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After a tumultuous eight-year run, Savannah, GA quintet Kylesa have come into their own on the outfit's latest 10-track disc STATIC TENSION. Fully realizing their unique spot in between Isis and Mastodon on the metal continuum, this act has struggled both through wallowing the underground as well as in the shadows of some bigger hometown bands, having endured the kind of major setbacks (such as deciding to forge on after original bassist Brian Duke's sudden passing) that destroy bands with lesser perseverance and ultimately coming out musically richer in the process. With the aid of two drummers (whose stunning interplay adds a refreshing nuance as well as an added fury on cuts like "Said and Done") and a slew of swirling psychedelics flying in an out of memorable guitar and bass lines freshly woven into the dank downtuned stoner metal meets sludge-ridden doom rock tapestry hanging on their wall ("Almost Lost"), Kylesa manages to supplement without losing any ground, maintaining its trademarked voluminous viscosity throughout ("Running Red"). Burying the alternating female/ male vocal just deep enough in the mix to render a haunting yet intelligible presence that makes it easier to absorb the abrasive rhythms, burly riffs and thick percussion ("Insomnia for Months") while executing exercises in songwriting self-editing to keep the entire entity on a disciplined track of discourse, for a less expansive yet more rewarding exploration into the realm of gutwrenching metallic melodies, STATIC TENSION is hard to beat.
- Mike SOS