Financial politics once again ruins a great band. In this case, it's the greatest band of the stoner rock genre, Kyuss. With heated debates about publishing and the payments from such things, Kyuss split up. Part of them became Queens Of The Stone Age, and other parts had various titles like Sloburn, Hermano and, eventually, Kyuss Lives. That wasn't allowed due to more legal bullshit, so Kyuss Lives became Vista Chino. To be blunt about it, I'm still personally pissed off at all these guys for ruining a band I've enjoyed throughout my life as much as any. BLUES FOR THE RED SUN is about as good of a rock album has ever been recorded in my eyes; it never leaves my iPod or goes unattended too long. I've never dug Queens Of The Stone Age much, and to be honest, really wasn't overwhelmed by Hermano or Sloburn either. In short, these guys legal bullshit killed what I, personally, was digging.
Out of nowhere though comes Vista Chino. To say they haven't clawed all the way back would be a lie. In short, Vista Chino is THE definitive album of this genre for 2013, and may just be the very best thing any of these guys have recorded in their entire careers. PEACE not only finds that killer, dirty groove that drives this kind of music, but the vibe is so much more real and believable than anything I've heard this year other than Scorpion Child. Certainly, the old Kyuss spirit is alive and very, very well. Leading the charge is frontman John Garcia. While he's one of the most recognizable singers in stoner rock history, his sound here is richer than on his last few bands. Songs like "As You Wish" have him leading a driving, charging number with more soul than he's exhibited in years. He sounds great on PEACE, but is far from the only great performer here.
In fact, the star performer of PEACE has got to be Bruno Fevery on guitar. This guy is every bit the player that his predecessor in Kyuss was, and to be honest has far more flavor in his work than even the original band did. His riffs on songs like "Dargona Dragona" are simply gigantic, while his fuzzed out soloing on songs like "Planets 1 & 2" will have your head banging and the words "fuck yeah" being whispered if you are listening through headphones at work. He's complimented nicely by longtime drumming legend Brant Bjork, whose rhythmic power puts each song on cruise control as Fevery rocks and Garcia howls. Listening to songs like "Adara", you realize that these guys are as strong, or may just be even stronger, than they ever were before.
PITRIFF RATING - 98/100 - Hail the Chino! Pack the bowl tightly. Get the lighter ready. Take yourself on that trip into stoned enlightenment. PEACE is as good as it gets, folks. There won't be a better stoner metal album than this released this year. I'd argue that this one is in legendary status of the entire genre's history. Smart, fun, powerful and as core to the true sound and tradition of the style, PEACE flat out brings it. You won't be sorry if you buy this one!