KYLESA — Static Tensions (review)

KYLESA — Static Tensions album cover Album · 2009 · Sludge Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
Phonebook Eater
8/10

"Static Tensions" is one of the most enjoyable Stoner Metal releases of the last few years.

Kylesa are an American Sludge/Stoner Metal band; 'Static Tensions' is their fourth album, the LP that finally brought them up to popularity among the stoner metal community, after a few, more average and disappointing albums.

The first thing you notice in 'Static Tensions' is how different it sounds compared to previous Kylesa material: it is clear the band have found their own, original take on this kind of music. They have massive Sludge Metal/Hardcore Punk influences in most of the vocals , as well as in the heavy, crunchy, and extremely loud guitars; but the original aspect of the music is probably the rhythm section, which often incorporates more exotic percussive patterns that replace simple drum fills. However, the drummer in this band does not hesitate in blasting bursts of velocity, making Kylesa basically sound like the more drugged out, intense and in- your-face cousin of Mastodon. The great thing about this new style is that slower, clean moments are not rare, and still hint at that Psychedelic feel that is just as powerful as in the more intense moments, especially thanks to the clever addition of female vocals and the hazy production chops.

'Static Tensions', in it's most intense passages, reminds not only of the Hardcore flashes but also of clever, well structured Sludge Metal. Despite this raw blend, Kylesa manage to be extremely accessible in every single song, proving amazing songwriting skills. It is pretty rare to find a band that can successfully write catchy melodies, be adventurous, and surround you with total, blissful distortion, all at the same time.

With only forty minutes 'Static Tensions' is by far the most solid Kylesa album. Although each song maintains a similar style (the clean moments though are all different from one another), they never bore all together, and together shine as one. Of course, there are specific highlights, like the amazingly face-bashing first track 'Scapegoat', the more dualistic (soft and aggressive) nature of 'Running Red', the hypnotic atmosphere of 'To Walk Alone', or the straight-forward catchiness of 'Almost Lost'. Each and every one of these songs has a different character, many of them present a different structural form, and all together they form a quite functional family of tough boys.

'Static Tensions' is an extremely enjoyable, fun, catchy, and aggressive listen, despite not being the most cheerful camper out there. Yet, the solemnity of this band's music could add some new canons to future traditional Sludge Metal.
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