Usually, the higher my expectations for an album, the less likely it is that I will like it straight out of the chute.
Thus, I really wasn't sure how things were going to go when I first sat down to listen to the new album by Kylesa. I had liked everything I had heard from this band so far. In particular, I had liked their previous album - 2006's "Time Will Fuse Its Worth" - quite a bit. I also knew that the band had added a second drummer (sick!), and this intrigued me a great deal.
So I guess you could say that expectations were somewhat high, even though I was trying to be open-minded.
And then I started listening...
The first track was awesome. I started banging my head right away. The second track was excellent, too. I started smiling right there in the room, with nobody around to see it. I just knew I was getting into someting good. By the time I got to track four (still one of my favorites), I was grinning from ear to ear, and saying out loud (again, for no one in particular to hear), "I love this freakin' album!". By the time the album had finished, I had found this year's equivalent to 2007's "Red Album" by Baroness - at least in terms of how I had reacted to it. (Ironically, those two bands are not only from the same general part of the country, but are good friends - and you can hear their influences on each other throughout their music.)
I had expected to like the Red Album a great deal. By the time I got through my first listen, I was grinning from ear to ear, and it eventually became my "album of the year" for 2007. I had expected to like Static Tensions as well, and my reaction was almost identical. So far, it ranks among the best of 2009. It really is that good.
The tandem drummers add texture to each others' playing like no other band with two drummers I have ever heard (not that there have been that many, I admit). The three-way vocals I have always loved are still there, and in fact they are better than ever. The twin lead guitar attack of Laura Pleasants and Phillip Cope is as awesome as ever. Infectious grooves are expertly woven all over this album, but yet it is also absolutely crushing in places. The punk influence is palpable (and very welcome!). Similarities in sound and style with other great bands such as Baroness, Russian Circles and Torche abound. The production is better than any other album Kylesa has ever released (for example, the dual drum attack is often split between the right and left channels, giving the listener even more of the percussive "texture" I talked about above).
In short, this album is nothing short of amazing.
I recommend you go out and buy this album immediately. If you like Baroness, Russian Circles, Torche, High on Fire, or other similar bands, then I absolutely INSIST that you go out and buy it. In fact, for those in the second group, I suggest even more highly that you go find a way to get tickets to their current tour with Mastodon and IntrOnaut (two other incredible bands), and then buy the album in person at the show (that way, the band gets all of the proceeds). Laura Pleasants is fun to watch live, because she is one of the few metal chicks out there who is not a gimmick - she is the real deal. The twin drum setup is gnarly, too. You won't be disappointed.