QUESTION OF THE WEEK: WHAT DO YOU THINK OF KYLESA?
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Welcome to “Question of the Week,” a (sometimes) weekly debate amongst the MetalSucks staff regarding a recent hot button issue.
As regular MetalSucks readers are no doubt aware, our own Vince Neilstein doesn’t really see what the big deal is about Kylesa, while our own Sammy O’Hagar thinks they’re the cat’s pajamas, and actually started his recent review of Kylesa’s Spiral Shadow with the phrase “Vince, you ignorant slut.” Looking through the comments section of the various pieces we’ve run on Kylesa, it seems readily apparent that you readers are divided on this issue as well. So this seemed like a good time to ask the rest of our writers:
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF KYLESA?
The MS staff’s answers after the jump.
Despite what Sammy O’Hagar says about Kylesa supposedly “pissing all over genre lines,” I’d argue the exact opposite: they do exactly what’s expected of them in their given genre. And therein lies the problem. Their riffs are predictable, their songs all sound the same and any supposed experimentation is only done within the confines of the sub-genre’s given lines. They also completely waste a drummer; that extra dude could be off in some other band doing something really cool, but instead he’s confined to essentially doubling what the other guy is doing (with minor variations, perhaps). There could be some awesome polyrhythmic experimentation, creative drum interplay, different kinds of kits — but nope, just what’s expected from a single drummer in this type of band. From what I’ve seen all of the musicians in Kylesa, not just their drummers, are competent enough but wholly unspectacular. Which is perfectly fine as long as you’ve got killer songs, but again Kylesa miss in that department.
The bottom line: Kylesa aren’t a BAD band, per se… they’re just ordinary, so in that way I don’t really have a bone to pick with the band members themselves; just the fans who fall hook, line and sinker for this band’s brand of averageness. If the members are Kylesa are playing music that’s in their hearts — which I do believe they are — well, that’s great… it just happens to be extremely overrated by a body of fans that, by and large (Sammy O’ excepted), don’t know shit about music.
I’m not a lover and I’m not a hater. I honestly haven’t listened to Spiral Shadow yet, because there’s only so many hours in a day and I’ve got a bajillion albums I need to listen to, and, well, I knew Sammy was gonna do the review and I didn’t think I’d really have to write about the album… so I guess that tells you that I’m not a very big fan. Thing is, I dug Static Tensions and, especially, Time Will Fuse Its Worth, and the two or three times I’ve seen Kylesa live, I’ve had a good time. I don’t know why they need two drummers — I didn’t even know they had two drummers until someone told me, so that’s a bad sign — and I don’t know why some people hail them as the Second Coming. But they’re talented cats, and I bear them no ill will. I’d certainly take them over 99% of the shit people send us on a daily basis, that’s for damn sure.
Oh, this is so unfair. Now I’m forced to state that listening to Kylesa is boring as whaleshit. Performing Kylesa songs seems fun, though, for all their non-committal noodling and buried, superfluous vocals. And that’s when the guitar-guitar-bass tandem isn’t too in love with their plodding, repetitive riffs to permit vocal accompaniment. Take all of this for what it’s worth from a three-time listener of one Kylesa record, but I suspect this band needs a dominant personality, a gatekeeper type, who’ll require higher-quality riffs and judicious editing. Now, sure, it’s cool when their beardo perv-bait female guitarist steps to the mic, ‘cuz then the band kinda sounds like Helium. Otherwise, I won’t hear Kylesa music again until the next time I’m at a tattoo shop in Chicago. Jeez, this QOTW makes me sound like a jerk, and all on account of one young band; in the interest of balance, can we make next week’s question “How do you feel about Dangerous Toys?”
Kylesa’s last record, Static Tensions, didn’t do much for me, a professed lover of the sludge. I haven’t been paying much attention to the debate over this band on our site, because unlike our readers, I have sex with women. However, this international playboy decided to take a night off to catch up on the controversy and listen to the new Kylesa album, Spiral Shadow, whilst drinking Courvoisier in my jacuzzi. My verdict is as follows.
I don’t care whether the two drummer thing is a gimmick. I don’t even notice it all that much, frankly. Melvins, the godfathers of sludge, currently have two drummers, and both of them are amazing, and you can tell on records like The Bride Screamed Murder that they are actively exploring the sonic potential of the dueling drummer dynamic. I don’t get that with Kylesa. But that actually doesn’t matter. That’s a red herring, meant to distract from the substance of the band’s sound. The new stuff isn’t groundbreaking, but it’s above average beardo fare. And I’ve got a beard — so Kylesa is all right by me.
Okay, kiddies, now it’s your turn! Weigh in with your answer to the question of the week below.