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Kylesa - From The Vaults Vol. I Review

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Kylesa - From The Vaults Vol. I

Kylesa - From The Vaults Vol. I

Season Of Mist
Kylesa have developed over nearly 12 years as a band with modest potential to one with a mature, sludgey signature. Around the holidays it’s common to see record companies get product on the shelf from their breadwinners, especially when one hasn’t brought the bread home in a while.

In the case of From the Vaults Vol. I, there might be a bit of that involved, but Kylesa has put together a set of outtakes and alternates that add up to a legitimate release. Had From the Vaults Vol. I been released in 2006, it would’ve served as a proper addition to the discography.

Savannah, Georgia’s contribution to stoner metal, Kylesa, shares lead vocals between leader Phillip Cope and Laura Pleasants. Earlier releases Spiral Shadow and Static Tensions present the singers in a smokier haze then on From the Vaults Vol. I. Though the earlier releases are more fully realized than this collection, Vaults gets within 90 percent of their cohesiveness. Phillip says that this wasn’t a slapdash job, but rather a project the band was proud to present.

If one is unfamiliar with Kylesa, it’s hard to shake initial impressions that they aren’t a parallel version of post Washing Machine-era Sonic Youth. Kylesa’s cover of their live act staple, Pink Floyd’s “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun,” starts with the bass riff that sounds so Kim Gordon that the track doesn’t establish Kylesa as the behind the controls until half way through. It’s pure Kylesa though, by the time the psychedelic jam takes over between the verses. Kylesa’s treatment of the old warhorse is an exhilarating example of a band taking a famous song and making it their own.

Those familiar with Kylesa will no doubt hear a strong resemblance between From the Vaults Vol. I and the exemplary Time Will Fuse Its Worth that the band released in late fall of 2006. Both use tasty intros and close out on drum solos. “Inverse” is both white-hot and far more aggressive than stoner bands are supposed to get. Since the material is from various phases of Kylesa’s growth, a track like “Paranoid Tempo” comes off more hardcore than the official version. It veers into punkish attitude, as does “Bottom Line II.” In a way, this gives the Kylesa sound a back-finish of greater complexity, to use one of those ridiculously stuffy wine taster descriptions.

Sludge pours down from a thunderous sky with “Drained.” Here Kylesa lives up to its name, the bastardization of an eastern mysticism term for delusional awareness. Hard and plodding and wrenched with vocals that seem disembodied from any real message, it’s a stoner opus. Somewhere, Buddha nods his head in appreciative rhythm.

The collection’s only new track, “End Truth,” is a slice of Kylesa’s impressive depth. OM, Sabbath, and Pink Floyd overtones tint the all-too-brief track.

With the inclusion of a grooving outtake of “110 Degree Heat Index” and the Pink Floyd cover, From the Vaults Vol. I is not a holiday season fleecing of anyone’s iTunes gift card. It’s a worthy addition to Kylesa’s catalog.

(released November 20, 2012 on Season Of Mist)

Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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