Kylesa
Spiral Shadow


4.5
superb

Review

by Brent Stephenson USER (67 Reviews)
October 25th, 2010 | 115 replies | 31,409 views


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Spiral Shadow finds Kylesa evolving beyond their previous efforts to craft their strongest and most focused endeavor to date.

Somewhere in the midst of the warm piano, languid guitar taps, subtle analog delay oscillations, and cascading drum rolls that occupy the first 50 seconds or so of Kylesa's newest release, Spiral Shadow, it's made fairly apparent that the band would not be satisfied with simply rehashing the same pseudo-psychadelic motifs and sludgy aesthetics found on their previous releases (although honestly, there wouldn't be anything wrong with that). Where Kylesa's previous endeavors reveled in their dual percussion, sludgy riffs, dueling vocals, and general bad-assery, Spiral Shadow finds the group evolving beyond their previous work and embracing a slew of new influences and aesthetics. The core of the Kylesa sound is still very much in tact here, as pounding dual drum work, sludgy riffs, and the vocal interplay that Kylesa has come to be known for still permeate the album, but not only have these components all been elevated to an entirely new level, they've been reworked and reshaped to create their most cohesive and hard hitting release to date.

Album opener "Tired Climb" serves as the perfect introduction for what the rest of Spiral Shadow entails. After the aforementioned intro, the song is ripped open by pounding drums, delicious fuzzy drop G riffing, and remarkably clear, yet still authoritative shouting from guitarist Phillip Cope, followed up by Laura Pleasants's hypnotic, lazy delivery in the chorus. As the final chords of "Tired Climb" die out, this throbbing, earthy, ethereal organ of some sort (which incidentally is one of the coolest damn sounds I've heard all year), swells into the soundscape of "Cheating Synergy" before being cut right down the middle by snare rolls, fuzzy bass, and more sludgy riffs. Still, Spiral Shadow is so much more than a collection of spiffy intros that segue into head pounding metal riff fests. Tracks like "Dust" and "Spiral Shadow" showcase Kylesa's newfound ability to take a simple, slow motif and not only build on it, but eventually turn it on it's head and create a massive soundscape out of it. At the same time, tracks like "Back and Forth" and "Don't Look Back" find Kylesa embracing more catchy, major key aesthetics. The chorus of "Back of Forth" has an almost Torche-esque feel to it, while still remaining very much a Kylesa track, and "Don't Look Back" manages to be catchy, triumphant, and pummeling all at the same time. As a quick side note, for anyone who says that Pleasants's vocal delivery here lacks a general sense of conviction, just check out her venomous shrieks in the bridge of "Drop Out" and verses of "Cheating Synergy".

Going into the studio so quickly after the release of Static Tensions, it's really quite remarkable just how much Kylesa has grown as a unit since last March. Where Static Tensions seemed to almost show that Kylesa was comfortable being labeled as just another solid act in the burgeoning Georgia metal scene (that just happened to have two drummers), Spiral Shadow finds the group not only living up the potential it's been clear they've possessed all long, but also getting an incredibly solid foothold on the way to becoming a true juggernaut amongst their contemporaries, and a driving force within the entire metal community.



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user ratings (422)
Chart.
3.8
excellent
other reviews of this album
Eli EMERITUS (4)
"Spiral Shadow" sees Kylesa fully realizing their potential with an all around solid album....


Comments:Add a Comment 
marksellsuswallets
October 25th 2010


4848 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Probably a little short for a 4.5 but I feel like I said all that needed to be said. Album's a strong AOTY contender for
me...might even edge out the new Enslaved as my favorite metal of 2010.

Stream at http://www.myspace.com/kylesa

Inveigh
October 25th 2010


24958 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

I like this review a lot, I don't think it needs to be any longer at all. I think I'm going to give this another listen tonight.

Digging: YOB - Clearing The Path To Ascend

marksellsuswallets
October 25th 2010


4848 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Could have added some meandering intro about how stagnate the Georgia metal scene is becoming and blah blah blah but that would have been unnecessary and pointless.

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
October 25th 2010


8357 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Very nice review and I agree with Inveigh, it doesn't need to be any longer. Album is in my top 5 of the year so far for sure.

Xenophanes
Emeritus
October 25th 2010


10593 Comments


"Spiral Shadow finds Kylesa evolving beyond their previous efforts to craft their strongest and most focused endeavor to date."

^This, yet no one else agrees with us.



"Could have added some meandering intro about how stagnate the Georgia metal scene is becoming and blah blah blah but that would have been unnecessary and pointless."

^ I was also going to do this, but for the same reasons did not


AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
October 25th 2010


7333 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

buying this now. enjoyed on first listen.

greg84
Staff Reviewer
October 25th 2010


7386 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Not as good as I thought it was after the first listen.

Digging: Hilltop Hoods - Walking Under Stars

Photon
October 25th 2010


1292 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

album is good but they have done better

marksellsuswallets
October 25th 2010


4848 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I mean their past stuff has been solid but more or less two dimensional compared to this.

shortz
October 25th 2010


201 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I'm loving this album, "Don't Look Back" is prob my fav track.

Good review, short, sweet and to the point.

Athom
Staff Reviewer
October 25th 2010


17212 Comments


you would love this

Digging: Inigo Kennedy - Vaudeville

eternium
October 25th 2010


16338 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Great review, I'd just put song titles in quotes and italicize the album title.

Is this really in drop G? I want to know how they got this tone that I love so much.

marksellsuswallets
October 25th 2010


4848 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I'd just put song titles in quotes and italicize the album title.

I never remember to do that ish. And yeah, it's in drop G. I just threw some 56 gauge string on my Eclipse a few weeks ago and tuned down to G. I just fiddled with my fuzz pedal and cranked up my amp and it sounded fairly similar.

you would love this

You tryin to say somethin?

Athom
Staff Reviewer
October 25th 2010


17212 Comments


already said it

marksellsuswallets
October 25th 2010


4848 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

What can I say, I'm a sucker for Georgia metal bands...except for Black Tusk...they're sort of lame.

eternium
October 25th 2010


16338 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I like Black Tusk, only that they sound TOO much like Kylesa.

The lowest I've had my guitar is drop A. I assume that you'd need some kind of fuzz pedal and
probably an Orange or Badcat amp to get this sound. ESP Eclipse right?

marksellsuswallets
October 25th 2010


4848 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah...ESP Eclipse, Orange AD30HTC, and a Musket Fuzz...haha.

Black Tusk is ok, they're just the most "inside the box" band in that scene at the moment to me. They don't really try
to branch out at all.

eternium
October 25th 2010


16338 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

That's basically what I said. Good band, but they're not anything special.

I'm jealous of your setup.

marksellsuswallets
October 25th 2010


4848 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I'm thinking about selling my head and either upgrading to AD140 or getting a Badcat actually. But yeah, Orange amps are well worth the investment.

eternium
October 25th 2010


16338 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Kurt Ballou uses Badcats with Orange cabs, usually, since he owns a bunch of stuff that he keeps at his studio. His tone is amazing. I just have a Peavey ValveKing and a decent Hughes and Kettner cab.



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