Valley Of The Sun
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Valley Of The Sun


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"Riffage Brokers"

Explosive Rock power trio Blacklight Barbarian releases its debut CD, a five-song self-titled EP, this Friday at Northside's The Comet. The free, 10 p.m. show also features Louisville's ARCH.

Blacklight Barbarian harkens back to the classic Hard Rock of the '70s, when guitar riffs stood as important as any other element of songwriting. With an atomic mid-tempo stomp, eruptive, chunky guitar and open-ended song structures lending a component of Psychedelia, Blacklight Barbarian recalls the anvil-heavy thunder and distant Blues influence of Black Sabbath and Blue Cheer, as well as their newer-breed disciples like Kyuss and Queens of the Stone Age. Some call it "Stoner Rock," but Blacklight's brand -- while still impetuous and elastic -- is more focused, less bleary-eyed than most. For proof (other than the lucid production quality), check no further than the songs' lyrics, which exude a philosophical poeticism beyond the faux-mysticism of some of their peers ("Let's go down that open road/Or where it leads we'll never know" goes the chorus to opening track "Tenth Dimension").

Bookended by the sweeping sounds of ocean waves, Blacklight's debut smokes with unfurled intensity, the vocals (handled by both bassist Chris Owens and guitarist Ryan Ferrier) seethe gritty, gutsy soufulness. Ferrier's guitar tone is rich with vintage, warm distortion, while Owens and drummer Scott Whisner have a mind-meld lock that makes them one of the tightest rhythms sections around.

"Mojave" shows the band's progressive sense of writing, as the cut shifts time signatures and feels throughout, the snaking guitar runs giving way to a broad, brash soundscape during the bridge. No track on the EP clocks in under five minutes, but they never feel meandering or self-indulgent. Closing track "Words and Smoke" nears the 10-minute mark, but there's never a wasted movement; the rumbling mid-section features an extensive bluesy, panning guitar solo, but the band's knack for impulsive playing keeps you riveted. - CityBeat Magazine

"CEA (Cincinnati Entertainment Awards) 2005 Nominees"

Blacklight Barbarian is at the forefront of bands really paying homage to '70s Riff Rock and not watering it down with Metal. In 2005, the trio reemerged from a lineup change stronger than ever, fusing Blues and Pop influences into their heavy Hard Rock blueprint. - CityBeat Magazine

"CEA (Cincinnati Entertainment Awards) 2006 Nominees"

Blacklight Barbarian:
Putting the "power" back in Power Trio, they grind on the same heavy, heavy vibe as bands like Kyuss and their so-called Stoner Rock brethren. The group has played shows with seemingly every band lumped into the unfortunately named genre, but you don't need to be stoned to enjoy the group's intoxicating, riff-roaring debut CD (a self-titled EP) released earlier this year. - CityBeat Magazine

"Riffer Madness"

Blacklight Barbarian returns with heavy, dynamic Blues/Rock

Interview By Ezra Waller

Blacklight Barbarian
It's a steamy summer night, and a sweaty power trio is ripping through one sludgy jam after another. On one wall of their practice space hangs a UV-illuminated picture of two scimitar-wielding ogres looking down on the band with cartoonish ferocity. Like their poster-bound namesakes, Blacklight Barbarian are a reminder of another era, when music wasn't yet synonymous with industry and distortion didn't come from a pedal.
Although they've had a local presence for several years, this is a more compact incarnation of the band. After a string of local gigs with national acts (including Alabama Thunderpussy and Orange Goblin) and invitations to a number of festivals, the sudden exodus of several members forced the band to reinvent itself.

"Our momentum came to a screeching halt when three people walked out," recalls bassist and founder Chris Owens. He was the frontman previously, but out of necessity and desire to get back to playing an instrument he returned to the bass. You'd never guess he had a hiatus, as he pummels the fretboard combining the foundational qualities of bass with the fullness of rhythm guitar.

The other holdover from the old lineup is guitarist Ryan Ferrier, who was introduced to the band by one of the former Barbarians (whom he was simultaneously playing with in Hekura). Ferrier was initially brought on as an extra guitarist, but in the downsized lineup he sings as well. This move was one of the band's major shifts, as Ferrier's voice has a retro, vocal-chord shredding style reminiscent of Blue Cheer or AC/DC. Along with his fuzzed-out riffs scattered with lead licks, this new focus for the band is helping them connect with audiences.

"The old sound was more Cock Rock, chugga-chugga Metal, you know?" relates Ferrier. "We have more Blues influence now, more dynamics and a more fun, catchy sound. All great Rock music has that hooky aspect of Pop. Even Led Zeppelin had it."

The pair carried on with a new drummer for some time, but his recent departure forced them to hunt for a replacement. A mutual friend introduced them to Scott Whisner, a Prog Rock-oriented drummer with whom he'd collaborated in a basement project for almost 10 years. "He knew I wanted to play in a serious band," Whisner says, "so he gave me up." Whisner's technical skill adds yet another new dimension to the band, while their concentration on '70s Blues/Rock is also an education for him. "I was brought up on Prog stuff and drummer-driven Jazz. Lots of Dave Weckl. Everything from the hardest Metal there is to Paula Cole."

The latter comment elicits stares from his bandmates. Finally Owens breaks the ice. "That's OK, man, I have a serious Joni Mitchell fetish."

All three chide one another in a brotherly manner, and this camaraderie is allowing them to progress quickly. Explains Owens, "We have zero drama, everybody is totally in it all the way. A lot of positive things are happening for us now."

They're currently looking forward to a club tour in August. A lot of the dates are tentative, but their excitement is apparent. Ferrier, who does some extended camping every year, is especially enthused. "My whole dream is to combine my two greatest loves, travel and music," he says. "If I'm touring, I'm golden."

This will give the band a chance to seek out more like-minded artists, as there are few in Cincinnati. "We see classified ads for bands wanting to sound like Kyuss, but we never hear them," Owens says. Few speak with more authority on the subject than Owens, who created Blacklight Promotions last year as a vehicle to get more heavy bands to stop in Cincinnati. Through a combination of persistence and congeniality, the venture became successful, eventually booking larger acts such as Mastodon and Clutch.

For now, Blacklight Barbarian is at the forefront of local bands really paying homage to '70s Riff Rock and not watering it down with Metal, even if they do disagree on whether the "Stoner Rock" moniker is applicable.

"Do you think you have to be stoned to enjoy our music?" Owens asks his bandmates, who simply continue to smile coyly. Enough said. - CityBeat Magazine / Ezra Waller

"Blacklight Barbarian"

Band : Blacklight Barbarian

Title album : Blacklight Barbarian

Record label : Self Release

Distribution :

Release date : 2006

Review : CD

The most frequent and relevant reference points I can find for the music on this selftitled CD is Lowrider, Brant Bjork, Dixie Witch, Led Zeppelin and Queens Of The Stoneage . Although this 5-track, but 33 minute CD is not in the same league in terms of quality, their mixing of rich power chords, steady drumming and gritty vocals is coming along real well.

Blacklight Barbarian's music can be summed up by the term riff rock. All the stoner (music, sound, photos of a dodge-van and a desert, lyrics) trademarks are here. The best and longest track “Words and smoke” is entrenched in a bluesy style with strong, catchy grooves especially when Ryan launches himself in very good burning Five Horse Johnson -like psych solos. There are tendencies to jam a little as well as softer moments. Yeah, the 4 other songs “Tenth dimension”, “Mojave”, “Eulogy” and “Angels of the night” are good, but they all follow the same formula and like I've said before, and I'll say it again, it's all been done before, but the cd never got me bored, it has a lot of variety, faster and slower parts alternate each other in a great way. I've got to hand it to unsigned bands like Blacklight Barbarian , who still have the guts to go out and record a solid stoner rock cd in hopes of landing a record deal. My guess would be Smallstone Records or Fuzzorama Records .

Cosmicmasseur. -


Self Titled e.p.
tracks can be heard on our website, reverbnation, myspace and facebook.



Valley Of The Sun formed in may of 2010...with former members of Blacklight Barbarian and Satuday Supercade. The band has been very well recieved in Cincinnati as well as in the online communities, world-wide. Though pigeonhold in the "stonerrock" genre, VOTS branches out in other directions, drawing from the past bands the members have been in as well as the love for music all throughout the spectrum of genres.
VOTS recording their debut e.p. in September of 2010 in Louisville, Ky and have self released it at shows and online.
The band looks forward to touring next year and following up with a full length.