Season of Mist
I have a slight confession to make here. While its no secret that I love sludge and doom metal – as it is present around various parts of this site’s history – I’ve never got Kylesa. I don’t know why. As a drummer, I should at least have been blown away by their incorporation of two drummers into their sound. I should have dug those sweet psychedelic sounds, those thunderous grooves. But for all the explosion of the stoner metal scene in the mid-2000’s, Kylesa seemed to be the band that got away for me. Despite attempts to get into them more, nothing seemed to click. Did I genuinely not enjoy this band? Was it myself, or was it something I deemed them to be missing.
After listening to ‘Ultraviolet’, I’ll possibly never ever understand why it’s taken me so damn long. And most of you are probably wondering the same thing. It’s the wake-up call I’ve been waiting for. One of the most enjoyable slabs of music to come my way this year. I guess after not being able to appreciate the last couple of albums, ‘Ultraviolet’ feels like the apex of the swell; as though Kylesa have been building to this for some time. Much darker and introspective than previous releases, ‘Ultraviolet’ is a vast spectrum of titanic riffs and acidic skies, psychedelic wonderment and ambient gaze. ‘We’re Taking This’ is one of the album’s fiercest songs, before plundering into a trippy midsection before going back to its booming riff. By contrast, the almost mournful ‘Steady Breakdown’ embellishes Kylesa’s new psych-vision, while ‘Quicksand’ makes for one of the more happier sounding songs against the call of ‘I’m choking on my own blood!‘ Founder members Philip Cope and Laura Pleasants trade off riffs and vocals with aplomb, Pleasants in particular showing an immense melodic streak that’s more prevalent than ever before, most terrifically on the closer ‘Drifting’ which evokes a barren, lonely existence through its echoey opening scenery, before exploding in the final 90 seconds to finish on an almost hopeless, yet enthralling journey.
For me, now begins the long process of reparation – to show this band a bit more love and recognition and to make up on what I’ve not realised. That Kylesa, slowly, surely and now definitively, are stamping their territory as one of the standard bearers for modern, innovative sludge metal.