There’s so much right with this album that to pen a truly complete review would be damn near impossible. The tribal rhythms the two percussionists pound out are drumming perfection (in a stroke of production genius, there is a different drummer panned into each headphone). This kind of rhythmic complexity is rarely found in heavy metal. The riffs are outstanding, and this band’s use of tone and timing are unique. There’s swampy sludge, cold hearted thrash, and moving hints of post rock shoegazing deftly mixed throughout the record. Vocalists/Guitarists Laura Pleasants and Philip Cope trade off soaring melodies and throaty bellowing, and the result is usually spine tingling. I can’t say enough about this record. If you are a fan of Mastodon, Baroness, Pelican, Red Sparrowes, The Melvins or sludgy, atmospheric heavy music of any kind, you owe it to yourself to pick this up. I can honestly say I’ve played it at least once all the way through every day for the last month and a half…and I have no plans to stop this routine.
2009 release. Savannah, Georgia’s Kylesa returns with their fourth full-length album, their second as a five-piece with two drummers after 2006’s monumental breakthrough Time Will Fuse Its Worth. Three years later, the band fully utilizes the many percussive possibilities that such a lineup provides, immediately apparent on the blistering opening track, ’Scapegoat’.
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I’m not quite sure how to write a review for this, because this album is difficult to classify. To some extent Kylesa sounds like old school punk music, but there are weird ambient noises similar to a Pink Floyd album thrown in along with some hardcore, speed metal, and sludge elements. However, the most unusual aspect is the presence of not one but two percussionists.
That’s right, there are two drummers in Kylesa, and that is what gives the album a primal atmosphere. I can’t help but feel like the natives are summoning King Kong when I listen to this: especially on tracks like “Unknown Awareness”. That double drum attack is what makes this band stand out to me. Sure they have other solid features, like three vocalists, but the percussion work is outstanding.
I wouldn’t call this the best metal album of 2009, but I’d have absolutly no problem giving it an honorable mention. Go tell your friends, “Kylesa has arrived!”
I stand by my statement. I DARE you to find a heavier sounding album from 2009 than Kylesa’s “Static Tensions.” From beginning to end, you are being bludgeoned by not just a duel drum attack, but relentlessly aggro riffage, fuzzed out bass and twist after sonic twist.
Compared to their past releases, the improvement in sound for the recording of the dual drum attack compared to albums past is utterly staggering. The drum fill that kicks off the opening track, “Scapegoat,” portrays a simple message: what’s coming at you for the next 40 minutes is going to be utterly brutal… and, oh lord, it is! On “Said and Done” the percussion takes over a breakdown that sounds almost like an entire marching band drum corps packed into your stereo. And how about them guitars? “Unknown Awareness” builds up with a pounding primal beat combined with a distorted bass that sounds like bodies falling from the sky. The standard rythm guitars enter while another wails mournfully with a ghostly reverb effect as you feel like you’ve wandered into the wrong part of the rabbit hole.
The vocals being a bit lost in the mix only adds to the mystique of Phil and Laura’s singing. The lyrics are abstract, thought provoking but never pretentious. I think the best lines of the album appear in “Nature’s Predators” when Phil proclaims “This is no love generation/This is the town I live in… We are not victims/We are someone’s enemy.” You wouldn’t expect something so poignant from a band so heavy as this, but they do so without being condecsending or insuting to the listeners intelligence, but say it in a way that any listener of any intelligence can get on a number of levels.
If you want to classify this, I think the closest you could come to is stoner metal or death metal. I’d personally classify it in the “f*** me that’s HEAVY” genre. Overall, one of the years best! BUY!
I enjoy everything this band has done, but this has taken their sound to new heights. This album has it all. It’s heavy, but musical; psychedelic, yet organic and primal. The great music is also complemented by great metal vocals. Laura Pleasants and Phil Cope show great musical maturity with their vocal performances on this album. They know how and when to use certain vocal styles and never take away from the music.
The lyrics are very well done and abstract enough to leave the meanings of the songs up to ones own interpretation.
Basically, I could go on and on about this album. This needs to be heard by fans of heavy music or any kind of music in general.
This album features everything you need if you’re into timeless heavy rock: riffs galore, southern comfort, reefer madness, tribal ecstasy, spaced-out musings,avant-garde tempos and proggy ideas, classic metal, stoner, thrashy metal, a crust-punk edge, a post-punk feeling…plus, the growls/cookiemunster vocals are gone for good, which in my book is a sign of hard-earned maturity.
It sits comfortably in 2009, and will probably top my annual list, but it could’ve blown me away back in ‘87, too…
beautiful, to say the least.
After listening to it a few times, I had to go back in time and play some early Steve Hillage, some Can and some Hawkwind (plus Mammatus, my other contemporary faves!): nothing else was up to standard.
Well done, extremely well done!