Stoner rock is alive and well. That sub genre of 60’s psychedelia-soaked, Black Sabbath worshiping, bong loading, fuzzed out, rock n’ roll did not fade off into the Western skies as the sun was setting on bands like Kyuss and Nebula. Forget for a moment that some of the genres masters, such as Fu Manchu and the Kyuss occupied Vista Chino, are still making quality music. There is a new generation of bands taking the heaviness of metal and successfully combining it with the bravado of classic, ballsy, American rock. Cincinnati’s Valley Of The Sun are quickly positioning themselves as one of the forerunners of this new stoner rock movement.
Go ahead and Google the term, ‘valley of the sun’. The first entry that comes up is a Wikipedia page for the city of Phoenix, Arizona. The oasis in the Southwestern deserts carries the same nickname as this band’s moniker. It’s a fitting comparison, as Valley Of The Sun’s debut full-length, Electric Talons of the Thunderhawk, is a brew that is simmering with many of the same elements that made the “Desert Rock” scene of Southern California so potent. It’s guitar-driven rock, supplemented with soaring, robust vocals, a battering rhythm section, and enough melody to get heads bobbing and joints passing. It conjures up similar visions of cool desert nights with the sun setting over a canvas of cactus and mystical, Earthen formations that the forefathers of the stoner rock genre perfected.
For thousands of years shamans around the world would utilize the deserts to enact their various spiritual quests. The visions invoked by those great spiritual warriors were often shared for the greater good of the tribe. Whether Valley Of The Sun partook in such lengthy measures to achieve their sound is up for discussion. What’s not is their ability to take their own spiritual vision of what heavy rock music should sound like and successfully sharing it with the rest of their tribe. For those who think the stoner rock path grew cold, rest assured that artists like Valley Of The Sun are still forging ahead, taking the path to new and inventive heights.
Electric Talons of the Thunderhawk is out on June 10 via Fuzzorama Records. You can check out the first single, “Gunslinger” over at the Valley Of The Sun Facebook page.