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Kylesa: Static Tensions

Right from the opening thunderous drums, down-tuned guitars and strained vocals of "Scapegoat", Kylesa's Static Tensions hits the ground at warp speed and never looks back. Through 9 more tracks, this disc, the band's 4th full-length studio release, unleashes a barrage of riff-driven old school metal, with just the right amounts of psychedelic spices and balls-to-the-wall energy to balance things out beautifully.

The band claims to have learned from previous mistakes and feels they're a more cohesive unit than when they first started out. The point of this latest release, according to guitarist/vocalist Phillip Cope was to write memorable riffs: "you can write a guitar line or a vocal line that stays with you, instead of going in one ear and out the other. I wanted to write a record that had a lasting impression". Has he succeeded? I'd like to venture that yes, he has. The tracks are all fairly straight forward, filled with infectious grooves and solid hooks. The psychedelic touches mentioned above (and prevalent primarily in the excellent "Unknown Awareness" ) take a little of the rawness away from the music, but without seeming like a wimpy cop out. The powerful drumming, courtesy of a pair of drummers (Carl McGinley and Eric Hernandez), anchor the music solidly. The vocals, although a little lost in the mix, still evoke angst and anger, without resorting to over-the-top screeching or "Cookie Monster" growls. And of course, the twin-axe aural assault of Cope and Pleasants, serves up some fist-pumping riffage of the highest order.

Nothing new under the sun here, but fans of down-tuned, stoner-like metal will want to pick this one up. It rarely delves into the very slow, sludgy fare; but instead relies on mid-tempo heaviness to kick the listener in the teeth. I found myself immediately liking this one, and repeated listens have, as Cope hoped, left a lasting impression.

Track Listing:

  1. Scapegoat
  2. Insomnia For Months
  3. Said And Done
  4. Unknown Awareness
  5. Running Red
  6. Nature's Predators
  7. Almost Lost
  8. Only One
  9. Perception
  10. To Walk Alone

Added: August 9th 2009
Reviewer: Yves Dubé
Related Link:
Hits: 2733
Language: english

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Kylesa: Static Tensions
Posted by Paul Williams, SoT Staff Writer on 2009-08-09 17:51:48
My Score:

Kylesa, if you have not heard them before, play sludgy psychedelic "metal" very much in the vain of fellow Georgia based band, Mastadon but with slight avant-garde tinges to the sound.

Now I want to point out that I'm not a big Mastadon fan as only a few songs have ever been able to produce anything that could keep my attention for long enough to sit through until the end ( "Blood Mountain" and "Colony of Birchmen" for the win!). Despite this I can tell that Kylesa are not on the same level of musicianship as Mastadon. How can I tell this? Because with Mastadon I can actually pay attention to it for long enough to realize that I don't like it while Kylesa's Static Tensions simply tires me out and makes me look for something (anything) else to do except listen to their music.

This isn't to say there aren't a few riffs here and there that don't completely fail in getting me to nod my head or even a few toe tapping beats but these are few and far between; a majority of the time there are large yawn inducing, repetitive instrumental periods that hardly push the envelope of the genres that the band are influenced.

Despite the band having two drummers (!), neither of them actually do anything interesting and if I hadn't gone on to the bands Wiki page then I wouldn't have realized that there were two people playing the same beat, in every song. I think Kylesa actually found a way to use up a larger amount of unneeded stage space than Slipknot. I mean at least Slipknot actually acknowledge that they have useless members in their band but Kylesa just seem oblivious to the fact that a pair of drummers is useless unless they are playing different beats!

Even the distorted and effect addled vocals, which were at first the only reason I could listen to the whole album, become monotonous and annoying. There are only so many times you can take in the distorted yelling of a whiny stoner. Every now and again the female guitarist does some backing yells or some lead yelling but even these are pretty awful and do no help what so ever for the band.

Now sometimes after having done a review of a band I won't listen to said album for a while and then give it another spin to see if my views have changed on it but I just can't see myself being able to go back to this album for another listen as long as I still have a fully functioning brain.

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