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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Zac's "Double Dose": HALMOS / Kylesa


HALMOS: Exist 

This week's Double Dose covers the vast array of musical genres we love and promote here at Heavy Planet... Doom, check. Psychedelic, check. Sludge, check. And last, but certainly not least, Stoner Rock, check and double check. What could be better? How about the fact that both bands are Georgia based, rich with that southern sludge flowing through their veins. This is stacking up to be one of the mightiest 'Doses the 'Planet has conjured. So, enough of this pussyfootin' shuffle, lets get to the music. 

Reg introduced us to HALMOS last year as a NBTBOT. As newcomers to the game HALMOS had their work cut out for them. Shaping their doom-laden sludge as a duo proved effective, however the dudes wanted the crust of the earth to waiver and shake beneath them, opening the gates to the mantle and giving way to a sea of liquid magma. HALMOS have achieved their desired goal by redefining their very anatomy. Having now added another guitarist and a bass player HALMOS' sound is full, complete. With four-horsemen in saddle HALMOS refined some old stuff, created some new stuff and produced Exist. Still driving each track is a doom-paced march, steadily craving away sea and earth. No folks, we hardly break into a gallop in Exist. Trodding along decimating everything in its path Exist grows with immense distortion and something rare... all four musician's vocals. This could be a stumbling block for some, but HALMOS excel and add a new depth to the southern sludge scene with this characteristic. Be sure to spin my favorite track Outcry below. Packed with intelligent percussion and a tribal flair, Outcry is one of the few tracks that speed things up and implements a dynamic range of vocalization and timing. Lastly, check out the upcoming HALMOS tour dates this summer here and support them by pickin' up a copy Exist at bandcamp.

Casey Yarbrough - Guitar // Vocals 
Corey Briley - Guitar // Vocals 
Melanie Maher - Bass // Vocals 
Travis Anderson - Drums // Vocals



Kylesa: Ultraviolet 

Wake up! Breathe in! Exhale! Initiate dream sequence. Welcome to the conception of Kylesa's latest album, fittingly named Ultraviolet. Wasting absolutely no time in announcing Ultraviolet as their own, Kylesa's first track, Exhale, stomps with that signature percussive heavy sound. For those readers unfamiliar with the Georgia progressive mud-slingers, its time to crawl out from your cave. Kylesa are one of the most dynamic five-pieces to hit the metal scene... the music scene. Period. Ultraviolet is their sixth full length release and follow-up to the totally excellent 2010 release Spiral Shadow. Brandishing a more progressive rock tone with Spiral Shadow, Kylesa began redefining the Georgia-sludge genre that they helped established. Rather than regressing Kylesa have continued to challenge their creative core (and that of their fans) and construct something authentic from the black and white sludge canvas they started with some ten years ago. Kylesa have transitioned to a gray scale, adding magnitudes of depth and texture, with the releases Static Tension and Spiral Shadow. Finally, with the delivery of Ultraviolet Kylesa display their full manipulation of sonic frequency, creating what I would like to call the cosmic technicolor orchestra. Much more psychedelic sounding, huh? That's exactly what I found on Ultraviolet

The new dynamics Kylesa has bred into their sound level the playing field, very similar to what Baroness did last year with Yellow & Green. Also similar to Yellow & Green, I discovered as Ultraviolet plays each track becomes a bit more experimental, a bit different from the initial sound we were introduced to, leaving the musicians vulnerable, baring everything. [Please do not take this as a direct comparison to Baroness, I don't mean it to be.]   All this bodes well for a group of musicians who remain flexible and versatile in this chaotic and ever changing landscape. One thing that Kylesa doesn't change is the victorious uproar that two drummers can create. Take one of my favorite tracks Long Gone. Immediately noticeable is the dual drumming and its prominence in the mix. Long Gone meanders gently until the one minute thirty second mark where everything disappears from the mix except the tribal beat from Carl McGinley and Eric Hernandez. The guitars quietly enter again followed by Laura Pleasants' lovely voice, giving Long Gone a dark pop-touch. There is a magnetic force about Laura Pleasants here on Ultraviolet compared to past releases. She has always had that grab you by the balls allure, but now the auditory combination of her raw aggression and elegant beauty produce a mysterious attraction that will pull all music lovers deeper into the Kylesa sphere. Low Tide is another step towards vulnerability for the band. Here influences from eighties shoegaze and pop shine brighter, as well as the overall psychedelic mood. Low Tide create a drowning feeling and Laura enchants with dreamy vocals leaving listeners very comfortable while Phillip Cope encourages with the lyrics, "It's not the end." Vulture's Landing promptly follows up with a more familar Kylesa sound. The bass and percussion grind away at the clock while heavy, southern inspired RIFFS press us forward. Laura's vocals again surface in that same dreamy sense although now in with more foreboding tone. 

In a recent review Coverkiller Nation coined the description Dream Sludge while speaking about Ultraviolet. I like that and think its a fitting description for this new wave release from one of Georgia's finest and most talented. Implementing the right elements from psychedelic, pop, progressive, and shoegaze styles Kylesa have illustrated themselves not only in technicolor and ultraviolet but also infrared and any wave length your nerdy metal-mind can concoct. Pick up your copy now from Seasons of Mist or your favorite retailer.

Carl McGinley - Drums 
Chase Rudeseal - Bass 
Eric Hernandez - Drums 
Laura Pleasants - Vocals // Guitar 
Phillip Cope - Vocals // Guitar // Theremin

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