Kylesa at Triple Rock, 6/3/13

Categories: Last Night
Photo by Erik Hess
with Blood Ceremony and White Hills
Triple Rock Social Club, Minneapolis
Monday, June 3, 2013

Kylesa made a return to Triple Rock after some years of absence, and it remains the best venue to see the pummeling Georgia five-piece. This was a solid metal show from start to finish, and the crowd showed some real genuine love and energy for all the bands on the bill.

The Sabbath-inspired White Hills slowly built with the help of hypnotic vocal samples towards big, sprawling songs that locked onto single notes with slight but precisely chosen variation. The riffing was interrupted by the occasional burst of indulgent noise guitar, which was transcendent when it worked and lightly obnoxious when it didn't. Some straight-up, classic heavy music, the songs exceeded the 7 minute point usually, but warranted it thanks to simply crafted yet affecting melodies.
Photos by Erik Hess
Blood Ceremony followed, with frontwoman Alia O'Brien setting an eerie tone on vocals, organ, and flute. Prog rock and Jethro Tull waltzed with doom metal the likes of Sleep and Electric Wizard, with some heavy low-end and slightly trite fantasy-realm lyrics (subject matter included wizardry, "diabolical twins," and witch cults). It's some tightly realized acid folk mixed with first wave doom, and it sounded excellent in the context of the night. Many of the songs got some of the biggest responses of the night, and the band looked very happy to play to the appreciative audience.

By the time Kylesa rolled out for their gear-heavy soundcheck, people were already cheering in anticipation. With two drummers, stacks of random keys and widgets (including a skateboard modded into a theramin), and at least three guitars per player, it was an ambitious set even watching the set-up. By the time opener "Said and Done" pounded out, the audience was already thrashing violently to the gigantic sound. It was non-stop from that point on, and even the lighter songs managed to fill the huge space on the same level as the heaviest material. Some of their latest material, like "Unspoken" and "Don't Look Back," which can lean too shoegazey for this reviewer's taste, stood as the crunchiest riffs of the night. There was no room for anything less than a gigantic, unfaltering wall of sound.

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While you do seem to have enjoyed the show, I do not think you are giving enough attention to the fact that Kylesa is the new priest-king of Metal and the they have  killed Mastodon with their superior listenability (as of their similar forays into effects-heavy and arrangement/songwriting focused efforts) and Charles Dickens-esque prolificacy. It is just that the Hunter was meaningless & over-produced riffing and the band peaked with Blood Mountain, with Crack the Skye as a close & excellent 2nd akin to what Dark Side of the Moon sounds like. 

Also, you mention that there were women at the concert. But you should've screamed the fact. This heavy music does not just rock but it is actually Good & melodious in the way that Behemoth is the opposite of (abrasive). The fact that these songs should all be on the radio and that this band is totally everything that rock and roll should be but is not is enough evidence for my claim. Chicks can dig it and it totally kicks ass. Enough said. 

The last point I need to make about this band is that they actually have something to say. Most metal shows leave me feeling broken and stunned but Kylesa finds a way to be inspirational without being cheesy. These musicians really mean what they're doing and they write brilliant, inspired lyrics. Kylesa is the best thing metal has going for it right now. All Hail Kylesa.

One more thing. The band White Hills was an example of what a guitar player should NOT do with technology- Lots of auto-wah and every "guitar solo" was a conglomeration of high pitched noises filled with pointless wooooshing. Kylesa dominated with the theramin and taped effects, all utilizing their instruments as if wielding subtle weapons; they never overplay and every note is effective and they are tight all through the set. Even if you didn't enjoy the music at parts, it was challenging and never made you lose interest. They were consistently well-organized despite the chaotic nature of the style, which is something that only the Greats in metal can claim about themselves. This is probably because they have two separated at birth but retaining the same heartbeat on the drums, a bass player who knows when to rock his part, and twin front-people who intertwine their vocal/guitar parts with perfect balance. 10/10 Best Concert I have seen so far.

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