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Kylesa - Static Tensions (9/10) - USA - 2009

Genre: Sludge Metal
Label: Prosthetic Records
Playing time: 40:24
Band homepage: Kylesa

Tracklist:

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

Statics Tensions” is the sort of album that reminds me why I love getting random albums for this site. I mean, forgive me for starting on such a personal note, but you get several different kinds of good albums here. You get the sort of rough gems that you really love but kind of have a few grating problems with, the decently enjoyable ones, the sort of cult-ish classics which you can show off to everyone and then you have the really, really good albums that you think are the best you'll get from random albums received like this.

But then a beast like this comes along and completely floors you.

KYLESA have just nailed it with “Static Tensions”, there's no better way to put it. This is a record made by a band who know exactly what they are doing and how to do that just perfect, it's a Sludge-y, noisy, complete records that really set a standard for other albums this year. Professional yet passionate and raw, crazy yet clever and controlled, it's music with a little for everyone yet remains extremely personal and distinctive. Within the noisy wall of noise and chaos you have an incredible touch of melody and controlled passion, it doesn't really bear the distinction of being heavy or melodic, it just is what it is, and what it is, is something special.

In blending a core sound of Sludge with various genre's of metal KYLESA create a very distinctive sound. The riffs are constantly impressive, either fast and technical or slow and Doomy, and always have a touch of class about them which really shines in the muddy and atmospheric production- muddy not being a negative, it really suits the feel of the music and still remains profession and keeps every instrument audible without sounding too clean that it takes away the atmosphere. Special mention has to be given to the sublime percussion on the album, which is constantly impressive and inventively rhythmic, contrasting fast beats with slower groove filled drum fills. The vocals are somewhat typical of the Sludge genre, blending between Stoner-esque shouts and roars and more melodic singing passages all working well with the music.

The entire album flows along at a great pace, and every song is worthy of praise, but it's in the amazing “Unknown Awareness” and “Only One” that I personally am most impressed by – both being dynamic and inventive songs with great structures and feel, and both featuring some of the best Sludge riffs I've heard in a long time. It's a credit to the band that these two songs only impress slightly more than the rest, there's a consistency to the record that really gives it a credibility in it's own right. Despite the variation in the songs and the dynamic way that the band can change their structure, the sound is very artistic and atmospheric, all of it bearing the traits of KYLESA.

All in all, KYLESA have put out a huge statement in “Static Tensions”. It's colossal, it's unique, it's inventive, it's most of the things that bands should aspire to be like, and I'll be damned if it isn't an early contender for album of the year.

(Online June 14, 2009)

Raven Blackburn



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