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Kylesa Don’t Look Back on the Past in ‘Spiral Shadow’

Dusdin Condren

‘Static Tensions’ marked a new level of success for the Southern gents and gal of Kylesa. The album perfected the band’s psychedelic riff assault, while fully capturing their double-percussion pummeling. Seemingly heartless in its breathless approach, ‘Static Tensions’ ended up on many best of 2009 lists. The follow-up, ‘Spiral Shadow,’ has been long awaited, but many have wanted the Savanna, Ga. band to simply make ‘Static Tensions Part Two.’

“We were in a different place and time when we wrote that record. It wouldn’t have come out right, so it would have been pointless for us to try,” guitarist/vocalist Phillip Cope told Noisecreep, detailing how the band just couldn’t return to where they’ve already been. “I realize some people won’t be completely stoked that ['Spiral Shadow'] is not completely brutal (like some of our other stuff). Hopefully there’s enough of the old stuff in there that people will give it a fair shot.”

‘Spiral Shadow’ is a heavy record — make no mistake — but the true power of the album is in the refrain. Where the band once knelt in glory to the gods of stoner rock, Kylesa now draw from Fugazi-like guitar layering. This album demands more than two speakers.

“I think the hardest thing with this record is it’s a grower,” said Cope, adding a personal hope that those missing the previous albums will give this one a few spins at full attention. “It’s not a record you can download onto your computer and give it a quick listen. I know some of our fans have been wanting us to go more in that direction. Hopefully those groups of people will be stoked.”

On first listen, ‘Spiral Shadow’ seems drunk on effects and guitars, but as Cope revealed, mixing it was even worse. “We realized some of the tracks were too much. We had 72 tracks on the first song, and we’re like, ‘Oh s—, there’s no way to mix this.’ I scaled it down. I kept the parts that I thought really needed to be there. Most of that stuff we can pull off live,” he paused. “Most of it.”

The more spacious and trippy parts have brought on questions of where exactly Kylesa fit in terms of musical genre. “It’s really not a concern,” Cope admitted as he shrugged off new labels of heavy indie rock. “We’ve never been concerned with where our fans come from. Anybody that gets into it we’re stoked they come along.”

‘Spiral Shadow’ hits stores on Oct. 26.

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