Kylesa, From the Vaults, Vol. 1

Jon Wiederhorn

By Jon Wiederhorn

on 11.27.12 in Reviews

Along with Georgia peers Mastodon and Baroness, Savannah’s Kylesa offers a flavorful take on psychedelic sludge and crust punk that’s simultaneously dense and expansive. From the Vaults, Vol. 1, which follows the band’s landmark 2010 album Spiral Shadow, is a collection of rare and previously unreleased material along with one newly written song.

Illustrating where they’ve come from and where they’re headed

That tune, “End Truth,” is a dynamic jawdropper that starts with a mutated bass line and atmospheric wah-wah guitars, builds with a series of melodic licks atop layered, otherworldly textures, and hits zero gravity with the sedate, intertwining vocals of Philip Cope and Laura Pleasants. The two repeat the approach with equally enjoyable results on the grungy “Paranoid Tempo.”

Whether the style is a sign of what’s to come from Kylesa or a caution-to-the-wind experiment, it works, offsetting some of the more hardcore-rooted – but not necessarily less compelling – songs on the album. “Inverse” is slow and raging, with shouted vocals that slice through murky, chugging guitars, and “Wavering” is faster and, peaking with ascending guitar harmonies that yield to a jarring off-time rhythm.

Elsewhere, the deep, reverberating stoner-jam “Bass Salts” would be mere filler if it didn’t lead to the bi-polar head trip “Between Silence and Sound II,” the heavier original of which was on 2000′s Time Will Fuse its Worth. And while “Drum Jam” might exude the kind of self-indulgence that motives beer breaks at concerts, a cover of Pink Floyd’s “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun” reveals the roots of Kylesa’s mindwarped approach to hardcore and metal. With From the Vaults, Vol. 1, Kylesa dust off and modify some of oldest material, and effectively illustrate where they’ve come from and hopefully where they’re headed.