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Blues for the Red Sun

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(83 Reviews)

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  • [NOTE: This is mostly just a repost. I wanted to correct my original four-star rating since this is a truly awesome release and definitely worthy of highest marks.]

    If the members of Blue Cheer had parked their giant Marshall amps in the middle of the Mojave desert during a sandstorm, they would sound something like this. It’s oppressively heavy and even FEELS hot; images of being stranded in Death Valley with no water come to mind when I play this disc. In my opinion, Blues For The Red Sun is the pinnacle of Kyuss’ criminally neglected output (though Welcome To Sky Valley and swansong When The Circus Leaves Town seriously challenge that assertion).

    I learned of this band through the spinoff group Queens Of The Stone Age, and figured I would like this. Josh Homme (guitar) and Nick Olivieri (bass) are both present here, but from that point the similarities end. The vocals are handled by John Garcia, who is a much raspier singer than Homme, and Brant Bjork’s crashing percussion provides the backbeat. What Kyuss lacks in QOTSA’s subtlety and diversity, it more than makes up for in heaviness. Homme’s guitar cuts through the bass-heavy sludge and fuzz with some truly inspired playing–there’s a standout melody on every track, something that doesn’t always come naturally to bands in this genre. It’s hard to believe that he was only 19 when this album was recorded, because most guitarists would KILL to play anywhere near Josh’s ability.

    Blues For The Red Sun opens with the collosal Thumb, and then changes gears with the more uptempo anthem Green Machine. Following that are a lot of instrumentals (Molten Universe, Apothecaries’ Weight, Catepillar March), the hilarious Thong Song (“I hate…slow songs”), the sinister Writhe, and the thrashing Allen’s Wrench. The centerpiece of the album is the 7 1/2 minute Freedom Run; not much to say, it just RAWKS, as does the rest of this album. The only soft moment comes with the beautiful acoustic interlude Capsized, but it doesn’t last long before the electricity and distortion return to beat you down. The closer Mondo Generator (yeah, I know it’s not the last song but the last track’s an obvious joke) is one of the few tracks I used to think was subpar; now it’s one of my favorites. Olivieri’s vocals are distorted into an echoey, ghostly scream while the band powerfully rocks out behind him. It’s atmospheric, almost creepy.

    Fans of QOTSA, stoner rock fans, and anyone wanting a heavy, rocking album will definitely find Blues For The Red Sun extremely appealing. Essential, as is the rest of Kyuss’s work (barring Wretch).

    Posted on February 11, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Kyuss is a band that I have been aware of for quite some time, but never even gave them a chance until I bought this. I would always read about them when reading about similar artists to my favorite bands like Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice In Chains and other early alternative bands. And of course like almost everyone else, I also heard about them through the truly genious band that is Queens of the Stone Age. I thought that QOTSA had a great sound unlike anyone else, until I learned that Kyuss was basically QOTSA before there was such thing as QOTSA. With my new knowledge I researched them and found out that this was their best album and bought it as soon as I could find it. I didnt really know what to expect, but it certainly beat out my biggest expectations. The thing that hit me the hardest was the originality of it. Nowadays its so difficult to be original because almost everything has been done, but this is an exceptionally awsome and original sound. Josh Homme’s guitar can best be described as thunderous. That would be the best adjective to describe what you get with an ultra deep tuned guitar played through a bass amp. And as a testiment to both Kyuss’s and Queens of the Stone Age’s greatness, Nick Oliveri is the perfect rythmic sidekick for Josh. His playing is great and powerful. Put aside the musicianship and the songwriting alone is worth anyone owning this album. I’m not too sure where this review is going, there is too much to praise for this album, I could keep going for days. I guess my best advice for anyone who has actually taken the time to read this far is to buy this album as soon as you can find it (its not exactly in high demand, so not every store has it) or just use the wonderful services of amazon. One more thing: they call it stoner rock for a reason… Listen to it stoned!

    Posted on February 11, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • There is little written about Kyuss. They truly were a band ahead of their time. While the grudge scene was at full swing, this record slipped through the cracks of the music scene and entered only into the minds of those who sought for music beyond what was being handed to them by MTV. Blues for the Red Sun is a testament to one of the most underappreciated bands on Earth. The power and feeling of the opening song captures perfectly the sentiment of the whole album: Loud crunching guitars, soothing arrangements, blistering bass and powerful vocals. It was like nothing ever done before, or, dare I say, since.

    Black Sabbath influences are evident, but to write them off as ripoffs is a gross understatement. Kyuss’s second album is a great record because it pulls you in and never lets you go. Even the short instrumentals are worthy of a listen. This is also a great introductory stoner rock album, although that title is misleading. The stoner title refers to just how much this album sucks you in and leaves your senses altered, just like a drug.

    Seriously, Blues for the Red Sun is great because it has great songs paced evenly throughout the album. Check out the cuts, “Thumb”, “50 Million Year Trip”, “Allen’s Wrench” and “Freedom Run”. Afterwards you may question whether you go back to listening to what you were before. By far, one of the best albums of the 90’s.

    Posted on February 11, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • This is the album that put Kyuss on the map back in 91, the fuzzed out meisterwork that spawned a million imitators and turned young children across the country onto generator powered, marijuana fueled grooves of the southern california desert. Although I prefer Welcome to Sky Valley, Red Sun is a classic in it’s own right. For the uninitiated, Kyuss played fuzzed out, reverb soaked, Sabbath tinged metal, and were one of the most important bands of their 90s. Describing their sound w/out relying on stupid metaphors or labels is fairly difficult, so I’ll just say that they kick arse. A lot of it. Atlantic records signed them in the early 90s and dropped them after a tour w/ metallica failed to help them catch on to the mainstream. Posthumously, their legend and influence grew and now they have a huge cult following and many side projects, most noteable of which being Queens of the Stone Age. Blues for the Red Sun contains many classics, the most prominent being Green Machine, a stoner anthem if there ever was one, a burner that sounds like the Stooges on overdrive. Thumb, Freedom March, and (my personal favorite) Writhe represent the jam nature of Kyuss, particularly Josh Homme’s fuzzy, droning guitars and John Garcia’s (one of the best vocalist all time IMO) searing vocals. So if you want to get to the roots of stoner rock and take a 50 million year trip, pack your bowls tightly and let Kyuss work their magic.

    Posted on February 11, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • If you’re unacquainted with Kyuss, this is the place to start getting acquainted; Blues for the Red Sun is more mature and deep than Wretch, but not quite as psychedelic and sprawling (in terms of track length) as Kyuss (Welcome to Sky Valley). Ignore the constant comparisons to Black Sabbath — Kyuss rocks more than Ol’ Man Ozzy could ever dream of rocking. In fact, Kyuss rocks more than pretty much anyone could ever dream of rocking, and the same can be said of this record.”Thumb” starts off with a quiet but ominous riff and slowly builds to a bludgeoning swirl of guitar, bass, drum, and visceral vocals. Kyuss only lets up sporadically throughout the rest of the album, playing softly just long enough to lull the listener into a comfortable position and then — WHAM! — they assault you with thunderous guitar riffs, explosive basslines, and pounding drums. It’s truly something you have to experience to appreciate.A lot of people criticize John Garcia’s vocals as “unoriginal” or “unimportant.” Maybe singing and lyrics were (and are) not the point of Kyuss; still, his vocals add quite a bit to the songs. What would “Thumb” be without John Garcia’s primal roar? What would “Allen’s Wrench” be without his grabbing yells? What would “Thong Song” be without him? John Garcia is a vital component of the music and truly an underappreciated singer who can do it all with his voice.Another incredible thing about this record is that the band members were in their late teens and early twenties when this was recorded. Josh Homme, Kyuss’ guitar god and primary songwriter, was a mere nineteen. To write music this complex (music that puts practically every other artist out there to shame) at nineteen is unbelievably. Josh Homme (as well as Brant Bjork, the wonderful drummer) is truly one of the best artists out there now. Before he’s done, he may be this generation’s answer to Stevie Ray Vaughan, Hendrix, Clapton, and Page.Another criticism about this album is that it’s heavy on instrumentals. While it’s true that almost every other song is an instrumental (or close to one), the instrumentals serve as bridges between the other songs, as well as some of the album’s most interesting pieces. Try not to like “Apothecaries’ Weight,” I dare you. Try to tell me that “800″ is a throw away track. The instrumentals are great, just like everything else on here.As for standout tracks, everything here rocks. When I first bought this record, I hated “Thong Song.” Now it’s possibly my favorite song. It starts slow and turns into one of the most crushing songs on the record. “Freedom Run,” “Mondo Generator,” and “Thumb” are other top picks that’ll have even the most steadfast music fan rocking out. To sum it up, this album is very highly recommended.

    Posted on February 11, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now