Album: Exhausting Fire
Label: Season of Mist
Genre: Sludge / Alt. Metal / Stoner Metal
Release Date: October 2nd, 2015
The genres surrounding Kylesa are all interesting to me and although I heard a small buzz after their last record, I just never gave them the time for one reason or another. Being a music fan in the 21st century means being flooded with music reviews and recommendations. Not to mention the fact that you can listen to millions of different bands at anytime online, free of charge. This overwhelming amount of volume and possibility means that you are bound to miss some gems, it’s just inevitable. That being said I’m happy to say that I didn’t let this one pass me by. Listening to “Exhausting Fire” is a glimpse into that it would be like to live in a world full of steam. Everything’s blurred and unclear yet vivd and beautiful.
The album starts off the song “Crusher” a beautiful yet self-destructive piece with heavy guitar, echoey vocals and some great dynamics. The vocals come in “I don’t ever want to feel again, I don’t ever want to heal again, that’s where I find my soul is crushing.” Then the heavy guitar riff turns to quiet, melodic picking with some thought provoking lyrics. Laura Pleasants’ presence on this album is what sets this album apart from the pack. Not only does she have a great voice but she writes great lyrics and compliments the music perfectly. With that being said she is not the only vocalist on the record. Philip Cope, the band’s guitar and bass player, sings lead vocals on “Moving Day” and adds some backing on “Lost and Confused” and helps add some variety to the album. This change in vocals was effective and refreshing the way Nico was on the Velvet Underground’s debut. Although Lou Reed and Laura Pleasants are both fantastic vocalists, every so often a change of pace is good.
The instrumentation on this album is also breath-taking with it’s distorted, pumping bass lines, pounding drums and grimy guitar parts. All the instruments sound crisp and clear yet hazy and disorienting at times. It’s clear there was a lot of thought and effort put into making and perfecting this album which means a lot to me as a listener. There’s nothing I hate more than a stale album done for the wrong reasons, and that is most certainly not the case here.
As far as complaints go, I would have liked to have seen them experiment with longer songs (like they did on “Shaping the Southern Sky”) and come up with a more conclusive ending. Although “Out of My Mind” is a good song, it sounds like it could have been placed in the middle of the album and had the same effect. I would have liked the ending to be more dramatic and chaotic. For some, the ending would be the bonus track: a strange cover of the Black Sabbath song “Paranoid”. This is a bold choice for any band to cover considering the original’s legendary status. However Kylesa takes a completely different approach to the song totally ditching the fast, dirty sound the original was based on. Instead the listener is left with a slow, echoey sound that just doesn’t seem to sit right with me, even after repeated listens. Although I admire them for taking this leap and releasing it, I just don’t think it came anywhere close to the original. Although the slowed tempo worked for their cover of “Come As You Are” on a Nirvana cover album, that approach is not something you can copy and paste into every cover.
Despite small critiques, I really enjoyed this record and highly recommend it to fans of sludge, stoner metal and psychedelic music of all kinds.
3.Lost and Confused
4.Shaping the Southern Sky
9.Out of My Mind
10. Paranoid (Black Sabbath cover) (bonus)
Total Playing Time: 45:02