In Buddhist parlance, “kilesa mara” is a delusional mental condition; that concept seemed like a fitting handle when Kylesa christened themselves a decade ago. The Savannah, Ga., quintet rose from the ashes of southern Sludge Metal outfit Damad, utilizing the band’s original members (including guitarist/vocalist Phillip Cope, widely recognized as the prime mover within the Savannah Metal scene), adding guitarist Laura Pleasants and shifting to a sound that incorporated Doom Metal riffage, psychedelic frippery and Jazz syncopation.
In May 2001, Kylesa began recording its debut album and played its debut show in Savannah with Mastodon the following month. Less than a week later, bassist Brian Duke died after suffering a late night epileptic seizure.
After the album’s release, bassist/vocalist Corey Barhorst joined the band (he left in 2007 and returned in 2009) and in 2005, Kylesa replaced their departing second drummer with two timekeepers, Carl McGinley and Jeff Porter, who was ultimately supplanted by Eric Hernandez and then Tyler Newberry.
Regardless of the numerous lineup shifts, Kylesa has maintained a steady sonic course, offering up a blistering amalgam of relentless Metal thunder, staccato bursts of Punk energy and a swirling haze of psychedelic paisley smoke. Kylesa has long been a favorite of fellow Doom Metal giants Mastodon, who have taken their charges on a number of tours, giving them invaluable and wide-ranging exposure. The band’s fifth album, Spiral Shadow, was released last fall to almost universally positive reviews and the record nearly cracked the Top 10 of Billboard’s Heatseeker Albums chart. Shadow stands as the pinnacle of Kylesa’s black-hole heavy catalog.If you think you’re hearing the most rhythmic Sherman tank in military history, it might just be the neighbors gearing up for the Kylesa show.
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