Sunday, 17 February 2013

Kylesa - "From The Vaults Vol.1" (Album Review)

By: Matt Fitton

Album Type: Compilation
Date Released: 16/11/2012
Label: Season of Mist



My favourite track on the album has to be 'Wavering'. It’s easily one of the best riffs they have ever created. It increases in pitch and climbs before resetting itself to begin the glorious ascent again. And what a heavy ascent it is, a true rager, indeed a standout performance within the history of this band.  'From the Vaults Vol.1' is not just a Kylesa collection: it's an exciting cross-section of their existence. Long may they continue?



“From The Vaults, Vol. 1” CD//DD//LP track listing:

1.  Intro  **
2.  Inverse  **
3.  111 Degree Heat Index ***
4.  Between Silence and Sound II ***
5.  Paranoid Tempo  **
6.  End Truth *
7.  Bottom Line II ***
8.  Wavering **
9.  Bass Salts **
10.  Drained **
11.  Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun **
12.  Drum Jam **

* New
** Previously unreleased/limited availability
*** Alternate Version

The Review

A lot of music fans don't carry much of an affinity for 'collections'. We feel that they can be a cheap cash-in of sorts, maybe filler between real albums and such like. What Kylesa have on offer here though aren't necessarily off cuts that they didn't deem worthy of committing to past releases. No sir. This is the good stuff.

'From the Vaults Vol.1' is stuffed with various jams recorded by Savannah's favourite heavy sons (and daughter) between 2005 and 2012.  Admittedly it may well be the case that they didn't make it to the likes of 'Static Tensions' or 'Spiral Shadow', but I feel the only reason for this is because Kylesa are masters of the lost art of making an album. A true album, with feel and ebb and flow. If it doesn’t fit, then it doesn’t fit. But it could still be very good and that's just what all these are: very good. Too good to not see the light of day.

'Intro' is just that, a short psychedelic pace setter that eases the listener in, preparing them for the impending assault. Its successor and true album opener 'Inverse' is a bruiser right off the line. It never relents with its solid chuggy riff and twisted vocals backed by the signature pounding, almost tribal rhythms of the drumming. Kylesa's dual drum attack (YES: there are TWO of them) isn't just a gimmick or an attempt to really fill a stage completely. It's the driving force of most of their music. When witnessed live it sounds huge and bombastic, so big you can feel it vibrating in your lungs. And it's just as important on record too.  This is definitely evident on 'III Degree Heat Index' with it's rolling percussion not only complimenting the heavier aspects of that track but also the quieter, again more psychedelic aspects of that trademark group sound.

Kylesa have always played that card particularly well; the quieter elements which exist within their music perfectly augment the sludgy backbone of their material. It's this highly varied approach that sets them apart within their field.  My favourite track on the album has to be 'Wavering'. It’s easily one of the best riffs they have ever created. It increases in pitch and climbs before resetting itself to begin the glorious ascent again. And what a heavy ascent it is, a true rager. Laura Pleasants displays her full vocal range here. She switches with ease between sultry and tempting softness to near tortured shouting and screaming. A standout performance within her history of this band.

Also included to round off the disc are two covers: Buzz*oven's 'Drained' sounds like a dying animal lurching across a bleak landscape. Truly almost harrowing, in a good way. In stark contrast to this is a firm fan live favourite, 'Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun' by the legendary Pink Floyd. It's terrific that this signature tune is now commercially available here for the first time in all its glory. It stays true to the vision of the original while tearing it up with its own sludgy spin.  All in all Kylesa are most definitely NOT fobbing you off here. This is a well produced and well presented package from a group that I have come to expect nothing less of. Fans of the band will surely flock to it, and hopefully it will attract some new followers to this hard working Georgian act. 'From the Vaults Vol.1' is not just a Kylesa collection: it's an exciting cross-section of their existence. Long may they continue?


“From The Vaults, Vol.1”available to buy here


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