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Faithless Rituals


Artist: Sky Valley Mistress
Label: New Heavy Sounds
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 20 March 2020

New Heavy Sounds releases Faithless Rituals by Sky Valley Mistress. This Stoner Rock band, hailing from Lancashire, incorporates Kayley ‘Hell Kitten’ Davies on vocals, Russell ‘Russell’ Russell on bass, Maxwell Harvey William Newsome III on drums, and Sean ‘Starsky’ Berry on guitar. Faithless Rituals is their debut full album, following some demos and a lead-in single called 'Skull Pistons'....

The first track, 'A Faithless Ritual', is a spoken intro by Dave Catching, guitarist with Eagles of Death Metal, Queens of the Stone Age, and co-producer on this album. He tells us “something that you really need to know. I want this to perforate your eardrums, have a fight inside your head and leave a slow burnin’ fire in the darkest part of your mind. That will never let you forget what will be embedded inside you forever.” What a load of pretentious claptrap. Let the band speak for itself, for goodness sake. And speak they do.

'You Got Nothin’' has a Black Sabbath-like sound, with overdriven guitar riff. It has a solid, thick backing. Respite comes in the form of a quiet, retrospective mood, with almost sighed vocals. However, it isn’t long before the wide wall of sound returns. 'Lost in Shock' has a similar structure; it owes everything to the early days of the mighty Black Sabbath. There is much use of guitar foot pedal effects and reverb for the vocals. This is driving Rock and Roll. 'Punk Song' has a heavy, sleazy sound. The riff has Deep Purple’s 'Black Night' to thank. The vocals are sung somewhat lazily until the next session’s full-blown slap around the face. The first hint of a guitar solo comes via a Wah-Wah pedal.

'It Won’t Stop' has more of a Led Zeppelin Blues vibe to it. There’s a light and atmospheric opening with inherent background noises. The only heaviness is briefly at the end of each verse. However, the full band onslaught returns with distorted guitar and more hearty vocals. Did I detect piano in there at the end? The single, 'Skull & Pistons' has all the guts and glory. Surely a fan favourite. There is an official video of this song on YouTube. Check it out. 'She Is So' has a nice rocking beat, thick and heavy in the backdrop. Again, there’s a more subdued section which only seems to exist to shock the listener with the slam-back into the song proper. This one is short and sweet, with a weird keyboard outro.

'Blue Desert' is an opus at nearly 11 minutes long – by far the longest track. This is closer to acoustic than full-blown. It’s a welcome change to hear some guitar on this release which isn’t in-your-face effects-driven. It picks up speed at around 7 minutes, and the drummer is let out of his cage to play. An enjoyable jam which displays individual talents. The most changeable example of music on the album. We finish with 'Electric Church' (the name of a frequented club in Blackpool). This one has energy, power and melody in abundance. A nice closer.

I hope their sophomore release mixes things up a little more, as this is my only reservation. But don’t let this comment stop you seeking-out what is essentially a great debut album.


Ty Power

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