Kylesa - From the Vaults, Vol. 1
Season Of Mist
12 songs (41:50)
Release year: 2012
Kylesa, Season Of Mist
Reviewed by Koeppe

Their first release since 2010’s Spiral Shadow, Kylesa returns this time around with a compilation album of sorts, a collection of rarities, re-workings and unreleased material that really don’t act as b-sides. If b-sides have the connotation of tracks that weren’t quite good enough to make the first cut, that’s not the case here. Despite only one entirely new track, End Truth, this album comes off more as a well-articulated release than something simply thrown together to capitalize on their growing popularity or to simply fulfill a contract obligation.

The album begins with an intro, capturing the swirl and pace that is characteristically Kylesa, the beat of the dueling drummers against the manipulation of the guitar to make sound uncharacteristic to its nature. The first real track, Inverse begins with a heavy chugging riff before two of the three vocalists begin bellowing out a cacophony of shouting. The vocals truly are the nastiest, gnarliest sounds to come out of the band in years. Laura Pleasants is just mean. What this collection of past material and re-workings clearly brings forth is how Kylesa has developed over the years from a much grizzlier sludge band into the lightened pop sludge that they currently produce, along with bands such as Baroness and Torche. But more importantly, as the re-workings demonstrate so well, is how they have matured and bettered as a band.

Following that line of thought, Bottom Line II presents this well-crafted adaptation of the original track off of To Walk A Middle Course that demonstrates how Cope and Pleasants have mastered the balance of their act, trading off vocal lines before entering into a psychedelic soundscape that Pleasants cuts like a knife with her growls. Fifteen seconds shorter than the original while being light years better and more complex. The original A 100º Heat Index might have been crustier, but the redux eight years later hones in on the melodic element that the song was aspiring to and revamps it into the style that they have mastered in newer songs like Don’t Look Back and Crowded Road, off of Spiral Shadow.

As for the standout moments on the album, the two most intriguing tracks come in the middle of the album, Paranoid Tempo and End Truth. Paranoid Tempo is one of those midtempo rockers that are more pop than punk, but you can’t but resist headbanging to. End Truth has Cope singing in a hauntingly monotonous tone before entering into a meandering jam driven by Pleasants’ plucking of strings more like a harp than a guitar that sounds like characteristic Kylesa while also being reminiscent of Red-era Baroness. The most ambitious moment in the album is their rendition of Pink Floyd’s Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun, which isn’t spectacular but it works and in many ways the drumming on this track would seem a better close to the album than the drum jam. Covering Pink Floyd really enables them to demonstrate their more prog-leaning, space-y sensibilities in a way that their recent shorter tracks simply don’t make possible. They succeeded it at making their own while leaving the original vibe intact. This collection really showcases the band’s spectrum of capacities and the contrasts across the course of their development. Ultimately, the compilation is a worthy stopgap between Spiral Shadow and a new album that I hope and am eagerly anticipating this new year.

Killing Songs :
Paranoid Tempo, End Truth, Inverse, Bottom Line II, Drained
Koeppe quoted no quote
Other albums by Kylesa that we have reviewed:
Kylesa - Ultraviolet reviewed by Goat and quoted 74 / 100
Kylesa - Spiral Shadow reviewed by Goat and quoted 89 / 100
Kylesa - Static Tensions reviewed by Phil and quoted 89 / 100
Kylesa - Time Will Fuse Its Worth reviewed by Dylan and quoted 50 / 100
0 readers voted
You did not vote yet.
Vote now

There are 0 replies to this review. Last one on Mon Feb 04, 2013 11:07 pm
View and Post comments