Usx - The Valley Path
An ambition turned into massive reality, "The Valley Path" is a single forty minute track conceived and planned before the actual recording. USX, veteran psych-drone band led by Nate Hall, vocalist/guitarist and principal writer of the piece, have has success before. Their debut, "Run Thick In the Night," was a heavy, and critical, success. Here the band takes a risk for the sake of their vision, for which they ought to be given credit. While not a total triumph, this sure is a worthy testament to that vision and that risk.
While not delivered in this order, the piece does follow a more or less organized pattern of silences, echoes, repetitive hypnotic riffs, dramatic solos, harsh solos, and with drumming that serves as anchor and pulse. Hall's guitar gives weight to and sometimes saves his often muddy vocals. Some moments are more effective than others, but seen as one piece, the song works because of its deliberate and heartfelt execution. That would mean nothing if it didn't work as a rock song, and it does.
Hall had some interesting things to say about "The Valley Path" in the Neurot press release, calling the songs of USX their center, their home:
"A song does not have to be a part of a collection. It is more important for music to take the path it chooses, and an artist must be willing to let this happen. 'The Valley Path' is one song. And a song is a thing that changes."
That sense of emotional investment is evident in the twists, turns, roars and murmers of "The Valley Path." A single-track release is fraught with dangers, most principally the risk of being pretentious and boring. But USX are neither, and their vision both rocks and holds its poise all the way through.
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