If I were the Program Director at KTBR (Tripping Balls Radio) I would put Kylesa's most recent effort, Ultraviolet, into the heavy rotation bin, kick back in the DJ booth with a doob and watch the doors of perception come unhinged. Not that these longtime Savannah, Ga. metal maestros are a latter day psych-rock outfit gussied in tie-dye tees bent on performing 12 minutes of go-nowhere guitar goofery. Instead, on tracks like "Exhale," the band keeps things tidy, blending the atmospheric elements of doom metal and shoegaze: The wistful, spooked-out keyboards and the fuzzy, echoed vocals of guitarists Laura Pleasants and Phillip Cope combine with sludge-a-riffic riffery and the pounding attack of double drummers.
"Exhale," along with the Southern rock groove of "Grounded," are classic Kylesa, but the heavy and trippy tracks like "We're Taking This" and "Unspoken" seem to be the yellow brick road Kylesa will travel on future records. As Ultraviolet rolls toward its end, a myriad of non-metal influences arise, including My Bloody Valentine, Joy Division and the Beatles. For some metal "purists" (you know, the dudes who love Metallica's "black album") Kylesa's latest growth ring could be a hard sell. But as Timothy Leary said, "You can always pick up your needle and move to another groove."
Kylesa plays the Palace Sat., Oct. 19, at 9 PM with Pinkish Black, Sierra and Grunt. $13. Tickets available at totalfest.org.This article was updated on Thu., Oct. 17, to correct the fan term for Metallica's "black album."