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Kyuss – Welcome to Sky Valley

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Last Updated on 11:58 AM by Nikos Nakos

1OO miles east of Los Angeles  in the deserts of Palm Desert, California in 1987 a bunch of kids formed a garage band living their dream through clouds of smoke, cheap booze and weed.  Far from being rock stars probably never thought that would create something that would influence so many in the near future. Even when they released their raw debut Wretch in 1991 dreams were still dreams not even close to plans, and it was two years later when producer Chris Goss (Masters of Reality), changed their sound into something multidimensional and refined helping them reaching tops like their sophomore full length, the masterpiece of psychedelic space rock stoner; the groundbreaking Blues for the Red Sun. Sons of Kyuss (inspired from a Dungeons & Dragons character) was no longer the garage band teenagers wasting their times on booze and smoking weird things; boys were now men having the world on their feet; Kyuss were the Desert Kings. 
Welcome to Sky Valley (also known as Sky Valley and Kyuss) is their third studio album and probably their peak both commercially and musically. It was released on June 28, 1994, through Elektra and Chameleon Records. 
There’s a small story about the day of the release and it’s big delay, as Welcome to Sky Valley was recorded in early 1993 and originally scheduled for release in January 1994. They sneak-previewed the completed album at Foundations Forum 93 and contributed the song “Demon Cleaner” to the sampler disc. Due to mild success from their previous album, Kyuss had been promoted from their subsidiary record label “Dali” to the main label “Chameleon”. On November 11, 1993, Chameleon Records abruptly shut down. Their joint-venture partner Elektra quickly picked up the band and scheduled the album for release in March 1994. The album was then finally delayed for another three months after that, eventually being released almost a year after being initially recorded. 
This is the first Kyuss album to feature bassist Scott Reeder, who replaced Nick Oliveri in 1992. Welcome to Sky Valley was also the last to feature founding member Brant Bjork.  This album was not only they peak, it was also the start of their fall…
The album features 10 hymns of slothy heavy rock, full of Black Sabbath influences and psychedelic soundscaping hits including the less-than-a-minute hidden track, “Lick Doo”. Every song here is trip to different galaxies, a journey into the Sun, a wandering into  distortion and dust, a hallucinogen simulation, the ultimate soundtrack for mind blowing odyssey with ships full of burned amplifiers and sailors-pirates in an ocean of riffs and sand. 
Everyone recognises Gardenia or Demon Cleaner (which Tool covered “Demon Cleaner” live twice (albeit with slight lyrics changes), with bassist Scott Reeder joining them onstage during the performances: March 27, 1998, in Los Angeles, California, at The Hollywood Palladium, March 29, 1998, in San Diego, California, at The Rimac Theatre.) but no song here is preset to perfect: “Asteroid”, “Supa Scoopa and Mighty Scoop” and “100 Degrees,” leading to the  acoustics of “Space Cadet”.  Without breath it follows the cathartic “Odyssey,” the biker’s anthem “Conan Troutman,” the pure acid rocker “N.O.” (which was originally recorded by Across the River, a band fronted by Mario Lalli and featuring bassist Reeder. After Reeder left the Obsessed and joined Kyuss, Bjork suggested they record “N.O.” as a tribute to Across the River)  and the epic as jam, “Whitewater.” 
Welcome to Sky Valley was originally released with its ten total songs contained in three tracks, with an additional, fourth hidden track. It was later re-released with all ten tracks separated individually. However, most commercially sold versions of the compact disc contain the three tracks, a setup which is meant to encourage listeners to experience it as a full album instead of as a collection of separate songs. Guitarist Josh Homme claimed in an interview that the band “just wanted it to be like hell to play on a CD player”. The album’s liner notes instruct the listener to “Listen without distract”. 

Giorgos Tsekas
Giorgos Tsekas
"Κάποτε Όταν Θα ‘χουμε Καιρό... Θα Σκεφτούμε Πάνω Στις Ιδέες Όλων Των Μεγάλων Στοχαστών, Θα Θαυμάσουμε Τους Πίνακες Όλων Των Μεγάλων Ζωγράφων, Θα Γελάσουμε Με Όλους Τους Χωρατατζήδες, Θα Φλερτάρουμε Όλες Τις Γυναίκες, Θα Διδάξουμε Όλους Τους Ανθρώπους" Μπ. Μπρεχτ

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