionally heavy instrumental “Asteroid” is a great way to follow-up to the rocking “Gardenia”, with its prominent Sabbathian overtones making this arguably the heaviest moment on the record. “Supa Scoopa and Mighty Scoop” is what I mean by Kyuss pioneering stoner rock. The main riff follows the exact same rhythmic structure as the one from “Children of the Grave”, but instead of this venturing into darkness and doom, the song manages to be simultaneously heavy and uplifting. Add an incredible performance by the one-and-fuckin’-only John Garcia on vocals, who’s got the BEST voice in all of stoner metal, and you should be crapping your pants before Reeder even has time to throw out more epic bass lines.

“100 Degrees/Space Cadet/Demon Cleaner” is up next, and the best way I can describe “100 Degrees” is stoner speed metal – a hell of a track, combining classic metal riffing with a nice, funky break that gives Reeder some more time to rip. Indeed, a song like this doesn’t help the argument that Kyuss were simply just playing “rock”. However, “Space Cadet” does illustrate the side of Kyuss that draws more from rock sensibilities, as it’s a 7-minute acoustic piece that serves as a cool-off point in the middle of the album. This is truly the sound of the desert, a very introspective song with great lyrics, working amazingly well as the only light song on the album. Next, “Demon Cleaner” is one of the sure highlights of the album, which slows down the pace and gives Reeder yet another chance to take the spotlight. Homme’s riffs are timeless, Bjork’s drumming flawless, and just the overall atmosphere of this track is superb. As the last 30 seconds of the song fade away, I always imagine myself out in the middle of the desert, driving into a sunset that has almost fully dipped below the horizon, as stars prepare to dot the sky. It’s killer, it’s epic, and it’s a testament to the musical genius of Kyuss, period.

The closing piece of “Sky Valley”, “Odyssey/Conan Troutman/N.O./Whitewater”, consists of 4 more tracks that are excellent, preventing any filler from ruining the flow or consistency of the album as it draws to a close. “Odyssey” is more of what I personally like to describe as stoner speed metal (like 100 Degrees), opening with an up-tempo, aggressive riff and powerful, fast-paced drumming, with plenty of Sabbathy melody going around for all to share. “Conan Troutman” is also a rather feisty number, with some frenzied riffing coming from Homme and more hard-hitting drums from Bjork, who is excellent behind the kit. Bjork has a distinct playing style, epitomizing stoner metal drumming, and I love his confident pacing and tremendous fills – not to mention that he’s nothing short of a beast when playing live. Meanwhile, “N.O.” is a cover by desert rock group Across the River, which Scott Reeder played in for a while. It’s certainly the most outright bluesy and rocky of all the songs on the record, featuring lead guitar by original composer Mario Lalli, although it fits neatly into Kyuss’ sound and offers a nice, chill composition that follows the previous couple of heavy tracks well, while leading into closer “Whitewater” smoothly. And what a lovely closer “Whitewater” is. Every single second of this song is perfect, from the slow, quiet intro that gives way to some of Homme’s most powerful riffs, to the pristine transition to the trippy solo section where Homme and Reeder battle it out in psychedelic fashion. This song really does create an atmosphere of an epic quest of sorts coming to an end, which the lyrics do hint at as well:

“You move your own mountain,
The trees have grown,
Trees have grown.
Now, it’s over,
Now it’s over, and I’m coming home.”

Indeed, every time I listen to “Welcome to Sky Valley”, or anything by Kyuss, I feel that I’m coming home. I’ve come quite a long way over the years with my appreciation of their music, and I truly feel that the older I get, the better their music gets, and the more I can relate to it. I feel stoner rock/metal has always carried connotations of being somewhat less “intellectual” than other genres, but Kyuss prove how untrue that assumption really is. Hell, I didn’t even know what stoner metal was when I first heard Kyuss – all I thought was that I was listening to amazing music that was damn heavy, and definitely unlike anything else. The question of whether Kyuss deserve the credit for pioneering stoner rock, or if this simply belongs to Sabbath, may likely continue for some time to come. But what has never been an argument – and never will be – is the fact that the throne of stoner rock/metal, as we know it today, belongs to Kyuss. They might have not known it 20 years ago, but with “Welcome to Sky Valley”, Kyuss had planted the seeds from which countless bands would soon sprout in blazed glory; but not nearly in the glory of their masters.

The schwag of the stoner genre - 60%

hippie_holocaust, December 1st, 2011

All right, so some hippies in the desert smoked some good weed and decided to play some fuzzy down-tuned rock music, emphasis on the word rock. With wah peddles ablaze and some clean vocal crooning over the top of a haze of distortion fused with the jammier tendencies of the 1970s hard rockers, Kyuss offer us a stony soundscape by which to nod our heads into sensi-slumber… in other words, this is not metal. There I said it. Sure, there are some heavy moments in this album, such as the harder-hitting instrumental bits, but honestly these moments just can’t weigh in with the more Sabbathian renderings of the stoner genre. Oh, and another thing, these guys did not invent said genre. To say these were the first dudes to ever light their minds and tune down is just plain silly.

The first two songs “Gardenia” and “Asteroid” are fine slabs of droning space rock, but the quality riffs seem to be expended upon the completion of “Asteroid.” I was at once put off by the vocals as they are amateurish and a tad overbearing. Also, I found that I actually needed to turn the bass down on my stereo within the first seconds of this album because it was overwhelming the mix of the already low music. Anyhow, one could throw out words like progressive, I guess, since Kyuss seem to play long songs and offer things like acoustic guitars and meandering “atmospheric” passages.

This album fares well enough as a continuous play arrangement with songs flowing decently together. The music has an organic feeling as though it was probably done in few takes, and the aforementioned jammy-ness makes for some fun filled rawk. The variance between fuzz and clean guitar, straight rock beats and tribally tom-tom parts, etc, keeps it somewhat interesting, although this is definitely more of a bon fire and cheap beer affair than a leather-clad brawler. Maybe these guys had the right idea early on, they seem to be coming from the right place, but look where Homme took it with Queens of the Stone Age. Again, not metal.

The three songs that comprise the second movement of the album are pretty good, with “100 Degrees” and its straight-ahead rock practicality, and the trippy “Demon Cleaner” also serving as a highlight. The clean intro to “Odyssey” is a memorable lick, to be sure, and when that fuzz distortion hits we are reminded of what gives this music any heaviness that it might have. The “wall of sound” approach is somewhat effective here but the lame vocals and weak drums prevent Kyuss from ever getting too heavy.

I would at this point advise the listener to stop the album before the “hidden” fourth track, for it is unbearably dumb. These guys must have been pretty fuckin high. Why else would they top off a decent enough offering with this kitschy piece of half-baked shite? Ah well, I suppose I can look the other way, since a couple of the beefier riffs herein do (slightly) make up for it. To sum it up, if you’re into the stoned/drone thing, this is safe and unadventurous territory. If Slayer is your favorite band, stay away.

Silver plate downward spiral. - 100%

Shadespawn, February 15th, 2010

It was more than two decades ago when the legendary Kyuss (founded as Sons of Kyuss) took shape and form and played their distinctive type of rock/metal that was soon to be recognized as the "stoner" or "desert" sound that would influence a wave of young musicians that have had enough of the whole negativity that just kept growing at an exponential rate. Up to this date, not much has changed, except that this particular wave of music died out sometime in the late 90s. There is a big difference between the roots and the newer bands that also adhere to the "desert" scene, since the latter have taken over a more cleaner "pop" sound. Bands such as Queens of the Stone Age (Josh Homme's brainchild) or Fu Manchu don't represent the scene that was heaviest under the name "Kyuss" and the main problem is the rise to a greater audience and mainstream. It seems to apply to every musical group, that once you gain a greater audience and popular attention that you automatically reduce the heaviness in your attitude and sound and it all damps down to a softer type of cushion.

This album, falsely known as "Welcome to Sky Valley" can be described as Kyuss' peak or "opus magnum", but since every release this band has put out is amazing and most authentic in its own way, we'll just agree on the fact that this selftitled LP is not only a very good Kyuss/stoner album, but also one of the most inspiring, distinctive and exceptional albums ever made. The main reason this band has been so highly influential and distinctive is the fact that they bring a certain feeling or sentiment into their music adequately and authentically. They have a certain idea of what's wrong in the world and put it very well into music by dragging the listener into that black hole of what society represents and finishing him off with the tearing heavy guitar riffing and John Garcia's amazing raspy half-sung vocals that absolutely no musician can mimic or surpass.

The album is divided into three "movements", a rare type of separating an album, which is not very popular amongst the heavy metal culture, since it takes a little more compositional effort than simply putting out track after track. "Movements" mostly appeared in baroque or classical pieces, where a certain pattern, such as Allegro-Adagio-Scherzo-etc. was followed. The composition here can be described as a very far cousin at very best, but that's probably the intention. Whatever the cause, this is the construct of the different parts of the album. Now, there is no musical analysis of the "parts", since the album should be viewed upon as a whole piece of art and expression. The nihilistic or fatalist nature (as I would like to interpret it) of this music is only surpassed by the amount of creativity and energy it incorporates, by terms of radicalness of course. In other words you don't have to dig very deep to capture the essence of this album and in order to enjoy it, you simply have to pay attention, as the band suggests on the album sleeve. Of course everybody should interpret the music in whatever way they like, be it as a playground of thought, a floating cloud of inspiration or a dead end street. You can go almost anywhere if you are stupid and the day is long.

Each and every song has its own particular "flow" of music and more iInterestingly, of consciousness. There is a constant flow of ideas that seem to flow directly into each other, embracing one another, forming a great whole. The songs aren't as direct as one would expect from this musical niche, but present themselves in a narrative order, with occasional recurring parts. We have instrumental songs, slow ballads and of course balls out rock'n'roll hits that drift into eternity. This record is as timeless as it is captivating; imagine being out in the desert while the sun warms the air around you, getting cooler while it gets dark, that is the overall feeling on this record. The mezmerizing echo of soothing guitar parts mixed with the immortal voice of John Garcia shifting into buzzing sludgy and mushy riffs that drag along as your mood gets evaporated and your thoughts swirl into each other like a desert twister. There isn't anything to be said about this album that hasn't already been realized in the past 16 years. The whole record is amazing and awesome. Period. A long lost gem of creativity and understanding.

(written for metal-archives and TMO on 16.02.10)

Sounds of a Desert Wind, Smells of a Smoking Joint - 100%

Hungryfreak, May 6th, 2009

yuss was a band at the forefront of the stoner rock/metal movement along with bands such as sHEAVY and Sleep. With a slower sound and a fuzzier production, Kyuss wrote anthems for the weedians and marijuanauts of the world. While more towards the end of their discography, Welcome To Sky Valley remains Kyuss's essential album.

Starting off strong with "Gardenia," a tribute to driving, the album demonstrates Kyuss's ability to be as heavy as possible while still being mellow. It then descends into "Asteroid," with only the guitar at first, crying a spacey tone. The rest of the instruments then join it, hammering you with the added heaviness before breaking down and starting back from only the guitar and building back up.

The album takes a sudden drop from the heavy ending of "Asteroid" as it plunges directly into "Supa Scoopa And Mighty Scoop," which brings to play some faster sounds and more psychedelic tones. The song's end draws out with long spaces between the heavy notes, so their full weight is felt. It is followed by perhaps the fastest track on the album, "100º". Even with the added speed, though, the fuzzy sound still manages to make the song soothing.

After an abrupt ending to the previous song, "Space Cadet," the lightest song on the album picks up. It is also one of the spaciest and most immersive songs of the album. It makes you feel the sheer size and emptiness of the desert, especially because of the sharp contrast to the other, much heavier songs. The weight is brought up again, though, by "Demon Cleaner," which features some of the most soothing vocals in the album. As John Garcia's voice echoes "yeah," it caries your mind across the sonic plane along with the rolling bass drum beneath the stoner guitar riffs.

"Odyssey" continues the tradition of using light intros to introduce heavier sections in another of the albums more rocking tunes and leads into "Conan Troutman," another heavy and quick tune. "N.O." switches from between faster and slower sections while remaining consistently heavy and makes apparent its Sabbath influences along with classic rock sounds. "Whitewater" closes the album as the longest song and is perhaps the heaviest song on the album. It ends, though, with a minute-long doo-wop parody, that creates a sharp contrast to the albums serious tone and shows that Kyuss has a sense of humor.

The album was originally divided into three suites, the first two being three songs long and the third being four songs long. It shows by the similar sounds among the groups. It is effective in making the album feel epic. The sections seem as though they could very well be their own albums, but the band manages to tie them together brilliantly and, as it comes to an end and you look back, you realize just how much the album had to offer in only about 52 minutes.

Welcome To Sky Valley is an amazing exercise in stoner rock that plays around with your mind as it should. The arrangements always invoke images and feelings that the band wants you to see and feel and takes you on a trip without you having to move. Definitely an essential album to any lover of all things heavy, desert and/or chemical.

Hear Her Purrin' Motor - 100%

HackAndSlash, December 23rd, 2008

Best.Stoner.Album.Ever. I mean really, holy fucking shit. Kyuss are the godfathers of Stoner Rock/Metal (really their own genre of Desert Rock if you will...) and deserve their crown on the pinnacle of the cactus throne. What do I mean by that? Smoke some pot, put on Kyuss' s/t (aka Welcome to Sky Valley) and hear for yourself. Hell, you don't even have to be blazed to love this release.

Gardenia. Lovely, lovely Gardenia. The lyrics alone should entice you; "hear her purrin motor and she's a burnin' fuel push it over baby oh makin' love (un)to you". Is this song about a car? Or is it about a woman? Who gives a shit, it chugs along like a fucking train from Acid Drop platform number 420. The drop tuned guitars played through bass amps, and Garcia's piercing vocals cry out and fuse together to form a masterpiece.

Asteroid kicks off next and sends your head into overdrive. The riffing on this track is second to none in the genre. The opening notes send you into outer space to another dimension. My head felt like I was in the clouds. Suddenly the drop tuned guitars kick in and lay down a slow, but powerful riff. Distortion and great guitar work bridge you into the main riff again. Only this time, it speeds up gradually. Faster and faster and faster until your mind is spinning like a fucking top on the sun. What does that one mean you ask? Who knows? I sure don't. But it makes perfect sense when you listen to the track.

Supa Scoop and Mighty Scoop may be a poor name for a song, but don't tell the song that - it kills. Garcia's vocals are prominent here, that is, until the instrumentals kick into gear. That said, his vocals are still genius. His tone fits into the sound perfectly. He has a soulful and rigid tone that reflects the heat and grit of the desert sands.

If I list the excellence of every track I'll be here a while. However, I will give a final mention to my favorite on Kyuss' s/t - Demon Cleaner. This track opens with a great drum beat. Next, those amazing drop tuned guitars. Then a riff of a higher scale than usual. These sounds merge together to have you swaying to the music. Sounds gay you say? Well, fuck you. The vocals and lyrics are crystal clear on Demon Cleaner. Garcia holds his notes perfectly on this one. There is no ruggedness or grit. It's pure stoner bliss.

"Inside i see more,
Cobwebs in the way,
The magic cleaner will,
Shine his smile over me

I am the demon,
Cleaner to save the day,
I get the back one,
Important they'll always stay

If you still don't believe that you should pick this album up than you should do one of three things. 1. Kill yourself. 2. Kill yourself. 3. Kill your mother.

"Take one to the mountain, take one to the sea..." - 97%

StupidGenius, March 9th, 2007

"...take one to the belly of the beast. And then you'll take one with me." That pretty much sums up the nature of this album right there.

When an album's jacket clearly states the words "Listen without distractions", you know the band is serious about it. When they take ten songs and lump them into three to preserve continuity and completion, you know they're really serious about it. And when the album in question is allegedly spawned from a multi-day drug binge out in the Californian desert, you know you have one hell of an effort on your hands.

Kyuss had already achieved critical acclaim for their sophomore masterpiece, 1992's 'Blues For The Red Sun', and an album like that is not easy to follow up. But somehow, the boys managed to outdo themselves. Despite the loss of bassist Nick Oliveri, the band was able to continue on with Scott Reeder handling the four string, and he fits the band perfectly. His basslines meander and crest and swell amidst the chaos of Josh Homme's fuzzed-out, mondo-detuned, hazy guitar that threatens to send desert sand pouring through the speakers along with the music. Brant Bjork's drumming isn't too flashy, too over the top, but he has a sense when he should really let loose with the fills and when he should just keep time. And John Garcia shows an almost startling amount of range and versatility throughout the disc.

Truth be told, it's difficult to find a weak moment on the album. The album's arrangement makes it a little tedious to delve into at first, with each suite being fifteen minutes upwards. You'll find yourself wishing you had ten individual tracks, and it's a valid point, but when you listen to the suites in a cohesive grouping, it really shows that this is a greater album than the sum of its parts. The pacing is excellent, throwing in spaced-out, psychedelic jams such as 'Asteroid' and 'Space Cadet' to give you time to catch your breath from tracks like 'Gardenia' or '100 Degrees' that scorch like the desert sun. And then there's the subtle stoner groove, sort of sleepily woven through the album's fabric, poking out its head from time to time to see if you're enjoying yourself. And just when you think you've gotten your head wrapped around it, they burn you again with Homme's gripping leads on 'Demon Cleaner', backed with a haunting tribal rhythm, or the 8 minute magnum opus, 'Whitewater', during which you can't help but picture an enormous waterfall crashing down from the heavens at your feet. And one cannot review this album without special mention to 'Odyssey', which manages to feel huge and epic and compelling in a modest four and a half minute frame, an attribute that most artists spend their entire careers searching for.

But that's enough wanking over the music. What really solidifies this album as a heavy metal masterpiece is the emotion behind it. The lyrics are mostly indirect, but still manage to convey exactly what the band wants to get across. They provide points "a" and "c", and leave point "b" to be whatever you want it to be. This is an album that can be listened to casually. You can let it hit your ears, and think it to be pleasant, and enjoy it, and yes, even take something away from it. But like all true masterpieces in music, it's best digested hungrily, in a darkened room, in silence, from start to finish. No distractions. Allow each note to permeate your mind and find a place to rest. Allow each thought and emotion provoked to propagate and fester. And when it's all said and done, like all great musical works, you'll take off your headphones, sit up, mutter "wow..." to yourself, then hit play and take another trip to the belly of the beast.

BULLDOZER - 97%

Starkweather222000, July 22nd, 2005

Let’s get something straight: This one rocks the motherfucking house of rock. It rules, it smashes everything labelled as rock after 1979.
By 1994, Kyuss had already released two really good albums, “Wretch” and “Blues For The Red Sun”. But it seems that the band from California had to make a magnificent substitution to take off once and for all eternity. When bass player Nick Olivieri left the band after “Blues…”, Kyuss came in touch with doom/stoner guru Scott Reeder, who agreed to play the bass lines in this monstrously heavy masterpiece.
With renewed line up and ambition for something even better than the previous albums, Kyuss recorded “Welcome To The Sky Valley” in straight 1994. So, off we go to see what’s inside.
The album takes off with probably the best Kyuss song ever written. So simple. “Gardenia” is a 5 minute track of sheer, sheer heavy rock glory. Someone said once that when you listen to the intro of this song, it feels as if the speakers will explode and start producing desert sand instead of sound, and man, I can’t think a better way to describe the heaviness of this dynamite. REALLY low tuned guitars by Josh Homme, splendid bass lines by Reeder and the crazy Mexican gringo named John Garcia on the microphone set this song as an ideal opener for a bulldozer album. “Asteroid” gives the necessary, psychedelic intermission to the listener, before the album rolls with speed and dust to “Supa Scoopa and Mighty Scoop”. “Don’t try to take me away, like I can’t live without you…” says John, and the bigfoot truck called Kyuss accelerates again to smash everything in its way. “100 Degrees”, a 2 minute cannonball, just before another melodic, acoustic break called “Space Cadet”, leading to the ultimate epic of this album (along with “Gardenia”) named “Demon Cleaner”. It begins with a rattlesnake-movement like intro with drums and basslines, before Homme’s riff comes in, setting the massacre off. Exceptional vocals, a true desert anthem that stones you by the first time you listen to it.
The third chapter of the album begins with “Odyssey”, another blasting desert bulldozer, with probably the best lyrics ever written by Garcia. “Conan Troutman”, “N.O.” and “Whitewater” make the finale even more excruciating, with the well known low tuned riffs and beastly basslines. This one is a must have for everyone that wants to be named as a heavy rock fan. Along with Fu Manchu’s “California Crossing” and Orange Goblin’s “Time Travelling Blues”, it is surely the cornerstone of latter rock music, and an exceptionally exceptional album that awaits patiently your attention. No sissy neo-rock thingies here. Drunk vocals, stoned guitars, haunting basslines, a true bulldozer, not for the weak hearted.

Fear & Loathing in Sky Valley? - 95%

Conan_Troutman, June 24th, 2003

For all those kids out there who are currently digging Queens of the Stoneage as "that band with the guy from Nirvana and Foo Fighters"(and I'm sure you're out there; not that you or QOTSA suck by any means), I suggest a closer look at the lineage of rock n' roll's current saviours, starting with the origins of Queens vocalist/guitarist Josh Homme, and a band called Kyuss. Both Kyuss and QOTSA co-existed for sometime before the latter's current mainstream success(even releasing a split album together, which I highly recomend as well). Kyuss' 1994 self-titled release(although everyone else still contends it's called Sky Valley; to each their own) is absolutely mind-blowing - pure stoner ecstasy in the form of sheer rock fuzz. This bad
motherfucker will get you from the opening of "Gardenia", and not let you go from the "dizzying highs, terrifying lows and creamy middles"(thank you Homer Simpson!) unleashed upon you, wave after wave. Made ever the moreso pulverizing by running their guitars through bass amplifiers, Kyuss' third full-length release seems to follow something of a loose, undefined concept; or at least that's the impression I got. Organized into three chunks of three songs each(that's alot of threes!), the blocks of songs take on the form of large epics unto themselves. Call me crazy(or just bored for reading into it too much), but my personal interpretation was that of a tale of three days and nights in the desert on some kind of hallucinogenic substance, and all the insights and personal truths revealed, as par for the course of a vision quest. I don't know - it just seemed like each block consisted of a "morning", "noon" and "night"(although the last block is four songs long; "dusk"?), the second "night" being represented by "Demon Cleaner"(and coincidentally the darkest track on the album). Just my two cents, though. Well, I suppose if I haven't intrigued those not already into Kyuss, I don't know what will. With that in mind, I'll close on the following thought; "Demon Cleaner" is one of the rare songs that caught my ear on first listen(at the tender age of 13, I might add) and imprinted the hallowed name of Kyuss in my musical lexicon.

long strange trip - 98%

ironasinmaiden, April 13th, 2003

I will never stop hyping this band up, because Kyuss were just... that... damn... good. Sky Valley is one of those albums that sounds classic and epic in scope without being pretentious in any manner. It's the fuzzed out desert party package from Neptune... 50 minutes of stoner rock bliss. If you have any self respect (or an affinity for stoner/doom) you should already have this. If not, pile in the boogie van and make your life complete!

Sky Valley ( and any Kyuss record) is produced as to envelop your senses. The instruments aren't compressed or refined, it actually sounds like you're chillin' with cacti in Southern Cali. Such is the craft of (producer) Chris Goss. Bassist Scott Reeder is phenomenal... very few men can wrangle and tame the groove like Mr. Reeder. His improvisation complements Josh Homme's spacey and open ended flavour, and allows for many a spontaneous jam.

Last but certainly not least, John Garcia, vocalist extroardinaire. Perhaps the 90's most puissant voice... Garcia has everything a rock singer should have.. a distinctive style, enough range to carry a melody, and charisma out the ass. His performance on Supa Scoopa is a showstopper

Side 1 (the album is broken up into 3 15 - 20 minute tracks) opens with Gardenia, an appropriate beginning if there ever was one. A pulsing, earthy riff throbs along as Mr. Garcia wails about sex, cars, and ROCK AND FUCKING ROLL. If this song doesn't get your ass grooving you most likely don't have one. Asteroid is an aptly titled and suitably trippy instrumental. Jarring rhythms interpersed with "woa dude check that out" atmospherics. Makes sense.

Side 2 is the real masterpiece... 3 breaktaking and aesthetically erratic songs. Kyuss peaked here. "100 Degrees" is the hard rocker... a 2 and half minute slab of raging, sand blasted metal. Black Sabbath on overdrive. Space Cadet (my personal favorite)... is a peyote-fueled acoustic jam session... another reason why kyuss ruled: their albums are meant to be digested in full. If you're bored on a summer afternoon and want to escape reality for a brief moment or two, put on Space Cadet, grab a martini and lose yourself in the music. Did I mention how unfuckingbelievable the bass lines are?

Demon Cleaner (that song Tool covered) is another highlight. Commencing with buzzing tribal rhythms and a funky bass groove, Mr. Homme steals the show with a series of hypnotic single note guitar lines. Economy is a virtue... and an art Kyuss mastered during their short tenure as stoner rock royalty. One blistering melodic climax later, Demon Cleaner fades out.

Odyssey is another trippy acid rock excursion... it manages to capture that monumental, epic vibe many bands yearn for, in half the time (Kyuss is better than Symphony X too). There's another classic jam section, too. Whitewater is the album's grand finale... and it proves that Josh can play lead.

Enough talk... you need this album. If I had money I'd probably buy it for you. Nah, who am I kidding. I might loan you a few bucks though. There are no flaws here... just 100% unadulterated VIBE. And I ain't talkin hip hop magazines, partner. I'm talking KYUSS. Hail to the kings