Kyuss were a one of a kind. This album, released in 1992, is a starting point for the Stoner Rock/Metal music out there today. Although this did not sell very well, it is widely considered a classic. How does it sound? Let’s find out now.
We begin with Thumb which begins with an eerie keyboard intro that sounds rather spacey. A basic guitar riff then enters, making this sound very suspenseful. Shortly afterwards, the band kicks into a neat groove with fuzzy and distorted guitars reminiscent of Black Sabbath. The singing is awesome here when it kicks in, sounding a lot like Ronnie James Dio. There are many multitracked guitars parts here, which sound really quite awesome. This is really unique music, and sounds fresh and quite amazing. It goes into a slower chugging midsection that is very groove based, before a tripped out guitar solo comes along. At the end, everything speeds up to the finish. Great start to this album.
Next is Green Machine which begins with some super distorted guitar and bass parts, before drums enter and singing comes along for the journey. This is top music, and although is rather heavy, is totally representative of the year 1992. A pop sensibility is throughout this song, very catchy and melodic listening. The guitar solo here is straight out of a heavy Psychedelic Rock book. A great listening experience, this is a great Pop song by Kyuss in the mould of their music.
Molten Universe comes next, and has a great retro feel about it in the intro of the sound. Surprisingly quiet for guitar sounds, this is a great example of where ultra compression on mixing is not necessary. Sounding much more like Black Sabbath than what any of their contemporaries ever did, this is a superb track. The main riff is prominent throughout, and although this is an instrumental, it deserves its place on this album. Short and sweet, this song is less than three minutes long, but so good to hear.
50 Million Year Trip (Downside Up) comes next, with some hi-hats and frenetic guitar playing in the intro, before going straight into a killer Rock/Metal groove. This is superbly amazing, particularly with the alternating sections that change without warning. This is likely a song about a hallucinogenic experience on something like DMT, the most potent Psychedelic drug that is commonly used recreationally. The instrumentation and guitar sounds here are really awesome. The instrumental section in the second half is magical, definitely a stoner session set to music here. A great listening experience, Kyuss are seriously underrated. There is some amazing guitar soloing here. The outro has some intricate guitar riffs being played whilst the other sections fade in and out. Brilliant.
Next is the humourously titled Thong Song which begins with some slow guitar riffs and some intense singing/screaming, before going into a quiet/loud piece that alternates without warning. The singing here has some interesting references to being a bit of a Hippie, which is interesting, especially as the 1960s were long gone by the release of this album. Another excellent piece, this is a great song. Chanting towards the end is really quite cool, and the ending sounds like something The Dead Kennedys would do. Nice.
Following is Apothecaries’ Weight which is a five minute or so instrumental that sounds good. This is perfect music for neo-Hippies out there who continue the pursuit of the original Hippy dream in the 21st century. This instrumental is well thought out and musically fresh and tasty, it sounds very cool and awesome. Some intense drum rolls are in this track, showcasing a band that could make a groove with all the instrumentation at hand. Very relaxed, melodic and pretty, this music is very impressive. Perhaps these guys had a point musically and psychologically, this is awesome stuff to relax to. Great instrumental. Towards the end, the whole thing gets seriously heavy sounding. A sped up drum led outro is here, which is just totally great. Nice effort.
Caterpillar March comes along next, being just under two minutes long, it is a short listen. Some ghostly guitar parts kick off the song, before going into a melodic instrumental that is top notch. Even without lyrics, Kyuss do very well. These guys must have been fairly heavy drug users, there is a sense of Post-Psychedelic Rock on this album. Still, a top listen.
Freedom Run begins with some delayed guitar parts that sound pretty trippy, with some artistic feel to it. Muttered multitracked vocals then enter, which are definitely different. A bass guitar and hi-hats then kick off the next section which occurs with little warning, before a more typical Rock section comes along. Some nice palm muted riffing occurs, and away we go into inner space and outer space. This is really cool, and surprisingly catchy and good quality music. Singing eventually commences, sounding like a mix between Ian Gillian (Deep Purple) and Ronnie James Dio. Once the song section has finished, we go into a great instrumental jam that is somewhat influenced by Hardcore Punk music (who would have guessed that?). It then goes into a super quiet short break, before continuing on in a superb way to the end of the album. A second singing section finishes off this song, a great effort indeed.
Next is 800 which is a short piece that is an instrumental again here. Some thunderous drums and dynamic sounding guitars are here, showcasing again this group’s ability to surprise and amaze you. Great effort, although only one and a half minutes long.
Following is Writhe which is a proper song here, sounding very melodic and heavy. The singing is low key throughout this song, proving that you do not need to scream all the time to make a point. A great dirty and awesome piece, with strange lyrics about losing one’s cowboy boots and other strange subject matter. The whole thing is a superb listen, not bad for a three minute song. These guys knew how to make some good tunes for young people to do drugs to. Excellent song.
Capsized goes for less than a minute, and has some melodic and top acoustic guitar playing. It has both 6 string and 12 string acoustic guitar, showcasing an underrated talent in guitarist Josh Homme. Cool.
Allen’s Wrench comes next and starts off with ultra heavy riffs, before going into a more straightforward Pop/Rock piece in terms of structure. Being less than three minutes long, this is undeniably good, consistent and never dull. A top listen from the band, definitely a highlight of this album. Good neo-Hippie music is right here. The fade out is superb.
The next piece is Mondo Generator which has a really weird intro with some screaming that is electronically distorted over a typical Kyuss piece. These guys must have been jamming 24/7 with each other, the groove is one of the best in rock history. Still, this is a good instrumental that is fitting for the last main track on this album. A great band in many ways, Kyuss sounded amazing here. No wonder bands like Queens Of The Stone Age were directly influenced by this music. The midsection goes into dark and unfamiliar territory for a band like Kyuss. This is a great piece to end this album with. Superb instrumentation and musicianship are here, this is a great way to (mostly) conclude.
The last track Yeah is just that. Four seconds long, and just has one word in it, guess what it is? Pretty random way to finish an album.
This is most definitely an underrated album, being Heavy Metal that 1990s Hippies could dig. It is interesting and varied enough to grab your attention. Many alternative Rock bands took influence from this sort of music, and no surprises there. The whole thing is excellent.