Seven albums and 14 years later, I finally got about to really discovering Kylesa and their psychedelic, progressive style of sludge metal. A little late to the party, nonetheless I guess it’s better to be late than not discovering good music. This year marks the release of Kylesa‘s seventh opus, Exhausting Fire and with the rather good run of stoner and sludge metal in the past 2 years, expectations are rather high for this trio’s brand new release.
Exhausting Fire kicks off with the aptly-named Crusher, showcasing what the band does best – fusing heavy, crushing-as-fuck riffs along with a dreamy atmosphere into a sound that they can proudly call their own. This bringing together of the contrasting elements is not only shown through the instrumentation on the album, but also in the alternating between the more gruff vocal styling and the light, melodic singing of Laura.
The Black Sabbath influences are clear throughout the album, with songs like Shaping the Southern Sky easily fitting into records like Master of Reality, but in typical Kylesa fashion the band does not stick to just one style on Exhausting Fire. The progressiveness in their songwriting is shown in the ease in which the band transits between different styles on a single track, and between tracks. For instance Inward Debate shows the doomier side of the band, and while Moving Day is a dreamy track, the band somehow manages to make everything sound coherent, not unlike the works of Baroness. The faster moments on the album also showcase some similarities to works of bands like Black Tusk, sure to please fans of sludge and the earlier works of the band.
I always found Ultraviolet a little bit too atmospheric, and Spiral Shadow too aggressive. With Exhausting Fire, the band has managed to find that sweet spot between aggression and ambient, resulting in a record that is easily one of my favourites of the year, as well as their rather illustrious musical history and discography.
2. Inward Debate
3. Moving Day
4. Lost and Confused
5. Shaping the Southern Sky
7. Night Drive
8. Blood Moon
9. Growing Roots
10. Out of My Mind
Favourite picks: Moving Day, Lost and Confused