There’s probably not much that we can say about Kylesa that you haven’t already heard a thousand times before – whether that’s the fact they go all out with two drummers, they know how to write a monstrous fucking riff, or (now brace yourselves) there’s a woman in their ranks – but we aren’t ones to back down from a challenge and thus, we take on the heavy charms of the Savannah based band and their sixth full length album – Ultraviolet.
Following on from 2010s Spiral Shadow, Ultraviolet continues in the vein of the Kylesa sound we all know and love (heavy rocking sludged out noise) but picks up a few neat tricks along the way. Laura Pleasants’ voice takes on a little more of the vocal weight, tripped out nuances filter through the wonder of “Exhale” and the traded vocals between Pleasants and fellow guitarist Phillip Cope here are a joy to behold, and massive choruses throw themselves at you with wild abandon.
Hazy washes of serenity infiltrate the otherwise gargantuan tones of “We’re Not Taking This” and “Long Gone” is positively sedate compared to the the huge sounds of what has come before. It seems that Kylesa have taken a step back within themselves this time around. There’s a definite introspection to be heard, particularly on the aforementioned “Long Gone” and the gentle smoothness of the track masks a curious and perhaps wistful emotion.
Flighty riffs course through “What Does It Take” (you’ll notice a lot of questioning during this record as Kylesa strive to understand the darker aspects of their collective souls) and a bittersweet echo flows though the majestic dirge of “Steady Breakdown” which ebbs with a deep melancholy and a heartbreaking, twisting solo that curls and moves with an astute sorrow. There’s much to be heard in the way of loss on Ultraviolet, and whether that refers to loss of the self or another, it’s clear that this feeling is a huge influence on the band of late and the music itself is a therapy no human should ever need to delve into.
Darker, more that atmospheric soundscapes wind their way into the Kylesa sound during the morose, Cope led “Low Tide” and the tangible weight of a pure sadness pushes through the clouds of mourning and lead into the sudden forward motion of “Vulture’s Landing.” Ultraviolet closes on the beautiful anguish of “Drifting,” a track which works its way around your heart with deft electro-pulses and beats drenched in cold dread that build towards tortured shouts of “I let go.” Moments of crushing humanity are wrought through Laura’s voice and the words she has been driven to speak. Kylesa may have stepped back in terms of downright destruction and noise on Ultraviolet, but by no means lessens the impact of this affecting and personal opus.
Ultraviolet will be available via Season of Mist on May 28th and whilst you’re waiting for that, why not check ’em out on one of the tour dates below, presented in conjunction with the CVLT.