In the Tail of a Comet (Man’s Ruin)
by Brian Varney
Kyuss are The Velvet Underground. I don’t mean they sound like them; I’m talking about that famous quote attributed to Brian Eno, I think, on the liner notes of the live ’69 album, the line where he says “only a thousand people bought a Velvet Underground album, but they all formed their own bands.” This is the influence Kyuss has had upon this generation of rock fans. Underexposed and underappreciated in their time, their name is now spoken with a reverence reserved for the greats, and their sound is the obvious influence for many a so-called “stoner” band. If you’re going to get anywhere near this music, you’ll feel Kyuss’ breath on your neck.
Perhaps nowhere else is their influence more obvious than upon Dozer. Although Kyuss is never far from any stoner band, they’re practically standing in the same room with Dozer. Perhaps no other band wants so badly to sound like Kyuss and is willing to die trying. Of course, they don’t succeed. Many of the base elements are there in quantity, but the one thing seemingly beyond Dozer’s grasp is the majestic liquidity of the Kyuss sound, the rhythmic thrust which pushed the band not only along, but also up, so they seemed to be hovering, not touching the earth. Perhaps this was just the intercession of grace. In fact, if I were so inclined, I’d call Dozer an earthbound Kyuss; what Kyuss would’ve sounded like had they not been touched by greatness.
That’s not to say that Dozer is bad; far from it. In fact, I rather enjoy this record. Gritty and primitive, their songs aim for the heavens while dragging themselves through the dirt. They’ve got great slabs of fuzzy riff thunder and a stupendous singer whose hard, physical phrasing brings John Garcia to mind even though they don’t sound much alike. And, most importantly, they’ve got that thud. For it is the thud which will save us all.
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