The second studio album by American band Kyuss, Blues for The Red Sun, released in 1992, was described as one of the most innovative records of the year
The birth of a new genre: the stoner rock
The project followed a classic hard-rock debut that didn’t sell well nor was appreciated by the critics. This second album sees the group taking a drastic shift towards a more aggressive and heavy sound.
Profound distortions obtained through the use of bass amps instead of regular guitar ones, harsh vocals, and well-balanced injections of psychedelic drifts in the compositions of the songs. The group was therefore able to (re)create a new genre: stoner rock. A name connected to the drugs-induced flavor that the pieces are able to communicate to the listener; a desertic rock subgenre destined to know its fame in the years that followed.
It’s also worth mentioning that guitarist Josh Homme. He would later become famous in mainstream rock quarters with his new project Queens of the Stone Age.
The Kyuss landscapes between heaviness and experimentation
After the gloomy introduction provided by Thumb, things set off on track two with Green Machine. A metal-oriented banger that shows a powerful riff enhanced by the bass boost and some of the most violent drum works of the 90s. On top of this, the “melodic” chorus helped the song reach a certain popularity in the musical underground. After that, the listener finds Molten Universe, inspired by the first doom experimentations of Black Sabbath in the early ’70s.
Then comes 50 Million Year Trip, the peak of the record. It’s one of the most entrancing experiments of songwriting in the genre. An ultra-heavy piece of music introduced by a distorted bass evolves in a cathartic chorus only to end up in a never-ending psychedelic coda.
The rest of the album alternates slow experimental metal songs (Caterpillar March, Writhe) to more messed-up bluesy ones (Thong, Apothecaries Weight).
Blues for The Red Sun isn’t the most eclectic album of its decade, but it’s worthy of a place of honor among the essentials because it gave birth to the new subgenre of stoner rock.