Another Of Georgia’s Finest
Bands with two drummers are hardly a new item. Titans of rock such as Genesis and Yes have been utilizing multiple percussionists for decades, and sludge pioneers Melvins absorbed Big Business to create a double drum powerhouse. However, it takes a special band to deploy two drummers effectively, and Georgia metalheads Kylesa have done it again with their fifth full-length Spiral Shadow.
Opener “Tired Climb” begins with a stoner’s wash of guitar backed by tom-heavy pounding before vocalist/guitarist Phillip Cope sounds off with his Kurt Brecht-inspired hardcore shout, his “in-your-face” verses punctuated by vocalist/guitarist Laura Pleasants’ softer choruses. The psychedelic strains of “Cheating Synergy” are dutifully anchored by bassist Corey Barhorst’s fuzzy melodies, and Pleasants’ lyrical harmonic tapping weaves a cohesive thread throughout.
“Don’t Look Back” and “To Forget” owe a huge debt to the melancholic alt-rock of the 90’s, tipping their hat to Smashing Pumpkins and Jane’s Addiction with appropriately low grinds. The title track lets Cope and Pleasants get their solos out, but the true stars are drummers Carl McGinley and newcomer Tyler Newberry, who build a superb foundation and keep everything rolling along. Finally, “Dust,” the closing track, is marvelously understated compared to the others, juxtaposing tribal drums and chainsaw-buzzing bass with smooth melodic guitars and baritone vocals, all sewn together by eerie, distant guitar-scapes.
Production-wise, Spiral Shadow is a shining example of modern Southern metal in the vein of bands like Mastodon (whom Kylesa have toured with) and Baroness. The vocals are often an undercurrent in the songs, which instead focus on densely layered guitars, solid low end, and the McGinley/Newberry dual drum assault. Wisely, Kylesa have opted to pan each drummer to his own side, giving the record an expansive and engrossing stereo field.
Fans of the inimitable brand of Georgia metal (Mastodon, Baroness, Harvey Milk) will not want to miss this one. Those who enjoy 90’s alt-rock and hardcore shouldn’t miss this either. Aw, heck, everybody go get this!