Kylesa are, along with such other psychedelic sludgy metal counterparts as Mastodon, Baroness, Black Tusk and Zoroaster are part of the Georgian scene, which at this rate could at some point go down as legendary as the early ’80s Bay Area thrash or the late ’80s Floridian death metal scene. Like their contemporaries Mastodon and Baroness, their music has started to stray away from heavier influences and has become more accessible and melodic, whilst not losing any of the magic that gave them big followings in the first place. Kylesa‘s new album, Ultraviolet, continues this trend, owing as much to metal as it does to rock in general, showcasing hardcore, stoner, alt-rock and indie influences.

The album opener ‘Exhale’ could be criticized as being Kylesa-by-numbers, which at the same time is a backhanded compliment to the fact that the band have forged their own unique stylings that set themselves apart from the rest. Phillip Cope’s trademark bark is still there, but welcomingly, his more melodic side comes to the fore in the sublime ‘Low Tide’. Those who, like this writer, thought that ‘Dust’, the album closer off their last effort Spiral Shadow was one of the records high points will enjoy this track immensely.

The other main creative force in Kylesa is Laura Pleasants, who shines equally on this album as all the previous efforts. She is just as at home unleashing throat shredding screams in ‘We’re Taking This’ whilst grinding out a chugging riff on her guitar resembling ’90s-era Neurosis, as she is showing off her more tuneful pipes in ‘Long Gone’ and ‘Unspoken’, and her fretboard dexterity in the aforementioned track.

While Kylesa may lack the wow factor of their Static Tensions days, they still have as much to offer musically. The third track has a wonderful bluesy Clutch-esque riff at the start, whilst the riffage in ‘Steady Breakdown’ and ‘Vulture’s Landing’ is just as impressive as their earlier days. It’s not a faultless record; ‘What Does it Take’ is a bit of a throwaway number, resembling ‘Back and Forth’ from the last album to a detrimental degree, and Cope’s harsh vocals do start to grate, but an impressive record nonetheless, and fans of the bands current trajectory will be sure to lap this up.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jack Taylor
July 18th, 2013


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