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Thursday, February 19, 2009

CD Review: Kylesa - Static Tensions

Kylesa - Static Tensions
2009 Prosthetic Records
Ray Van Horn, Jr.

To create an album this hungry, this passionate and this important so early in 2009 assuredly didn't come easy given the harsh adversity Kylesa has faced to reach this moment of homogeny. Consider the loss of original bassist Brian Duke, who passed from this life due to an epileptic seizure, not to mention the subsequent exit of drummer Brandon Baltzley and vocalist/bassist Corey Barhorst, and one might insinuate this has become a moment of destiny.

Static Tensions is an appropriate title for a band that has been progressively sifting through their troubles and finessing their sludge-punk-doom art into a cohesive soundburst of rightful and harmonious distortion. Pouring every ounce of sun-baked humidity from their native Savannah territory, the core remnants of Kylesa, Phillip Cope and Laura Pleasants have triumphed yet again amidst the smoke of a hard-fought trench battle beginning with their radar-hailing sophomore album To Walk a Middle Course.

At this point in their career on album number four, Kylesa have not only taken the next logical step from the careening vibrancy of their Time Will Fuse Its Worth album, they have demonstratively issued one of this year's statement albums in the form of the booming and dexterous Static Tensions.

It's enough that Static Tension's psychedlic artwork by John Dyer Baizley will leave you thinking of Batman's vegey-vogue nemesis Poison Ivy squeezed through an unnerving Berni Wrightson terror sieve, but the content within is a combination of excitable hardcore and hellish doom strides that never loses intensity. Returning to the expansive production of Time Will Fuse Its Worth's double trouble drummer attack in the form of Carl McGinley and Eric Hernandez, Kylesa is now far more formidable on Static Tensions than they've been in the past. The percussive sublets sculpting through "Running Red," "To Walk Alone," "Unknown Awareness," "Said and Done" and "Only One" capitalize moreso on this album than its predecessor, carving apart what few empty spaces Kylesa leave in their dense and sometimes gorgeous sonic channels.

As Static Tensions kicks open the doors with the monstrous ass-chewer "Scapegoat," expect the pacing of the album to maintain a consistent heaviness on "Insomnia For Months," "Said and Done" and the Fugazi-ish "Almost Lost." Even "Only One" roars like every ounce of past pain in this band exonerated through song once it assumes a blazing Black Sabbath and Electric Wizard tonal explosion following the series of tribal rolls opening it.

The doom expressionism slowly driving "Nature's Predators" on the main verses give way to a series of stepped-up and varied tempo switches reminiscent of Quicksand and Botch before switching back to the lollygagging thunder of the core melody. Perfectly written and executed, "Nature's Predators" changes mood with flawless congruity amidst Phillip Cope's protesting wails of "This is the town I live in, it is an American tension..."

"Perception" adopts a structural theory similar to Isis in the way it comes out raging then has the guts to step backwards and rebuild the intensity of the track with each towering bar, growing louder and louder and then climaxing in a Kyuss-esque free-for-all blitz segment until finishing with a stomped-down finale.

Whereas the drumming duo scheme on Time Will Fuse Its Worth was understated, this time around, their presence is loud and clear and Kylesa has now become the band they were fated to become: a stoner, doom and punk hybrid boasting a high level of class only a few meager steps away from Mastodon's supreme down-tuned artifice. With no pretention intended, Static Tensions is one of 2009's immediate elite.

Rating: ****1/2


Anonymous said...

Let me guess, they pay you by the syllable. Great album, painful post

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KYlesa -static is a great album, i really like it. i will be aware about it.

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