Sound — 7
Sludge metalholics Kylesa are boldly making their return to the music world this year with their first studio album in three years: "Ultraviolet." The band itself are not newcomers to the genre, and have been active since early 2000, releasing their debut self-titled record back in 2002. Since their debut the band has been establishing itself amongst fans of the genre with their unique musical style comprised of psychedelic rock and heavy metal elements. When it comes to their new album, the band sought out to do something different as compared to their earlier outings, promising a collection of songs that would be "darker lyrically and sonically." After listening to the album, I cannot say that this is the case. Now I think it's safe to say that Kylesa's music has always had a dark feel to it, between the screaming vocals from lead vocalist Laura Pleasants and the racing guitar work showcased it some of the band's more well known songs, such as "Only One" and "Running Red." So when I listen to such new compositions as "Vulture's Landing," I'm admittedly a little confused by this statement, because it features all of these same elements. Granted Laura's singing style is lower pitched and depressive, but that is about the only difference between this album and those of the past. Racing guitar riffs, a thunderous percussion drum beat, all of those instrumental parts that fans have become accustomed to hearing in a Kylesa album are all here. For the most part it's a good album from their standards, but there was really no need to overexaggerate.
Lyrics — 6
Lead vocalist Laura Pleasants switches up her performance on "Ultraviolet." While Kylesa's earlier works gave her an opportunity to belt a maelstrom of headache-inducing angst screams, she uses this album to show that she's more than just a raging metal vocalist, and switches her style over to something that more heavily resembles that of the work of Paramore and other modern grunge-influenced acts. Throughout the new album Laura will continuously switch between depressive swooning to moderate anger-inspired singing styles, which sometimes helps benefit the specific track, but more often than not is the weak factor.
Overall Impression — 7
All in all, Kylesa give a moderately enjoyable performance throughout their new album "Ultraviolet." Musically, it's the same old style of fast paced power chords that fans will have come to expect from the band. But vocally Kylesa take upon a completely alternate style that in the end doesn't work towards the benefit of the album as a whole. What it comes down to is that the band promised an album that was darker lyrically and sonically, but all Kylesa do with "Ultraviolet" is give themselves an unnecessary downgrade.