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Blues for the Red Sun

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  • 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