Kylesa - Spiral Shadow
Season Of Mist
Psychedelic Sludge Rock
11 songs (40:11)
Release year: 2010
Kylesa, Season Of Mist
Reviewed by Goat

Back barely over a year after their most successful album to date, Georgia-based double-drumming sludge rockers Kylesa’s fifth album follows pretty closely in the footprints of its predecessor. They’re the kind of band that have been hyped up forever by a small army of fans, an army that is slowly but surely growing as the band hop from label to label, and get better and better at what they do. Now on the respected Season Of Mist and having fully embraced the psychedelic impulses broadly hinted at before, Kylesa are at the top of their game and writing the sort of complex-yet-catchy sludge songs that Torche would kill for. With a big fat guitar tone, male/female vocals and a good sense of melody, the band have a great formula to build on, and they do so for all forty-odd minutes of the album’s running time. If I had to sum it up in mere words, I’d call it Kyuss crossed with Pink Floyd crossed with Sonic Youth, the various distinct psychedelic trips welded to an aggressive Sludgy approach, yet Kylesa have enough of their own sound to make comparisons like this unhelpful.

I’ve listened to Spiral Shadow plenty of times, and am still hearing different things. It’s genuinely hard to criticise the songwriting – take opener Tired Climb as an example, opening chords turning ethnic with hand percussion backing before the band kick in, shouty male vocals over a rumbling mountain of riffage abruptly turning lush and psychedelic when female vocalist Laura Pleasants does her windswept thing. Each track has its own little quirk to offer, from Cheating Synergy’s fuzziness and almost galloping prog melody, to the melancholic meanderings of Drop Out, culminating in a double-drum solo. In general, the walls of psychedelic noise that arise on the likes of the Eastern-tinged Crowded Road are fantastic enough in their own right, and part of the fun of this album is in wondering what awaits around the corner – a ridiculously catchy post-grunge anthem, Don’t Look Back? The perfect Stoner soundtrack in To Forget? Chaotic punky avant-garde in Back And Forth? By the time you’ve reached album closer Dust (alt-western wistfulness) the impulse to go back and listen to it all again is strong, and each listen makes the album better. Although Static Tensions was great, Kylesa have outdone themselves without repeating themselves, and proved the hype is well-placed – Spiral Shadow deserves your ears.

Killing Songs :
Tired Climb, Cheating Synergy, Drop Out, Crowded Road, Don’t Look Back, To Forget, Dust
Goat quoted 89 / 100
Other albums by Kylesa that we have reviewed:
Kylesa - Ultraviolet reviewed by Goat and quoted 74 / 100
Kylesa - From the Vaults, Vol. 1 reviewed by Koeppe and quoted no quote
Kylesa - Static Tensions reviewed by Phil and quoted 89 / 100
Kylesa - Time Will Fuse Its Worth reviewed by Dylan and quoted 50 / 100
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