KYLESA “Exhausting Fire”
Season of Mist records
For the past 15 years, Savannah, Georgia’s very own sludge metal Warriors Kylesa have consistently put out forward thinking and well executed heavy albums that incorporate the heaviest of riffs and have a psychedelic feel that enhances the atmosphere of their songs dramatically and this dynamic is in full force on the bands latest album Exhausting Fire.
From the bludgeoning opening riff on the albums first track, the aptly titled Crusher, it is plain for all to hear that Kylesa are back and they are still not messing about with their brand of atmospheric metal complete with those all important head shaking riffs and those riffs are present and correct throughout the album with the riffs on tracks like Inward Debate and Shaping The Southern Sky (just check out the opening of this song!) crash forth in a spiralling motion but instead of being happily out of control as can happen at times there is a focussed nature to them that adds to the intense heaviness.
As a band, Kylesa have never sounded better, the sound that the band have been honing since their inception, seems to come to fruition on Exhausting Fire and the songwriting in this album shows exactly why they are lauded as a band, songs like the dirgey but euphoric Moving Day are as good as it gets, uplifting and impeccably catchy but with a sludgy rawness that feels perfect. Despite the unrelenting heaviness of their music, Kylesa have always had a melodic edge to them tracks such as Lost And Confused, Night Drive and Falling, that melody is elevated into something much more with songs like Night Drive and Blood Moon are transformed into almost psychedelic tinged gothic forms with their tone and hazy vibe, Blood Moon especially has a dark new wave feel to it that is more Echo & The Bunnymen or Siouxsie & The Banshees than Eyehategod but doesn’t sound any less heavy at all, in fact the opposite is true.
Vocalists and guitar players Laura Pleasants and Phillip Cope (who sings on more tracks here than he did on the bands last album) are on top form throughout, cranking out memorable riffs for fun and their vocals are on top form as usual and when their vocals are in unison, it elevates the tracks dramatically, especially on the tracks Growing Roots and the punky Out Of My Mind, and this added to the fact that Pleasants has can go from hushed tones to a full on bellow in the blink of an eye is still something to marvel at and with drummer Carl McGinley holding everything together with a pulsating rhythmic backbone, this is definitely a band firing on all cylinders and by the time the album ends with the bands lurching and smoky take on Sabbaths eternal Paranoid it is evident how tight Kylesa are as a unit.
With Exhausting Fire, Kylesa have crafted their masterpiece and it will be extremely interesting to see what the band will come up with next, until then all you can do is bask in the glory of this album, an album that should, rightly see Kylesa reach the heady critical and commercial heights of their peers Mastodon and Baroness as they certainly have the talent and the songs here to do so.
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