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Kylesa (Prank, 2002), 5/10
To Walk A Middle Course (2005), 5.5/10
Time Will Fuse Its Worth (2006), 6.5/10
Static Tension (2009), 6.5/10
Spiral Shadow (Season Of Mist, 2010), 6/10

Georgia's Kylesa was formed by veteran guitarists/vocalists of the hardcore scene Phillip Cope and Laura Pleasants. Kylesa (Prank, 2002) delivered relatively traditional growling black metal (The Scarab) next to anthemic rants that harked back to metalcore (No Remorse). The martial apocalyptic tones of Point Of Stillness and Dream Of The Freedom To Come were already quite unique.

To Walk A Middle Course (Havoc, 2005) introduced the double drummer attack that became one of their signature sounds, male and female vocals, and more technical passages (In Memory, Bottom Line).

Time Will Fuse Its Worth (Prosthetic, 2006) marked the mature stage of Kylesa's counter-metal. What Becomes An End alternates hysterical thrashing speed to dense distorted midtempo melody. Hollow Severer includes two slow intermezzi of guitar -driven meditations. The band reaches a peak of psychological intensity in Between Silence And Sound, a slow, brooding, agony with sudden bursts of angst in which the double drumming and the double guitars create a pulsing granitic soundscape. The Warning is a close second, a manic display of vocal acrobatics and rhythmic pandemonium that sums up half of their career. The hardest songs feature some of the ugliest call-and-response male-female duets on record, notably the relentless vocal, instrumental and rhythmic attack of Identity Defined and the jarring earth-shaking stop-and-start sequences of Ignoring Anger. Where The Horizon Unfolds builds on a panzer riff and a visceral rap. The two-minute instrumental Intermission packs the most psychedelic and alien gallop. The Outro is, appropriately, a drums duet.

Static Tension (2009) evolved along several dimensions. The vocals are often pushed to the forefront (particularly Laura Pleasants'), from Said And Done, that exudes the epos of a folk battle cry, to the trancey whisper that turns into a theatrical recitation in the Black Sabbath-ian doom of Running Red, all the way to the poppy and melodramatic To Walk Alone. Best are the songs in which they shout out of their lungs like apocalyptic street prophets: Unknown Awareness, with acid exotic overtones, Only One, over relentless rhythm (and with one of the best Pleasants counter-refrains), and the quasi-pop Almost Lost. At the same time there highly creative guitar workouts, like in the anthemic Scapegoat, and in the explosive and syncopated Insomnia For Months (almost rap-metal) or in the breathtaking acceleration that shakes Perception.

This eclectic and unpredictable, but highly communicative, style was the course pursued by Spiral Shadow (Season Of Mist, 2010), with the call-and-response between Cope and Pleasants now centerfield, and relatively simpler songs like Tired Climb (that opens with an Indian theme), the emphatically teutonic Back And Forth, the psychedelic hymn Dust , and the power-ballad Don't Look Back. There was prog-rock extroversion and dynamics in Cheating Synergy and Spiral Shadow, and they reach an apex of cinematic imagination with the exotic-tinged melodrama Crowded Road. Drop Out swings between a pastoral intermezzo and a drumming orgasm. Several songs have few metal elements left, and Pleasants' tormented To Forget has none. Their prophetic tones still propel Don't Look Back, but little is left of their early sound.

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(Copyright © 2010 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )
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