Album review: Kylesa – Exhausting Fire

Who: Savannah, GA band Kylesa

For: those about to rock

How acquired: bought at a record store in Grand Rapids, MI

Non-numerical rating that won’t be consistently applied when reviewing other things: Really good, not boring, lots of rocking, repeated listens guaranteed

Link to sample and buy album though I need to figure out if Amazon still does that thing where I get some kind of clicked link kickback but that’s not a big deal anyway, I bought this in an actual store and that’s what’s important: right here.

I found out about Kylesa when they opened for Corrosion Of Conformity at this event called Dark Lord Day. You would probably label them “stoner rock” but I’m not you and I don’t care for stoners myself so I try to avoid that term. But I streamed an album or two on Spotify and liked what I heard, but never bought anything (until now).

One comparison that comes to mind that’s totally unfair is to the band Acid King. And it’s unfair because though they’re both female-fronted rock bands, with spacy vocals and some doomy riffs, that’s pretty much where any similarity ends.

What you get here is an album that start-to-almost-finish rocks. Acid King drones on and on where this picks up the pace and has a lot more variety, often altering the speed and tone within the short songs, while still finding time to explore those outer reaches of space rock.

ALSO, the vocal duties are split between the lady and one of the fellas. The guy sometimes sounds like someone from Depeche Mode or some droning bass-less goth rock before occasionally lightening up. Thankfully it is completely unlike those nu-metal bands where someone sings all pretty-like and then hardcore backwards baseball cap metal guy sings the hardcore chorus. Nope, these two just split the vocals like it’s no big calculated thing. Maybe it IS, but then that’d be some awesome math pulled off because neither voice ever feels out of place.

The only “wha?” track on here is a slowed down version of Black Sabbath’s** “Paranoid.” If there’s one classic Sabbath song you don’t make your own extended jam of, I would think it would be this one. I’m not saying Megadeth’s*** true-to-source version holds up just as well. The original (and its pace) definitely my personal preference, and the only downer of this album for me. (It’s also listed as “bonus” on my CD so who knows if it’s available on every format.)

What I most enjoy as a single track is the actual closer: “Out Of My Mind.” It’s short but it’s PACKED, both vocals are brilliantly on display here, there’s a bit of noodling with the desert wind in the background, it sounds very epic and then the album’s over and I want to listen to it again.

If you’re familiar with latter Celestial Season (who?) or Torche, both are better references as far as how the rocking goes.

-RwC Paul

** I’m not telling you who that is.

*** I’m DEFINITELY not telling you who that is.

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