The shifting movement of red hot sand, spiralling around the withered trunk of a gnarled tree are among the hypnotic visions KYLESA evoke with “Spiral Shadow”. Drawing deeply from the roots nourishing their unique sound with the essence of crust punk, psychedelic and stoner rock as well as sludge metal, the US-band is tapping into an even deeper musical universe than ever before. It all begins in Savannah, Georgia, where guitarist and singer Philipp Cope founds KYLESA together with Brian Duke on bass and drummer Christian Depken of his former Sluge Metal act DAMAD during the year 2001. They are joined by singer and guitarist Laura Pleasants from North Carolina, who at the time attended the Savannah College of Art and Design.
The name KYLESA is derived from the Buddhist concept of “kilesa mara” meaning delusionary states of the mind. The band essentially came from a Crust Punk background, which DAMAD was a part of and like NEUROSIS included weird effects into its sound. Cope and Duke were admittedly big fans of the latter, but also deeply into the Stoner Rock scene and other styles of hard guitar driven music. To this fundament Pleasants contributed her own liking of Crust, Punk and Thrash Metal as well as Black Sabbath, Pink Floyd and Deep Purple. This eclectic mixture of tastes converged into their heavily explosive debut “Kylesa” (2002), which has been aptly described as a Metal-Punk hybrid with sombre guitar attacks, groove laden drumming and brutally corrosive vocals.
In May 2001 KYLESA were well on their way to finish the recordings of their debut album and a first show with MASTODON and CREAM ABDUL BARBAR was played in their hometown Savannah on June 2, 2001. Only four days late tragedy struck: bassist Brian Duke died from an epileptic seizure during the night of the 6th of June. After a painful period of grief and mourning the band decided to honour their late bass player and close friend by finishing the record and two more songs where added with the help of local friend Michael Redmond taking over Duke’s bass duties.
KYLESA inked their first deal and released the 7″ EP “Point of Stillness” (2002) shortly before their self-titled debut “Kylesa” (2002) was finally unleashed, which had already been recorded one year before. The artwork for both releases was created by famous graphic designer Pushead, who is probably best known for his work for METALLICA and his band logo remains in use until today. Corey Barhorst joined KYLESA during the year 2002 as a permanent replacement for Duke. Barhorst already contributed to their split EP with Memento Mori (2002), which was quickly followed by a split album with Floridians Cream Abdul Babar (2003).
Ever since the year 2002 the band has turned the road into their second home and toured heavily all over the US and increasingly from 2005 onwards added the cities of Europe to their places of residence. As regards recordings KYLESA found the next outlet for their burgeoning creativity with another EP titled “No Ending/110 Heat Index” (2004), Christian Depken deserted his drum stool, on which Brandon Baltzley took seat next. Baltzley joined just in time for the recording of KYLESA’s sophomore album “To Walk a Middle Course”, but left soon again after its release in 2005.
This renewed vacancy on the drum post turned out to be a blessing for KYLESA as the band then decided to have two drummers with Savannah local Carl McGinley of Unpersons and Jeff Porter joining in 2006. This dual drum attack added a new dimension to KYLESA’s already unique sound and was first employed on their third album “Time Will Fuse Its Worth” (2006). By now the band had gained a large domestic following and largely become internationally recognised as well. The constant touring took its toll as the band parted ways with Corey Barhorst in 2007, who rejoined in 2009. Also during 2007, McGinley, Cope and Pleasants recorded two Pink Floyd cover songs: “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun” and “Interstellar Overrdrive”. The latter appeared on a “Tribute to Syd Barett”, while the former was offered on the KYLESA Myspace page for free downloading. Laura Pleasants regards these recordings as a turning point since she started to sing seriously for the first time and kept developing her striking vocals ever after.
During the year 2008 Porter could not join in for the next European tour and was in turn replaced by Eric Hernandez, who was recommended to the band by their friends from TORCHE and also appeared on KYLESA’s highly acclaimed fourth full length “Static Tensions” (2009). On both sides of the Atlantic critics and fans strongly applauded this release and the band received an invitation to embark on a tour with MASTODON, which gained them even more attention. With their style now firmly established KYLESA finally substituted Porter with Tyler Newberry to keep the impact of their twin drumming.
With their new line-up KYLESA went into studio to record the successor of their masterpiece “Static Tensions”. Album number five received the title “Spiral Shadow” and was the first release in the band’s new partnership with international label Season of Mist. Unleashed in October 2010 “Spiral Shadow” immediately scored a hit and entered charts on both sides of the Atlantic. KYLESA gained several “Album of the Month” titles in major magazines like Metal Hammer, Rock Sound, and Visions as well as being featured on the front covers of Terrorizer and Inferno Magazine among others. Several tours through Europe and the US with bands like CONVERGE and HIGH ON FIRE among others are currently following or in preparation. With “Spiral Shadow” KYLESA have fine tuned their formula, which has come close to perfection now. Let the fiery passion of these burning riffs engulf you!
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