Cincinnati’s finest desert rock outfit, Valley of the Sun, is back with their second album, following their solid 2014 debut Electric Talons of the Thunderhawk. Ohio might not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of heavy desert grooves—hell, the band named itself after Phoenix, AZ—but these guys sure know how to get ‘r done.
Right from the opening riff, “Eternal Forever” is chock-a-block full of Swedish stoner grooves that bring their label brothers Truckfighters to mind. The soaring vocals have a touch of Garcia to ‘em (albeit in a deeper register), as the band drives on like a desert cruiser through Sky Valley. “BTV” kicks up the pace and amps up the Kyuss another notch, a great track with a heavy Blues for the Red Sun influence.
“Speaketh” takes things in a different direction, a slow, heavy chugger with some Soundgarden style vocals. But man, the riffs are still great—clean, bright and lightly distorted, providing the backbone for an uplifting chorus. “Land of Fools” sounds a lot like latter-day QOTSA (with just a touch of c-c-c-c-c-cocaine), while “Breathe the Earth” contains some of the heaviest, headbangable desert-rock riffs this side of Fu Manchu. Then they pick up the pace with “The Hunt,” two-and-half minutes of stoner punk fury that makes The Shrine sound like a buncha unkempt skateboarders (and I really, really like The Shrine).
Man, their first record was good ‘n all, but Volume Rock is a huge step forward. This band belongs on rock ‘n roll radio and hockey-rink tours with Monster Truck…but will probably hafta settle for playing festivals in Europe. Still, I might be compelled to catch ‘em down in Cleveland one of these days. Don’t sleep on this!