While MTV would have us believe that nothing has emerged from the last decade other than an orgy of 70s garage rock rip-offs, an onslaught of boy bands, yet more rappers, and an ever increasingly ridiculous amount of Nu-Metal acts, the Post-alternative 90s were not a complete wasteland devoid of any and all musical advancement. As popular music was becoming more and more dismal and depressingly wretched, a small revolution was manifesting itself and boldly growing within the California deserts. The title of this most recent source of musical salvation has come to be known as Stoner Rock, and Kyuss’ Wretch is what started it all. As the band’s first album, Wretch captures Kyuss while the band was still in their embryonic stages of development. However, even in this rough, poorly mixed form, the band’s cohesive intentions come across surprisingly smoothly. Their updated fusion of melodic song structures and oppressively heavy riffage is nothing new, drawing most notably from 90s grunge, 80s hardcore, and 60s classic rock, but in a generation without any true musical saviors, (the last truly original musical uprising was the Alternative boom in the early 90s) Kyuss sounds fresh and full of life. Furthermore, even though many aspects of Kyuss’ sound have been previously innovated and pioneered, (Melvins, Jimi Hendrix, Soundgarden, Husker Du, etc.) the shocking instrumental talent and pure, passion of each one of the band’s integral members sets Kyuss aside as a truly unique and individual entity. Despite Kyuss’ countless promising characteristics however, the prospect of a truly great band is not quite enough to warrant Wretch the title of a “great album”. The ideas presented on Wretch are already strong enough to make for an enjoyable album that is sure to hold most listener’s at rapt attention, but the basic sound still needed a lot of improvement and added consistency, which came mainly in the form of Chris Goss, before Kyuss would grow into their legendary status. As an introduction to Kyuss or Stoner Rock as a whole, Wretch is an essential and will most likely come in time once one has purchased the more noteworthy of Kyuss’ CDs, but as a stand alone album, it falls just short of it’s respectably high ambitions.