Peace review by Vista Chino

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  • Released: Sep 3, 2013
  • Sound: 9
  • Lyrics: 10
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9.3 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.7 (20 votes)
Vista Chino: Peace
2

Sound — 9
"Peace" is apparently the debut album from Palm Beach rockers Vista Chino. I say apparently, because Vista Chino is actually Kyuss Lives!, who in turn are really '90s stoner rock behemoths Kyuss. Well, Kyuss without Josh Homme anyway, who nixed the reunion and dropped a lawsuit on his former bandmates which resulted in them being unable to use their old name. Its a strange situation for messrs John Garcia and Brant Bjork (alongside newcomer guitarist Bruno Fevery) to find themselves in, especially as Peace often feels like a Kyuss album in all but name. The record effectively picks up from where "...And the Circus Leaves Town," Kyuss' 1995 swan song left off. By way of unrelenting balls-to-the-wall riff-fest "Dragona Dragona," the spaced-out free form jam segments of the aptly titled "Planets" and the epic (if bizarrely named) 13 minute album closer "Acidize The Gambling Moose," Vista Chino unashamedly bring the hallmarks of the classic Kyuss sound to the table. The album is pure, old-school stoner; as sludgy as the Louisiana Bayou, heavy as the hammer of mighty Thor and with enough melodic flourishes to keep it away from dirge territory. Brant Bjork, evidently elated to be back behind the kit, is hitting as hard and grooving loose, with Mike Dean doing a more than capable job of rounding out the rhythm section in place of Nick Oliveri (who supposedly retains "honorary membership" in the band, in spite of his absence from this record). In replacing Josh Homme, Bruno Fevery has some pretty big boots to fill. His playing will undoubtedly be the most scrutinized aspect of the record by the Kyuss faithful. Yet, he undertakes riffing duties with fuzz-soaked aplomb, fitting into the desert rock vibe with a seeming effortless proficiency. Vista Chino's apparent willingness to return to Kyuss territory could have led to them treading over old ground. Yet, the palpable enthusiasm, stellar playing and accomplished song craft that are present throughout the record means that "Peace" feels as fresh today as it undoubtedly would have done if released eighteen years ago.

Lyrics — 10
One of the major reasons that Vista Chino manages to sound so vital on this latest release is the seemingly age defying vocals of John Garcia. Time has been a harsh mistress on the lungs of many a hard rock singer. But, at 42, Garcia still manages to belt it with a vigor and intensity usually reserved for men half his age. His distinctive snarl remains as powerful as it ever was and on tracks like "Sweet Remain," his vocal range somehow manages to soar above his efforts from Kyuss' heyday. Part of Garcia's gift is a vocalist is his ability to effortlessly lock into the music, and his synchronicity with Bjork, Dean and Fevery is apparent throughout "Peace." He knows exactly when to hold-off and when to spit the words out hell for leather.

Overall Impression — 9
Vista Chino may have had to drop their former monicker before they could release "Peace," but the album stands as proof to the claim that their old name had made. Much as Josh Homme might protest it, Kyuss does indeed live and can still throw down with the best of them. Confident, crushing, and already classic sounding, this might just be the comeback of the year.

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17 comments sorted by best / new / date

    BoobuleeGroovin
    Fingers crossed on this one! But from what I've heard so far not really diggin the guitar work here, rhythm or leads. Reminds me of Fumanchu with Bjork and Garcia on it. Anticipating the sophomore release already lol
    KerNeL_KLuTcH
    the dude who plays guitar was in a Kyuss cover band that's how he got the gig.
    BoobuleeGroovin
    Damn seriously, you'd think these guys had enough clout to hold auditions instead of a "he'll do" kind of deal. Vista Chino needs some new flavors in the mix! not stale cover band material. No disrespect to the new guitarist, hoping to see his flair grow. Someone dump some Sriracha sauce on Bruno's face so he can ****in kick out some desert flavor jams!
    cnavatier
    Bruno was in "John Garcia plays Kyuss". Yes, that was a cover band, but Garcia was in it. Before that he was in an original band from Belgium.
    SleepFan
    I'm digging everything I've heard thus far. Also, if they sound like Fu Manchu is your complaint/comment, I'm fine with that. The guitarist's name is Bruno Fevery by the way. I think he does a good job gettin' that old Josh Homme sound, the live videos of Kyuss Lives stuff sounded amazing.
    cnavatier
    I was totally blown away with the production of the album, Garcia's vocals, Brant's drumming. One of the best 90's comeback albums of late that I've heard. I was worried because I loved Kyuss, but after one listen, the worry became excitement.
    Lugas
    The production left me kind of disappointed at some points. I wouldnt say its bad, but Johns vocals in Dargona Dragona are poorly recorded. Too much distortion...or how to put it. Overall a great album. Im so damn glad I bought it on vinyl!
    owen556
    I felt a little disapointed with the album even though I really loved it and only because they didn't change their sound much. I love the return to the roots, but they've been emulating the Kyuss sound in many other bands such as Slo Burn, Unida, and Hermano. In a sense, its more of the same and less of a return to their roots even if they've done it well, which they most certainly have. The songs are simple yet catchy, groovy, and deliciously trippy (yes that is a great way to describe stoner rock riffs). Having given the songs some time to grow on me, I would give this album an 8 out of 10 hailing it as their strongest output since Garcia's days in Kyuss. Already anticipating their second release.
    KerNeL_KLuTcH
    Does anyone know if this is gonna be sold by big box stores like Best Buy or FYE, cause I don't want to have to order it online, and I won't be near and mom & pop record shops when it comes out.
    SleepFan
    My best buy has it to order online, they also have store pick-up, don't know if that helps, man. Check around hope you find it. TO EVERYONE, the whole album can be streamed at SPIN.com
    Unf
    I don't know, I really like Kyuss, Slo Burn , Qotsa , BB solo records, etc , but to me Vista Chino isn't as good, and definitely has nothing to do with Kyuss musically, besides garcias vocals. Guitar tone is different on live sets and album , and really sounds like average stoner band with Big Muff ,that you found on youtube by clicking on right column links. Besides sound, Homme riffs and solos were really huge part of Kyuss music. On "Peace" guitar work is different. And most important, Kyuss united their sound with cool rock hooks , and I failed to find something catchy on this record. I don't want to say it's a bad album , but to me it's nowhere near their previous albums/bands.
    agroban
    I really dig this album! Personally, I think it's better than the new QotSA album, "Like Clockwork."
    mhutchz
    I love Kyuss, especially the last 2 albums. Also love QOTSA especially the 1st 3 albums. I was ready to hate this. But it's love at first listen. It's a keeper. Great!
    owen556
    Also, the entire album besides the bonus tracks are available on Grooveshark!