April 16, 2009 | | 4.5

Kylesa, Static Tensions

Kylesa: Static Tensions

Either I’m experiencing a shift in my own musical tastes, or the crusty-stone-doom genre has exploded with stellar releases lately. Seriously, the latest from this Savannah, GA band has delivered one hell of a slab of distorted, catchy metal — so much so that I’m close to shunning my love of death metal for the sludgy goodness that is Static Tensions.

Kylesa is a band that has certainly learned to evolve and grow with each release, experimenting with their own sound without fulling leaving it behind. I mean, hell, how many bands do you know of that use multiple percussionists this well — and if you say Slipknot, I’ll personally hunt you down and slaughter you like the poser dog you are.

The willingness to venture beyond your comfort bounds is a sure sign of a band that’s thirsty for more. Kylesa have been able temper their own branching out while still embracing those elements that made them such a stand out band to begin with. The thick, sludgy guitars are still there, but so is a level of shifting sound to make the band’s latest endeavor unique and captivating.

“Scapegoat” gets the album going with some light drum work for the first 20 seconds or so before distortion fueled riffs and buried vocals come in quickly. There’s plenty of sludge to go around for everyone on this song. It’s got a nice groove beneath the distorted guitars and is catchy as fuck. It’s one hell of an opening song. It’s hard to discern between the dual drummers on this one, but if you focus on their timing their presence is undeniable and bad-freakin’-ass.

Insomnia For Months
I’m not a big sufferer or insomnia, but I can only imagine what the world would sound like after not being able to snooze for a few months. “Insomnia For Months” is how I would describe that phenomenon. The song’s distorted, sludgy guitars drown nearly everything else out, letting enough of the vocals through at just the right amount. The duel vocals, layered at times, also make this two minute track that much more impressive.

Said And Done
The sound to this next one seems that much thicker than the previous tracks, but I have a feeling that it’s due to the more apparent dual drummers that the band utilizes. The thickness of the track may be too much for some listeners, but I’m drooling for more. The thick guitar tones are infectious as is the thundering drum work. Damn!

Unknown Awareness
Guitar noise gets this one going briefly as some thick bass comes in along with some sweet drum work. The song builds in power and momentum through the first minute and a half as the dual drumming attack lays down some slick rhythms. “Unknown Awareness” is distorted, distant and sludgy, yet catchier than all get out. Static Tensions is proving itself worthy of best album of the year and I’m only through the first four songs.

Running Red
A bit of disharmonic keyboards start off “Running Red” a guitar noise fills the background through the first 45 seconds or so. The vocals aren’t shouted at first in this one, but are presented as more of coo or chant — still distant and smothered by the dual drum work and sludgy guitars. Speaking of guitars I love the stuff at 1:30. Holy hell that’s sweet!

Nature’s Predators
“Nature’s Predators” starts off much slower and darker song yet still quickly picks up the pace with slick, layered guitars and plenty of textured distortion. Man, there are some seriously catchy riffs in this track. The group knows how to use something without beating it to death.

Almost Lost
After the somewhat depressive “Nature’s Predators,” the band come out of the gates with a quicker pace on this next song. Overall it has a slightly brighter feel, even if it i still smothered in sludgy tones. And, I must say that I am thoroughly impressed by the interplay between the two drummers — their timing and rhythm is impeccable. I love the drum work at 2:40.

Only One
“Only One” starts off much slower with calculated drum work and plenty of guitar noise for the first27 seconds before one of the more memorable guitar bits comes in. This riff is sounds like something I’ve heard before, but not, if that makes any sense. The 1:20 point marks the introduction of the vocals for this song as the drums pick up the pace and the sludge comes in. The ensuing riff work may be even catchier than the opening stuff. Damn, this is a great album.

This next one starts off with a distorted sound clip before thick guitars come in with even thicker rhythms. The pace is a bit slower, but its thickness feels as though you’re chocking on toxic waste, seeping in from every orifice. The chanted, lighter female vocals make for a great range of depth and richness to the song. And holy hell, the short lead at 2:50 is southern fried goodness at its best.

To Walk Alone
To Walk Alone” wraps up the album with some nicely psychodelic inspired guitars that mix with the thicker, sludgier tones that we’ve heard throughout the album. There’s a bit of a Middle Eastern flare to the guitars, as well, on this instrumental based closer. Those vocals that do make an appearance are distant and soft, adding more fuel to the drums and guitar work. I love the guitars at the three minute mark before unholy hell is unleashed with massive drums and thundering guitars. After listening to the previous nine songs i wasn’t sure how Kylesa were going to end this amazing album — they completely floored me with “To Walk Alone.”

~ ~ ~

Favorite Tracks:
All of them

Additional Notes: