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VALIS : Vast Active Living Intelligence System

VALIS is an acronym for Vast Active Living Intelligence System, and was also the name of one of Philip K. Dick's last books, a schizophrenic view on religion and the battle of good ("Valis") vs. evil. It's also the name of a post-grunge supergroup of sorts which includes Van Conner (Screaming Trees), brother Patrick (Kitty Kitty, Kettitas), and Kurt Danielson (TAD), along with Sean Hollister (Screaming Trees) and synthesist and producer Wesley Weresch.

Short and sweet: VALIS' music is like a stoned-out mix of Screaming Trees, Hawkwind, and 'Sabbath. And that's about as stoned as they come. 'Indian Giver' starts out with heavy guitar riffing and Van and Patrick's clean harmonies; he even throws in a few phrases that sound like Ozzy's "try ie out" from 'Sweet Leaf'. 'Universe' sounds like a brain-melting reworking of Hawkwind's classic 'Master of the Universe'. 'Pass Me By' has weird sound effects and a melodic descending guitar riff combined with distorted vocals that unexpectedly sound like a Dinosaur, Jr. outtake, while 'All Phase' boasts vocals reminiscent of former 'Trees bandmate Mark Lanegan.

In my book all of these influences add up to infinite credibility, 'cause I've been a fan of all these bands for years. But of course, VALIS goes far beyond their influences; they've developed an individualistic and remarkably mature sound in a very short time. Sure, the vocals seem a bit stretched at times, but more often than not they sound great, and when you're presented with music of this quality you run with it; no bitching allowed. Spacerock heads will love VALIS, but fans of Nebula or even Queens of the Stone Age will find a lot to chew on as well. Nice effort, gentlemen.

Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
1. Indian Giver
2. Transmitter
3. Universe
4. Pass Me By
5. Mealworm
6. Yakima Preacher
7. Kill the Ones You Love
8. Universe 2
9. All Phase
10. Paper Doll
11. Love Loader
12. Pilots House

Duration : Approx. 47 minutes.

Visit the VALIS bandpage.

Reviewed on ??-??-???? by Kevin McHugh
Forever Autumn
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