Review: Deep Valley Blues ‘III’
First off, let me start by saying the album cover for III by Deep Valley Blues is amazing. I love the solid white background with the dark skull artwork peeking through, I’d definitely hang that vinyl on my wall. Now the music that’s held inside is just as dark and incredible as the artwork. I would need to take the vinyl out of the sleeve before hanging it up so I could listen frequently.
Deep Valley Blues doesn’t hide anything with their band name. You’re getting some deep valley blues for sure. The four-piece from Catanzaro, Italy states on their Bandcamp page ‘100% Rock Stoner seasoned with anger and sweat.’ That definitely sums up what you’re about to hear on this album.
Epitaph (Noir Ballad) starts this album off with the deep dirty grit you’d expect from 100% stoner rock. It’s a fuzz-fueled instrumental setting the scene for the remaining ten songs. Bronco Buster comes crashing in at number two and is a high energy in-your-face song that doesn’t let up for the full near four-minute run time. The growling vocals bring the heaviness to a new level from the introduction. There are two vocalists singing slightly off time from each other creating a well needed chaos to this already out of control song.
Malley O’Mucy takes this back a notch, only one notch but still the chaos has been controlled for a short time. The opening bass riff is just as nasty sounding as Buddy Guy’s Baby Please Don’t Leave Me. I only wish it would last longer so you can enjoy that awesome riff and tone a little bit more. Doom metal has spoiled me with twenty-plus minute songs as these five-minute songs go by in a blink of an eye. Shortly after the epic bass intro, the rest of the band joins in and keep that dark vibe going perfectly. As the vocals start, I get an Orange Goblin meets Dropkick Murphys and I didn’t realize how bad I needed that combo.
Smokey Mountain Woods immediately caught my attention when looking at the tracklist. I thought maybe this band was local to me since I live in the Smoky Mountains, but they’re much farther away, either way this song is great. Packed with speedy fuzz riffs, pummeling drums, powerful low-end and distorted vocals, it definitely carries the weight of those Smoky Mountains.
Phobos follows suit to Smokey Mountain Woods with a similar feel and is immediately followed by a breather with a song called Talisman. This two-minute interlude is sublime and holds one of the best guitar tones I’ve heard on the album. The ringing soulful solo is outstanding, starting off slower with a graceful crescendo that leads into the heaviest of riffs beginning the next track.
They definitely have an Orange Goblin vibe but mixing it with various genres has made this a very interesting album…
BOOM. The bass drum echoes through the speakers as the crackling riff begins playing. Pills Of Darkness reaches new depths of heavy on this album. The intense solo to close out the song is fast while maintaining clarity and gets your blood pumping. A song that should definitely show up on their setlist.
Enter my favorite song on the album. Maschere slows things down, but not by much. This song is sung almost entirely in Italian (I assume?), I love it and makes it that much more mysterious and epic. The greatest part is the drum solo. Yes! A drum solo, you don’t get those too often but this one is faultless. The guitars chime in with short distorted chords adding more details each time. The song then concludes with a spoken word outro over the music. A very cool ending.
Deep Valley Blues isn’t done yet and with Sun Of The Dead they show us how crazy they can be. The increased speed reminds me more of a punk song and the added vocals are like if Ben Ward joined Minor Threat. They definitely have an Orange Goblin vibe but mixing it with various genres has made this a very interesting album.
I’m a big Pearl Jam fan and one aspect of that band I like is when they pull out a reprise. For example, Wasted (Reprise) is better than the original, Life Wasted, in my opinion. Deep Valley Blues does the same with Epitaph (Reprise) and I love it. A short one-and-a-half-minute piece that seems to conclude Epitaph (Noir Ballad) rather than replay the song with minor changes. Both songs I feel are the bookends of an adventurous novel written between.
We’re not quite done yet though. This last song I feel is a bonus or hidden song. The nice part of this is you don’t have to listen to ten minutes of silence just to find the hidden gem at the end. Mum Darkwood is a small instrumental piece. Small as in length and not importance because it’s incredible. It’s acoustic with a dark country vibe and completely different than the rest of the album. I assume it holds sentimental value to the band based on the title, but I hope it’s a precursor for where the band may be heading.
Deep Valley Blues III is a hard rocking album. If you want something to jam out to in the car to get you pumped up for the mundane job you’re heading to, this is it. If you want to attend a balls to the wall gig, this is your band. If you want to sit back and truly listen to all the nuances the band provides on this album, again, this is it. Deep Valley Blues can appeal to a wide-ranging audience and that’s something difficult to pull off these days. Check them out.
Label: The Swamp Records
Band Links: Facebook | Bandcamp | Instagram
Scribed by: Josh Schneider