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3 stars Static Tensions is the 4th full-length studio album by American sludge metal act Kylesa. The album was released in March 2009 by Prosthetic Records.

The music on the album is powerful and at times adventurous sludge metal. Filthy and raw vocals, occasional tribal drumming and some heavy and raw sounding guitars are some of the ingredients on the album. The opening track Scapegoat even features some punk/ rockīnīroll elements. The quality of the tracks is high, the musicianship great and the production powerful. Static Tensions is simply put a quality product. When that is said Iīd like to hear more memorable moments as some of the songs donīt stand out enough. When the band are most adventurous or rock out they really shine though. A 3 - 3.5 star rating is well deserved.

Report this review (#426975)
Posted Sunday, April 3, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars 8/10

"Static Tensions" is one of the most enjoyable Stoner Metal releases of the last few years.

Kylesa are an American Sludge/Stoner Metal band; 'Static Tensions' is their fourth album, the LP that finally brought them up to popularity among the stoner metal community, after a few, more average and disappointing albums.

The first thing you notice in 'Static Tensions' is how different it sounds compared to previous Kylesa material: it is clear the band have found their own, original take on this kind of music. They have massive Sludge Metal/Hardcore Punk influences in most of the vocals , as well as in the heavy, crunchy, and extremely loud guitars; but the original aspect of the music is probably the rhythm section, which often incorporates more exotic percussive patterns that replace simple drum fills. However, the drummer in this band does not hesitate in blasting bursts of velocity, making Kylesa basically sound like the more drugged out, intense and in- your-face cousin of Mastodon. The great thing about this new style is that slower, clean moments are not rare, and still hint at that Psychedelic feel that is just as powerful as in the more intense moments, especially thanks to the clever addition of female vocals and the hazy production chops.

'Static Tensions', in it's most intense passages, reminds not only of the Hardcore flashes but also of clever, well structured Sludge Metal. Despite this raw blend, Kylesa manage to be extremely accessible in every single song, proving amazing songwriting skills. It is pretty rare to find a band that can successfully write catchy melodies, be adventurous, and surround you with total, blissful distortion, all at the same time.

With only forty minutes 'Static Tensions' is by far the most solid Kylesa album. Although each song maintains a similar style (the clean moments though are all different from one another), they never bore all together, and together shine as one. Of course, there are specific highlights, like the amazingly face-bashing first track 'Scapegoat', the more dualistic (soft and aggressive) nature of 'Running Red', the hypnotic atmosphere of 'To Walk Alone', or the straight-forward catchiness of 'Almost Lost'. Each and every one of these songs has a different character, many of them present a different structural form, and all together they form a quite functional family of tough boys.

'Static Tensions' is an extremely enjoyable, fun, catchy, and aggressive listen, despite not being the most cheerful camper out there. Yet, the solemnity of this band's music could add some new canons to future traditional Sludge Metal.

Report this review (#1071900)
Posted Monday, November 4, 2013 | Review Permalink
2 stars I am pretty surprised to see this record listed on the prog archives. A dry as bones sludge metal album, there's nothing particularly progressive about it. And, with the exception of the first few tracks, there isn't all that much interesting or memorable about it either. The album kicks it all off with punk-rock-like fury that, mixed with a narly sludge metal guitar tone, really sets the expectation that this is going to be a promising record. But it never fully delivers.

The riffs, by the end of the record, are standard fare and the more melodic and emotional components kind of just feel souless (I know that's subjective but it is what it is). The recording of two sepatate drummers, one panned to the left, the other to right, is really just a gimmick and adds nothing to the music. This record is only worthwhile if you are already a big fan of sludge.

Report this review (#2436325)
Posted Sunday, August 9, 2020 | Review Permalink

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