Death Valley High
Everybody experiences a rebirth at some point. It can be brutal, or it can be beautiful. It depends on how ready you are for that moment of change and evolution. Death Valley High definitely was prepared and willing. That brings us to their new album for minus HEAD Records the appropriately titled, POSITIVE EUTH. Following up their Survival Program EP released in honor of Doomsday, it’s not simply a rebirth for the San Francisco quartet—Reyka Osburn, Adam Bannister, Chris Sanders, and Huffy Hafera—though, its evolutionary implications are much larger.
“POSITIVE EUTH is the rebirth or the reawakening,” affirms Reyka. “It’s all about shedding dead layers and limbs, and re-animating. We’ve evolved in the three most important areas as musicians, songwriters, and drinkers. We survived doomsday to be positively undead.”
At the same time, Death Valley High has never sounded so utterly alive. The band came together in 2010 and introduced the world to their deadly undead rock with their debut album. Previously, Reyka had sung for Northern California stalwarts Tinfed as well as Ghostride—a collaboration with Will Haven members—while Adam, Chris, and Huffy boasted their own considerable experience in the local scene. Together, they hit the road for two national tours and dropped the acclaimed 2011’s Doom, In Full Bloom. They scored an Independent Music Award in the category of “Best Rock Song” for “Multiply” from 2011’s Doom, In Full Bloom.
In August 2012, they retreated to Fantasy Studios with engineer Jesse Hart Nichols [The Stooges, Ty Segal] to begin work on POSITIVE EUTH. They tapped into a raw energy and honed it into a sweetly sinister sound with mixing by Eric Stenman [Thrice, Deftones] and mastering courtesy of Brian Gardener [Queens of the Stone Age, Dr. Dre]. As a result, their signature style expands into even deadlier and more dynamic territory.
“The sound is heavy and built on pace. It’s chewed-up, suspenseful, and anxious,” Reyka goes on. “This album pulls together ideas from the first and second records, but it clearly defines us. The ideology of this album goes to extremes of what we’ve tried to achieve before. It’s about leaving you white-knuckled.”
That’s the feeling that arises from the first single “How2Kill”. The song slips from ominous electronic blips into a skittering verse before crashing with a swaggering, soaring rock ‘n’ roll refrain. “It’s about killing your fears,” the singer reveals. “You want to conquer that shadow in the closet. The spin of the story is that we’re the four 21st Cemetery Boys to help with that conflict.”
Elsewhere, the raging heavy opener “Bath Salt Party” incorporates everybody’s two favorite things. He says, “It simply states that we will always return to sex and death. Biblically speaking, when we die, our bodies return to salt. Sexually speaking, our skin and sweat are salty.”
Then, there’s their take on a love song, “Cinéma Vérité.” “It’s a style of filmmaking where the viewer is always aware of the camera,” he explains. “In the song, there are two people that have set the end of the world in motion. They’re running and scared, but somehow they feel safe as long as their camera is capturing it all.”
You’re not going to want to turn away from POSITIVE EUTH or Death Valley High either. The camera is on them now, and it’s rolling. “We want listeners to know that they don’t have to feel like folk, indie, or pop music is the instant go-to. We want to bridge like-minded fans and bands to stand up for all sorts of music with teeth. We want to move from an uncategorized rock status into an uncategorized movement.”