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
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'),
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
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
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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