CD Review: Kylesa – Ultraviolet

The album starts with a sledgehammer and ends with a whisper.


Review by David Feltman

Kylesa’s special brand of proggy post-sludge lands somewhere sonically in between ISIS and Melvins. The band drips with drone and sludge, but is never afraid to dip into psychedelic or swamp rock for some colorful riffs. On its newest release, Ultraviolet, the Savannah natives maintain the sound it has carefully honed over the past five albums.

Ultraviolet is darker in tone than the band’s previous work, with a strong sense of brooding embedded in the music. The album starts with a sledgehammer and ends with a whisper, charting themes of death and despair. Tracks like “Long Gone” display the band is at it’s tightest, knowing when to pull back and when to go full tilt. Guitarist and backing vocalist Laura Pleasants is brought to the forefront to handle lead vocal duty on multiple tracks like “Quicksand” and “Vulture’s Landing.” The band drenches her vocals in reverb, adding a ghostly effect to her melodies. The trade-off offers a nice counterpoint to Phillip Cope’s punky screams, which, now relegated to backing Pleasants, only adds to the overall eeriness of the album.

Kylesa is a band that’s always been about its aural textures and Ultraviolet is like a cool mist: crisp, creepy and bracing. Even when the riffs are full of warm fuzz, there’s still a chill in the air. The band continues to shine and sharpen its sound on Ultraviolet, but there will be no real surprises for longtime fans. This is the same Kylesa you’ve always loved.

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