Kylesa, Static Tensions
Okay, so I do like Kylesa’s Static Tensions, but I have to ask: what the hell does it add to your sound, really, to have two drummers? Especially if they’re playing the same damn thing (or minute variations thereof)? I get the whole percussionist thing, believe me, and everybody knows dueling guitarists rule, but two guys pounding away at drum kits at the same time seems more than a little redundant to me.
But fuck it, that’s small potatoes, because in pretty much every other way, Kylesa bring it on Static Tensions, and the result is something that’s got a metal foundation but spirals out of control from there. Opener “Scapegoat” comes out swinging, belligerent and satisfyingly raw, a pit-spinning anthem that combines hardcore vocals, Mastodon-ish drums, and thick, messy-sounding guitars that occasionally dive sideways off into this weird scraping post-rock thing; it’s like some NY hardcore band fed through a Mudhoney filter.
That sets the mood, and “Insomnia For Months” takes it from there, churning and heavy, bassy as hell like Federation X but with guitarist/singer Phillip Cope’s roaring vocals reminiscent of Isis. “Said and Done” treads similar stylistics lines, but gets one-upped by “Unknown Awareness,” with its nicely trippy, shimmering guitars and tribal (and yes, every so slightly distinct) drums, and “Running Red,” which starts off with spooky, minimal piano before shifting into Eastern-sounding melodies, more of the snapping, handclap-sounding tribal drumming, and other guitarist/singer Laura Pleasants’ serenely psychedelic monotone. Of course, then the desert sands morph into hard, sun-blistered rock, the whole track turning into something off the last Sword album.
The band’s appeal, really, lies in their willingness to throw any kind of style considerations to the winds — who gives a shit if it’s “real” metal, as long as it’s crush-your-head heavy, right? And Static Tensions delivers plenty of that, to be sure, alongside the woozy, heavy-lidded flights Eastward. Suddenly, the fact that the band takes its name from a Buddhist term for evil spirits of “defilement and delusion” makes a lot more sense.