Ultraviolet - Kylesa
Metascore
78

Generally favorable reviews - based on 19 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 19
  2. Negative: 0 out of 19
  1. May 28, 2013
    90
    Ultraviolet represents a further refinement of the new direction they've been heading in, making it not only the bands most accessible work to date, but also their most purposefully written and solidly constructed, putting it in the running for the best album of their career.
  2. Aug 1, 2013
    89
    Bandleaders Phil Cope and Laura Pleasants show off five LPs worth of development, coming into their own on "Unspoken," "Quicksand," and "Grounded," all lessons in following the muse down a path of riff-ripened enlightenment.
  3. May 28, 2013
    87
    In the end, Ultraviolet may not be the best metal album of 2013, but it’s definitely the 2013 metal album you’d most be a fool to ignore.
  4. May 28, 2013
    83
    Its chemistry takes longer to break down, but it’s worth the effort.
  5. Jun 20, 2013
    80
    Once again, Kylesa have made a humdinger without repeating themselves. [1 Jun 2013, p.53]
  6. Jun 13, 2013
    80
    Where the band’s double-drum rhythm section was once their most forceful sound, here it’s just another element in an impressively rich palette.
  7. Jun 5, 2013
    80
    In the end, Ultraviolet’s finest moments occur when Kylesa venture farthest from their proven strengths and step into the unknown.
  8. May 28, 2013
    80
    There's nothing here as flat-out beautiful as "Tired Climb" from 2010's Spiral Shadow, but Ultraviolet is both expansive and rockin' in equal measure. [Jun 2013, p.96]
  9. May 28, 2013
    80
    With Ultraviolet, Kylesa has once again established themselves in the great tradition of hard-rockers who've realized it's possible to make a "dark" album without sacrificing accessibility, further proving that heavy riffs and great hooks aren't mutually exclusive.
  10. May 28, 2013
    80
    Rich and vibrant musically while raw and emotive lyrically, Ultraviolet is Kylesa's highest achievement to date.
  11. 80
    All of this adds up to another winning album in a near-flawless discography.
  12. Jun 18, 2013
    75
    With Ultraviolet, Kylesa has retreated to a place of darkness and alienation. [No.99, p.57]
  13. May 30, 2013
    70
    While their newfound alt-rock dalliances tend to blur together in the middle for some urgent-sounding tracks marked by temper-tantrum vocals ("What goes around, comes back around," promises "We're Taking This"), they finish strong, never quite denying their metal instincts
  14. May 30, 2013
    70
    Despite its highs, Ultraviolet is a patchwork of arduousness, with some seams still showing.
  15. May 28, 2013
    70
    If there’s something holding the album back, it’s that the band is almost too efficient and unforgiving in its editorial choices.
  16. Jul 15, 2013
    65
    Despite these myriad weapons and extended gestation, the record sounds like a half-step backward, and feels like a more straightforward endeavor than the band's genre-straddling, far-out Spiral Shadow.
  17. Jun 17, 2013
    60
    They're still relentlessly heavy, just less hypnotically so. [Jul 2013, p.111]
  18. Jun 3, 2013
    50
    The precipice looms and, for now, the band seems content to wallow close to the edge.
  19. Jun 19, 2013
    40
    Fans of the characteristic Kylesa stomp will find enough of it remaining in the cracks to keep them entertained, but the originality and kinetic force of their vision has become a splutter.
User Score
7.2

Generally favorable reviews- based on 6 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. Jul 10, 2013
    8
    Sludge Metal outfit Kylesa bring a dirty, loud and pounding album in the form of Ultraviolet. The album at times is brutal, look at openerSludge Metal outfit Kylesa bring a dirty, loud and pounding album in the form of Ultraviolet. The album at times is brutal, look at opener “Exhale”. The drums beating into your skull backed by the deep guitars and bass that are accompanied by the brilliant male and female vocals of Phillip Cope and Laura Pleasants.

    The album swoops into “Unspoken” which is easily the best track on the album. The eerie lead guitar building up the earth shatteringly murky chorus blows your mind with the energy. And inter-weaved into all this chaos is some beautiful melodic female vocals which with the easy going tempo really create a solid trippy groove. I feel that the songs really work because of Lauren’s vocals. They add that extra depth dynamically because if Phillip’s vocals were used a lot, then they would get lost, look at “Grounded”, my least favourite track on the album because the vocals do seem to go to well, it gets a bit too murky, even around the lively riffs.

    “We’re Taking This”, along with “Exhale” are good examples of how both can work well together, I’m familiar with male/female vocal combinations in other genres, and I’m really glad that I can see another pairing working here.

    What this album does really well is blend in elements of Stoner Rock with tracks like “Long Gone” and “Drifting”, where in contrast you have the energetic “What Does it Take” that speeds along, at a pace that is more akin to Punk then Sludge or Stoner. It has a really strong melodic, distorted guitar lead that keeps up pace with the heavy and murky rhythm guitar. It shows that the band can change dynamics over the course of an album seamlessly and it works really well because it breaks the album up so you don’t get bored and tired with the same old same old.

    Saying that, “Steady Breakdown” feels like it’s trying to break any breakdown for the first half of the track before finding it’s feet in melodies. That where the band excel. In the ability to create a ruckuss that lies deep in the frequency chart and simultaneously sprinkle gentle harmonies on top to create a dreamy delight of Metal.

    However, from after “Low Tide”, the album can drag on ever so much. It starts to get repetitive and the albums beautifully dark charm gets lost, and it’s not until the end where you are reconciled with it.

    Overall, Kylesa deliver a very impressive but slightly weary album due to the fact that the sludge can occasionally overwhelm you towards the end.
    Full Review »
  2. Jun 2, 2013
    8
    Some reviews might have you believe that Kylesa has gone in some "new direction" or even "softened" their sound to appeal to a larger fanbaseSome reviews might have you believe that Kylesa has gone in some "new direction" or even "softened" their sound to appeal to a larger fanbase (et al. other sludge-Gods Baroness, Mastodon, Torche). Despite the presence of a couple down-tempo songs and even a "stoner burnout ballad" (because calling it simply a "ballad" would be misleading), Kylesa is still very much Kylesa, and therefore hammering out monster riffs and thundering drumbeats complimented with Laura Pleasant's better than ever croons and moans. And Phillip Cope backs her up with some really haunting stuff that could almost pass as Tibetan/Gregorian monk-like chanting. Creepy, trippy, and consistently interesting. And in that regard "consistently interesting" I think we have an album that is slightly better overall than the two predecessors, which may have featured better standout songs (Tired Climb, Don't Look Back, Scapegoat), but tended to drag at times between the highlights (a bit same same over the course of two or three songs too many).

    Kylesa have gone a bit more "sonic" and a lot more "polished." Everything sounds better, and the songs flow together as a much more complete album, where you aren't tempted to push the "next" button to get to something you like. In fact, the songs that don't grab you the first time may grab you by the balls after a few listens with headphones, and maybe even with the help of some enlightening party favors. It is that kind of album, and the Pink Floyd cover on the recent From The Vaults is a pretty good indication of what they were going to serve us. I'm impressed, with my expectations more than met. Great work.
    Full Review »