Review this album
Jun 2, 2013Some 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.… Expand
Jul 10, 2013Sludge 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.… Expand