Static Tensions

There’s a handful of ‘popular’ and highly acclaimed bands that I simply don’t get or don’t enjoy. At the top of that list is Mastodon and pretty close to the top is Baroness and fellow Georgia act, Kylesa, its and no surprise considering they have (had) a somewhat similar approach to metal.

While Mastodon have continued to allow Warner Bros to fund their massive use of drugs before they write albums, at least Kylesa have maintained their relatively sludgy, muscular tones, even if a bit mellower than heard on Time Will Fuse its Worth. Still present are the two drummers in Carl McGinley and Eric Hernandez as well female vocal presence of Laura Pleasants-though to be honest I wasn’t completely sure when it was her or guitarist Phillip Cope singing/yelling.

Quite honestly, the album’s first three crumbling, sludgy angular tracks (“Scapegoat”, Insomnia for Months” and “Said and Done”) blew by without me barely noticing – two drums? Maybe-couldn’t really tell other than the last few moments of “Scapegoat”. But then a trio of tracks starting with the fourth track, “Unknown Awareness” something clicks with the material. With “Unknown Awareness” there’s a tribal beat and some shimmering, simple but haunting riffage going on, that make for a pretty engaging listen. The “Running Red” continues the strong run with the album longest and most in depth track; piano intro, semi spoken words, Middle Eastern lurch, sludgy explosions and a tangible atmosphere as opposed to simple noise. Finally, “Nature’s Predators” finishes the album’s mid point trio with actual riffage and a more structure.

Then it’s back to Mastodon -ish, mildly experimental crumbling and caterwauling (which may or may not be a good thing depending on how you view Mastodon) with “Almost Lost” and the restrained “Only One”. Other than the albums four mid section songs, the material comes across more like strung together riffs and ideas rather than actual songs. The two drums are ‘there’ and more prevalent than the last album, but still the band’s set up cries for something far more progressive and challenging, to really utilize those two drummers and Pleasant’s rarely used, but haunting clean voice (“Perception” and moody closer “To Walk Alone”)- which could result in something special.

Of course there’s the great John Baizley art and robust production, and the fact the new Mastodon is really a huge acid trip with riffs, so feel free to ignore my idiotic opinion and check Kylesa out for yourself, I’m sure a lot of people will appreciate them more than I do.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
March 27th, 2009


  1. Commented by: gabaghoul

    the olive that you’re eating may be someone else’s cherry

  2. Commented by: Erik Thomas

    Good analogy – except i like olives and cherrys

  3. Commented by: Grist

    I for one am just glad that Baizley seems to be over the “weird ladies with things going through their cheeks” kick he was on for a while.

  4. Commented by: Nick A.

    Yeah, they’re definitely no melodic hardcore with ‘intelligent christian themes’. Better just stick with the showdown, or whatever it was.

  5. Commented by: Nick Taxidermy

    damn, Nick.

  6. Commented by: jk666

    I like how the two drummers are spaced on this record. They’re so far left and right that they almost sound like they’re behind you.

  7. Commented by: vegard

    i would LOVE to see this band live, i’m sure it sounds huge with the two drummers. not so much on the album, as already noted…

  8. Commented by: elguerosinfe


    Mastodon is playing with Kylesa in SF in April. I’ve got an extra ticket – want to come to the show?

  9. Commented by: Erik Thomas

    LOL-ya know-ive seen Mastodon once so I think im good.

  10. Commented by: gabaghoul

    I don’t hear how two drummers really makes this that special, but I am still digging the hell out of this lately. been spinning it more than Crack the Skye, that’s for sure.

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