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3.71 | 11 ratings | 2 reviews
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Album · 2010

Filed under Stoner Metal


1. Tired Climb (03:21)
2. Cheating Synergy (02:51)
3. Drop Out (04:29)
4. Crowded Road (03:29)
5. Don't Look Back (03:20)
6. Distance Closing In (03:51)
7. To Forget (03:32)
8. Forsaken (03:41)
9. Spiral Shadow (05:12)
10. Back And Forth (02:33)
11. Dust (03:44)

Total Time 41:22


- Phillip Cope / guitars, vocals
- Laura Pleasants / guitars, vocals
- Carl McGinley / drums, noises
- Corey Barhorst / bass, vocals
- Tyler Newberry / drums

About this release

CD and 12" vinyl LP released 25th October 2010 on Season of Mist (SOM220).

CD digipak released 2012 on Season of Mist (SOM220S).

Thanks to UMUR for the addition and Unitron, Bosh66, adg211288 for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

Phonebook Eater

"Spiral Shadow" is a big mix of emotions and musical variety.

American Stoner Metal band Kylesa’s 2009 release, “Static Tensions”, was one that was hard to follow, because of its use of successful formulas mixed together well. But “Spiral Shadow” comes right behind it in terms of quality, and in some points, there is even a slight improvement: however, overall it’s not as solid and enjoyable as the previous album.

There are pretty noticeable changes in direction the band takes on this new album: the distortion has lost a bit of its original impact, favoring however a more atmospheric sound, cleaner passages that include diverse guitar effects and more rich arrangements; this way, many of these moments are remindful of Sludge Metal's more atmospheric side, except for the fact that Kylesa have always been straight to the point and have always done the job quickly, and it is no different here. The type of impact the band delivers is also very varied; from tense, anxious moments, there are also more optimistic and cheerful ones, or angry, violent ones. Previous albums by the band have had more of a monotone attitude and never changed their perennial state of anger.

Again with a short 40 minute album, Kylesa with “Spiral Shadow” show they can blend many things into one another in order to make a more different, elaborate and musically luxurious sound. But they're making the album as a whole a little less solid and a bit more sparse. The great songs are still here, like the opener “Tired Climb”, which is nauseatingly aggressive for the most part, but it also has a cool, tense and anxious build up. “Crowded Road” has a Doomier, heavier feel, while the guitar tapping of “Don’t Look Back” almost reminds of Math Rock, with a somewhat strange and very subtle Pixies influence in the songwriting. The second half of the LP, while it still has a few good moments like the solemn closing track, is a little less emotional and impactive, focusing more on showcasing interesting filter effects rather than concentrating on the songwriting.

An album with a very wide range of sounds that still however remains faithful to Stoner Metal. Although a bit one sided (superiority of the first half to the second), it remains enjoyable pretty much all the way through, and delivers excellent songs that will become, in my mind, Kylesa classics.
"Spiral Shadow" is the 5th full-length studio album by US sludge metal act Kylesa. The album was released through Season of Mist in October 2010.

While I found "Static Tensions (2009)" to be an enjoyable and powerful release, I´m ultimately much more fond of "Spiral Shadow". It´s simply more memorable and features better songwriting. The album is a quality sludge metal release to my ears containing both raw sludge metal riffing, a slight (occasional) touch of hardcore punk, mellower psychadelic tinged sections and good variation between raw male and female vocals. The fact that the band features two drummers is also much more obvious on "Spiral Shadow" than on the predecessor. While it´s not used to as great effect as for example the Melvins have done since 2006, the inclusion of two drummers in the band is still a great asset that works wonders on some of the tracks. the end "Spiral Shadow" is one of those albums that caught my attention from the first to the last note and still does. Allthough not quite as eclectic and bold as Baroness development from the "Red (2007)" album to the "Blue (2009)" album, I hear quite a few similarities in the way that Kylesa travel beyond "regular" sludge metal aestethics on "Spiral Shadow". It´s enjoyable and it´s admirable and fully deserves a 4 star (80%) rating from me.

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  • Psydye
  • adg211288
  • Anster
  • Unitron
  • luanpedi
  • Primeval Scum
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