Sky Valley Mistress – “Faithless Rituals” (New Heavy Sounds / Cargo Records)
“..so the rest of the album is just gonna be all these fuck ups in a row right?..”, so speaketh Dave Catching, guitarist with Eagles Of Death Metal and Queens Of The Stone Age, and also co-producer of “Faithless Rituals”, the long awaited debut from British heavy stoner rockers Sky Valley Mistress. Hailing from the unlikely northern mill town of Blackburn, this feisty quartet fronted by Kayley ‘Hell Kitten’ Davies have already turned heads at Download, Camden Rocks and Sound City, so it wouldn’t be long before Catching heard the buzz, and liking it, invited them to the sunnier environs of his Rancho de la Luna studio in California. “Faithless Rituals” was recorded over the course of 10 days during which time the band were also joined by Bingo (Mojave Lords), Chris Goss (Masters of Reality), Peaches and Arctic Monkeys, all keen to sample the rock n roll that Catching assured would ‘…puncture your heart, bleed through your body and electrify your soul…’. And man, Catching wasn’t kidding. While rooted in the raucous riot incited by the MC5 and charged by the immense vocal power of Janis Joplin, Sky Valley Mistress have soaked up the desert rock of the 90s along with tinges of psychedelia to bring their own huge grooves into the here and now. And make no mistake, this is heavy – and loud!!! Written after being in a car crash and looking into the eyes of strangers trying to rescue her, Kayley’s sultry lines of being hit ‘..with a feeling of a 10 ton freight train..’ are matched by the thick n fuzzy guitar of Sean ‘Starsky’ Berry and bombarded by the booming bass of Russell (no surname apparently!) and the colossal pounding drum work of Maxwell Harvey William Newsome III (too many names!) – complete with cowbell – on this rockin’ number that doesn’t let up with its ballsy hooks and catchy twists while still conveying the emotion through its dramatic performance. Slowing down but getting even heavier but sultry on ‘Punk Song’ as Kayley croons ‘.. I’m a misfit baby, that just won’t quit..’, the feedback induced chorus is nothing short of an absolute stonker especially when her power larynx sounds out – needing no further explanation as to why she’s called ‘Hell Kitten’! Ending in the helter skelter of ‘Electric Church’ with its frayed feedback riffs and hammering rhythm, it’s a wild punk rock n roll ride of intense, read blooded lead breaks belted out with incredible energy (including a crazed piano!) contrasted by the huge, sensually charged atmosphere of Kayley’s moving vocals, and ending spectacularly in a frenzy of rough hewn bass, smashing drums and one rollacoasting mutha of a guitar on feedback overload! Although still youthful being in their mid 20s, the sterling musicianship matched with rich material exuding class in every regard is why everyone’s talking about Sky Valley Mistress.