Valley of the Sun, Volume Rock - Album Review
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Cincinnati, Ohio’s Valley of the Sun (VOTS) have been releasing the highest caliber of fuzzy, desert cruising, stoner rock since their first EP in 2011. Their 2016 effort, “Volume Rock”, combines all their finest qualities and slams on the gas pedal. This album is full of catchy, anthemic rock in the best kind of way and yet never sacrifices a single inch of quality.
Valley of the Sun possess all the elements to make a killer stoner rock album, but they continue to do more. On the surface, they appear to easily create track after track, album after album of “cruising through the desert” style of rock, but again prove they are more. There is a deepness and wisdom within their words. Instead of wandering the Southern California desert, they unearth ancient Egyptian sand with songs like, “Breathe the Earth” and “Speaketh the Shaman”, and they do it so damn well.
Album Facts:Genre: Hard Rock, Stoner Rock
Released By: Fuzzorama Records
Year Released: 2016
Length of Album: 43:37
Number of Tracks: 9
- Eternal Forever 4:48
- Wants and Needs 3:47
- The Hunt 2:19
- Land of Fools 5:45
- I Breathe the Earth 5:01
- Speaketh the Shaman 5:18
- Beneath the Veil 2:57
- Solstice 4:14
- Empty Visions 5:39
Ryan Ferrier – Guitar, Vocals
Chris Sweeney – Bass, Keyboards
Josh Pilot – Guitar
Lex Vegas – Drums
Eternal Forever –
“Eternal Forever” is a ripper! What a great way to lead off an album entitled, “Volume Rock”. This track chugs and gallops through monstrous riffs with a guitar solo before hitting the epic chorus. Ryan Ferrier sounds amazing, showing off his vocal abilities in this track. On the surface, “Eternal Forever” might seem like a simple stoner rock song, but looking at the lyrics proves otherwise.
“World has gone way, I’m alone. Feel the moments stray. We’re all of that which truly lives. We’ve bargained for one chance at peace, eternal.”
As you’ll notice throughout this album, the band has masterfully crafted an experience through heartfelt stories and lyrics, in an energetic, desert rock package.
Wants and Needs -
“Wants and Needs” continues with a similar pace, but Ferrier’s vocals are a bit more subdued. This track exemplifies Valley of the Sun’s ability to do several different things all within the VOTS wheelhouse. Ryan Ferrier isn’t showing off, but the vocals don’t lose a step at all, and Josh Pilot rips through a guitar solo.
The Hunt -
The shortest track on the album, yet another ripper. Valley of the Sun can accomplish a lot in a little bit of time. Plenty of “Ooh’s” and “Yeah’s” from Ferrier over the fuzzy, driving guitar work.
Land of Fools -
“Land of Fools” could probably be a grunge rock song in the best kind of way. It’s got an infectious guitar riff and one of the most memorable lines in the entire album.
“I travelled across the land of fools, only to find that I was the king.”
The track begins with a cleaner guitar strum, but eventually makes its way into the familiar Valley of the Sun driving fuzz through the “chorus”, and by chorus, I mean “Oh’s” and “Ah’s”, which are fantastic.
I Breathe the Earth -
One of my favorite tracks on the album. It begins with a thumping bass line, and a nice little guitar riff that slowly builds until it drops into an almost Alice in Chains-like vibe. This song doesn’t stop there! “I Breathe the Earth” continues with the signature VOTS sound, combining elements of grunge, desert, and stoner rock.
Speaketh the Shaman -
VOTS imparts some wisdom, without losing a single step with “Speaketh the Shaman”.
“Only reason is to be. Bend a knee. Unto the Earth and swear to set my spirit free.”
They sing while the heavy riffs relentlessly drive you into the dirt. This track stands out, maybe more for the change of pace than anything.
Beneath the Veil -
Another absolute ripper! Ferrier is again showing his range, especially after a track like “Speaketh the Shaman”. The entire band is on point here. Furious drums and ripping guitars masterfully complimenting the vocal styles through this beast.
If I didn’t know any better, this could almost pass as a top notch 80’s hair metal anthem. VOTS is able to take their catchiness and swagger and repackage it in this fuzzy, stoner rock way like no one else.
Empty Visions -
Valley of the Sun close this album with this absolute monster of a track. It has everything you could want. Ferrier again flexes, and the band creates an incredibly infectious environment for him to strut.
“Volume Rock” combines all the greatest elements of stoner rock. Exemplary vocals, driving riffs, pounding drums, exceptional songwriting, and most importantly, an album you can sincerely enjoy forever. This album enforces why I enjoy the genre. It’s an album to drive through the desert with the top down and half-baked, blast with your friends while drinking beer, and preferably to listen to live in concert. This album, and this band… IS “Volume Rock”.
Reviewed by: Ryan Foster, Slightly Fuzzed.