by CryptcSlaughter10 USER (5 Reviews)
August 23rd, 2010 | 9 replies

Release Date: 2002 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Impressive Debut from Sludge-Metal Titans

After Savannah sludge-metal act Damad split up in 2001, Kylesa rose from their ashes with the addition of guitarist Laura Pleasants, and in 2001 they commenced recording of their first LP – ‘Kylesa’ with the line-up of:

Brian Duke - Bass, Vocals
Philip Cope - Guitar, Vocals
Laura Pleasants - Guitar, Vocals
Christian Depken - Drums, Percussion

Kylesa played their first ever live show with Mastodon on June 2nd 2001, but several days later on June 6th Brian Duke tragically passed away due to an epileptic seizure. The rest of the band were determined to finish the recording and dedicated it to the life of Duke, with Corey Barhorst completing the remaining bass and vocal duties.

Like many other sludge-metal bands, Kylesa use a very low “dropped A” tuning to get a thick texture typical of the sludge-metal sound, and also incorporate elements of crust punk, stoner rock and psychedelic rock which makes them stand out from other bands such as Mastodon, Baroness and Neurosis.

As Pleasants, Cope and Barhorst all share the vocals they sculpt three very different types of music sections in Kylesa; Barhorst almost has a voice made for death metal with a low growl, Pleasants contributes a higher ranged scream and clean vocals (most prominent on ‘No Remorse’) and Cope brings out the more usual sludge metal growl.

The instrumentation and tone on this LP is near perfection – crusty but discernable, mainly due to the low budget of a debut record (which would become more polished by their 2009 release ‘Static Tensions’). The tone creates a slight wall of sound and is quite overwhelming in patches and the low end crushing bass is one of the high points of the LP.

The only thing about this LP that stops it becoming one of the best sludge-metal releases of the 2000s is the song writing. Sure there are some great songs such as; ‘No Remorse’, Ceaseless Becoming’ and ‘Descend Within’ but the rest of the album if fairly luke warm and the reader will notice some sense of “déj* vu”.

The Standout tracks on this debut LP are ‘No Remorse’ and the instrumental ‘Parent’s Song’. ‘No Remorse’ is a stunning opening song with the best of nearly everything contained into less than 3 minutes with great riffs, a terrifying low tone and a superb mix of clean/screamed vocals. But ‘Parent’s Song’ is where Kylesa show their ability to show variety with captivating acoustic guitar work, which gives the listener an opportunity to relax after the previous 28 minutes of relentless heaviness and then it builds progressively until it comes suddenly to a halt (I assume it leads into the next LP ‘To Walk a Middle Course’.

Overall this is a interesting record as it shows how one of the greatest Sludge-metal acts began and how they have progressed to release one of the best metal albums of 2009 – ‘Static Tensions’, which I recommend to anyone who enjoyed any part of this LP.

user ratings (95)

Comments:Add a Comment 
August 23rd 2010


Album Rating: 3.5

Again, one of my first reviews so i would apreciate some advice on writing them

August 23rd 2010


Different people have different tastes, but for me I tend to go for a less technical approach. A lot of people obviously play guitar to some extent and will get the whole 'dropped A' bit, but that type of thing is leaning towards a description of the album, rather than a review, which is meant to be a critical appraisal. And listing the band members is a little redundant. If you look at any professional reviews, you'll never see this, because it doesn't really add anything useful.

It's also good to have a clear intro, middle section and conclusion, and people seem to prefer short, concise reviews (attention spans and whatnot).

Your prose is pretty good, but some of your points are left hollow, like where you say the songwriting is a weak element of the album. Why is it weak? Adding a little detail to this will strengthen the review immensely. I'm not suggesting you should break songs apart in the review; just give a general idea.

All in all though, a good start. Well done.

August 23rd 2010


love to walk a middle..and Static tensions so will have to look into this

August 23rd 2010


Here's a couple of reviews which show how you can say a lot in a short space:

February 20th 2011


Album Rating: 3.5

And with this I've completely gone through the band's discography plus the first Damad album. Still need the second Damad.

November 29th 2013


I know this review's a few years old, but can you or anyone here tell me a reliable source citing what tunings Kylesa use? I can't find a single interview on any site in text OR video form confirming this. I hear them say over and over in interviews that they use "really low" tuning or something to that effect, but never specifically if it's in A, C, or whatever. Thanks a million in advance to anyone that can point me to an interview online or even in a printed magazine clarifying this!

November 29th 2013


wtf why would you sign up to sputnik to ask this, this is why yahoo answers exists

April 23rd 2014


Album Rating: 3.5

"and also incorporate elements of crust punk, stoner rock and psychedelic rock which makes them stand out from other bands such as Mastodon, Baroness and Neurosis."

Um mmmhmm

August 18th 2016


Album Rating: 3.5

I actually prefer the raw energy displayed on this one to some of their later efforts.

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