Background information
Origin Savannah, Georgia, USA
Genres Sludge Metal, Progressive Metal, Crust Punk, Post-Hardcore, Psychedelic Rock
Years active 2001 - 2016 (Hiatus)
Labels Prank, Hyperrealist, Prosthetic, Season of Mist, Retro Futurist
Associated acts Unpersons, Black Tusk, Corrosion of Conformity, Capricorns, Damad, The Discussion, Oakskin, Meatjack, Trilobite, Torche
Website Official Page

Kylesa are a band from Savannah, Georgia. They are known for being a sludge band while incorporating elements of psychedelic, progressive and groove to scratch the surface, evolving their sound throughout a career spanning fifteen years while touring the world abroad. Initially a quartet the band's lineup would constantly evolve, at one point becoming a quintet with two drummers. Kylesa began as a gritty sludge act but evolved into something more psychedelic and progressive, growing with each album as one of the key players in Georgia's burgeoning sludge scene at the time.

They released seven studio albums along with a host of other releases in their initial tenure and managed to tour around the world. Though the lineup had constantly changed at times, guitarist/vocalists Laura Pleasants and Phillip Cope were the core members throughout the entire duration. As of April 2016 the band is on an indefinite hiatus.

The band's name stems from "kilesa mara", a Buddhist term denoting delusory mental states.


Ceaseless Becoming: The Beginnings of Kylesa (2001 - 2004)Edit

Prior to Kylesa's formation, three of the founding members had previously played in Damad, a Savannah-based band that performed a mix of sludge and crust punk. Philip Cope in particular had been described as the Savannah "metal scene's godfather." He began playing in hardcore punk groups in the late 1980s, and in 1992 booked groups such as Buzzoven and Neurosis at a local all-ages club. Damad would disband in 2001 with Cope, Christian Depken and Brian Duke all wanting to start a band together. With the addition of Laura Pleasants (a native of North Carolina who attended the Savannah College of Art and Design.) Kylesa would form in early 2001 with their early sound being a mix of sludge, thrash and hardcore punk.

After recording the majority of their first record in May 2001, Kylesa played their first show with Mastodon and Cream Abdul Babar in Savannah, Georgia on 2 June 2001. On 6 June 2001, Brian Duke died from an epileptic seizure during the course of the night. The band decided to finish the recording in Brian's honor, wrote and recorded two more songs (where local bass player and friend Michael Redmond stepped in and played bass). The self-titled Kylesa was released on 2 April 2002 on Prank Records when artwork by Pushead was completed. Prior to the full LP, a single limited 7" was released on Prank also with Pushead art. The Pushead-designed Band Logo from these releases had been used on all the band's merchandise and releases ever since.

Corey Barhorst would be recruited as the band's new bassist at the time in time for recording new material. The first of many releases in this lineup would be a Split 7" with Memento Mori on 15 June 2002 via Hyperrealist. The band would adopt a noise-laden sludge sound with a five-part concept piece in "The Curse of Lost Days", all five parts appearing on a split with Cream Abdul Babar in early 2003. Early 2004 would see two more singles in Delusion on Fire / Clutches (via Scorched Earth) and No Ending / A 110° Heat Index (Via Prank Records with artwork by Pushead). Along with this is more frequent touring of the band, alongside the likes of Cream Abdul Babar, Victims and Darkest Hour. However, Christian Depken would leave the group not long after the release of both 7" singles. Brandon Baltzley would join the band as they would begin work recording their next record in October 2004.

To Walk A Middle Course: The Prosthetic Years (2005 - 2009)Edit

Now signed to Prosthetic Records, Kylesa would begin 2005 by touring with High on Fire (Whom were touring in support of Blessed Black Wings.). Produced by Alex Newport (At The Drive-In, Nailbomb), To Walk a Middle Course was released on 22 April 2005 to praise among metal critics. Baltzley would leave the band on 27 June 2005, leaving the band to get fill-in drummers for their first known European tour and a fall tour with Torche.[1] The band would begin work on new material while auditioning various drummers over the fall.[2][3]

A major turning point for the band would happen in early 2006, when the band would announce that they had found two new drummers (Thus making them a quintet) in Carl McGinley (of Unpersons) and Jeff Porter. This double-drum setup would remain with the band for the rest of their career in regards to live performances while in studio each drummer would perform on a respective channel.[4] The band would tour the USA with this lineup through the summer, performing a host of shows with the likes of Converge, Municipal Waste, Baroness and Dysrhythmia among others. Further evolving their blend of thrashy, crusty sludge Time Will Fuse Its Worth was released on Halloween 2006 via Prosthetic. The band would make plans for relentless touring although Barhost would get injured on 29 December, forcing the band to cancel an appearance at This Is For You Fest.[5] Kylesa would return to the road in early 2007 with The Hidden Hand, Genghis Tron and even an appearance on Lacuna Coil's "Hottest Chicks in Metal" tour (A tour Pleasants would later describe as "an experiment"). Porter would leave in late 2007 with Eric Hernandez as his replacement just in time for a tour of Europe with Baroness.

Emphasizing more tribal and progressive elements to their music, the band's fourth album Static Tensions was released on 17 March 2009 to widespread acclaim among metal critics as the band themselves began touring all over the States, Japan and Europe all through the year, one of the first tours of that year being with Mastodon whom praised them as a band who "blew a lot of people's expectations out of the water. Journalist David Peisner of Spin described them as "dark psych-metal titans," practicing an "aggressive [sound], but with a hazy, stoner vibe that suggests a strange amalgamation of Black Sabbath, Black Flag, and early Pink Floyd." By 2010, the band had sold over 75,000 albums as they would sign to Season To Mist on 8 April 2010.[6]

Cheating Synergy: Spiral Shadow and Ultraviolet (2010 - 2014)Edit

On 31 May 2010, Kylesa would go into the Jam Room to record their fifth studio album. Exhibiting more of a progressive metal sound with more cleaner vocals in songs, Spiral Shadow was released on 25 October 2010 as the band toured worldwide in support with the likes of Dark Castle, Converge, Torche and High on Fire. On live stages, Pleasants and Cope also had percussion set up to which the band would lock into tribal jams during some of the songs. Spiral Shadow attained worldwide acclaim and made a host of "Top Albums of the Year" lists (14 on Metacritic's Top Reviewed Albums,[7] 44 on Pitchfork's Top 50 albums of 2010[8] and 7 on Stereogum's top 50 albums of 2010.[9]

Following further touring around the world, Kylesa would release a host of their past material on From The Vaults Vol. 1 circa November 2012. Along with songs from previous singles it featured a brand new song in "End Truth" and previously unreleased covers of Pink Floyd and Buzzov*en. Around this time their longtime bassist in Corey Barhorst would leave the group, with Hernandez taking over live bass duties. Pleasants, Cope, Hernandez and McGinley would begin work on the next album. Recording of their sixth album took place from October - December 2012 with every member playing more than one instrument and Cope taking more of a "director role".[10][11]

Ultraviolet would be released on 28 May 2013 to critical praise, being described as one of their most layered efforts to date. Pleasants handled most of the vocals with the band itself taking a cleaner delivery throughout compared to their early, abrasive efforts. Ultraviolet also managed to hit the Billboard 200, peaking at 173 in the first weeks of it's release (also peaking at #4 on the Heatseekers chart). Attaining new live musicians in the fold, Kylesa would tour heavily in support of the record, along with their only tour of Australia and New Zealand to date, their only tour of Southeast Asia (Malaysia and Indonesia) and what would end up being their last tour of Europe in 2014. The band also made notable appearances at Hellfest, Inferno Metal Festival, Graspop Metal Meeting and Stoned From The Underground.

Inward Debate: Exhausting Fire and The Hiatus (2015 - 2016)Edit

In the Spring of 2015 the trio of Pleasants, Cope and McGinley (Along with a couple session musicians) would begin work on their seventh album. The band would perform only a couple shows in the Spring, mainly at Dark Lord Day and Psycho California. Further expanding on the moody psychedelic sludge the band had established in recent times, with Pleasants contributing the majority of the vocals. The band would premiere the first single from the forthcoming album in "Lost and Confused" on 28 July 2015.[12] With two more songs and eventually the whole album streamed in last September, Kylesa's seventh album Exhausting Fire would be released on 2 October 2015 to positive critical acclaim (Garnering an 82/100 on Metacritic based on six reviews) and peaking at 7 on the Billboard Top Heatseekers charts. The band would tour with the likes of Cult of Luna, Indian Handcrafts, Inter Arma and The Fall of Troy throughout the summer and fall in support of the album. The band's last known show to date was on 1 December 2015 in Memphis, TN.[13]

On 28 April 2016, Kylesa would announce an indefinite hiatus with "no plans to reconvene" in the following statement:

"To our fans and friends... After 15 years of nonstop touring and writing, we decided that it is time for a break. A lot of you have been asking when we are coming to your part of the world and that means a lot to us. However, we feel it should be known that as of now we have no plans to play any shows or work on any new material. We have collectively decided to take a hiatus with no set date to reconvene. We want to give a huge thanks to all our fans, friends, and family for the support over the years. It has been a killer journey and a real pleasure meeting so many amazing people along the way."[14]

Pleasants would begin a solo project known as The Discussion, more focused on an emphasis on rock and roll than metal.[15] The Discussion would tour Europe in the fall of 2017. Cope would reform Damad in 2016 though the state of that band is unknown with original vocalist Victoria Scalisi passing away in 2017.

Season of Mist would release Live at Maida Vale Studios on Record Store Day in 2017 (22 April), culling their live session in February 2014. On 8 September 2017 the label would also release a box set of the last three albums (Along with From The Vaults).


Studio AlbumsEdit

  • Kylesa (2002, Prank)
  • To Walk A Middle Course (2005, Prosthetic)
  • Time Will Fuse Its Worth (2006, Prosthetic)
  • Static Tensions (2009, Prosthetic)
  • Spiral Shadow (2010, Season of Mist)
  • Ultraviolet (2013, Season of Mist)
  • Exhausting Fire (2015, Season of Mist)

Misc. ReleasesEdit

  • Point of Stillness / Judgement Day (Single) (2002, Prank)
  • Kylesa / Memento Mori (Split with Memento Mori) (2002, Hyperrealist)
  • Cream Abdul Babar / Kylesa (Split with Cream Abdul Babar) (2003, At a Loss)
  • Delusion on Fire / Clutches (Single) (2004, Scorched Earth Policy)
  • No Ending / A 110° Heat Index (Single/7" EP) (2004, Prank)
  • Unknown Awareness (Single) (2009, Hyperrealist)
  • Kylesa / Victims (Split with Victims) (2009, La Familia)
  • Tired Climb (Single) (2010, Season of Mist)
  • From the Vaults, Vol. 1 (Compilation) (2012, Season of Mist)
  • Violitionist Sessions (EP) (2013, Violitionist Sessions)
  • Live Studio Improvisation 3.7.14 (EP) (2013, Retro Futurist)
  • Live at Maide Vale Studios (Live Album) (2017, Season of Mist)
  • An Original Album Collection (Box Set) (2017, Season of Mist)


  • Laura Pleasants - Guitars, Vocals (2001 - 2016)
  • Phillip Cope - Guitars, Vocals (2001 - 2016)
  • Brian Duke - Bass (2001) (Died 2001)
  • Christian Depken - Drums, Percussion (2001 - 2004)
  • Tyler Newberry - Drums, Percussion (2002, 2010 - 2013)
  • Corey Barhorst - Bass, Keyboards, Vocals (2002 - 2007, 2008 - 2011)
  • Brandon Baltzley - Drums, Percussion (2004 - 2005)
  • Carl McGinley - Drums, Percussion (2006 - 2016)
  • Jeff Porter - Drums, Percussion (2006 - 2007)
  • Javier Villegas - Live Bass (2008)
  • Chase Rudeseal - Live Bass (2013 - 2016)
  • Edley O'Dowd - Live Drums (2013 - 2014)
  • John Edwards - Live Drums (2015 - 2016)
  • Eric Hernandez - Drums, Percussion (2008 - 2009, 2013 - 2014); Bass (2012 - 2013)

List of Known ToursEdit

  • 2003 North American Tour (With Artimus Pyle) (2003)[16]
  • 2004 Mini-Tour (With Cream Abdul Babar) (2004)[17]
  • Summer 2004 North American Tour (With Victims on select dates)[18]
  • Fuck Toby Keith! He's Destroying America! Tour (With Darkest Hour, Fear Before The March of Flames, Between The Buried and Me) (2004)[19]
  • Blessed Black Wings North American Tour (February) (With High on Fire, Planes Mistaken For Stars) (2005)[20]
  • To Walk a Middle Course European Tour (2005)
  • 2005 Fall North American Tour (With Coliseum, Torche) (2005)[21]
  • Spring 2006 North American Tour (2006)[22]
  • Time Will Fuse It's Worth North American Tour (With Converge, Some Girls, Modern Life Is War) (2006)[23]
  • 2006 Winter Dates (With The Sword; Possibly Canceled) (2006)[24][25]
  • The Resurrection of Whiskey Foote North American Tour (With The Hidden Hand) (2007)[26]
  • 2007 Spring North American Tour (With Genghis Tron) (2007)[27]
  • The Hottest Chicks in Metal Tour (With Within Temptation, Lacuna Coil) (2007)[28][29]
  • Baroness and Kylesa European Tour (With Baroness) (2008)[30]
  • 2008 North American Tour (With Pinback) (2008)[31]
  • 2009 Japan Tour (With Birushanah) (2009)[32]
  • Southern Discomfort (With Skeletonwitch, Black Tusk) (2009)[33]
  • 2009 North American Tour (With Intronaut, Nachtmystium, The Haunted) (2009)[34]
  • Crack The Skye North American Tour (April/May) (With Mastodon, Intronaut) (2009)[35]
  • Static Tensions North American Tour (2009)[36]
  • Static Tensions European Tour (With Torche) (2009)[37]
  • Static Tensions Fall North American Tour (With Bison B.C., Red Fang depending on dates)[38]
  • Strange Cousins From The West European Tour (Fall) (With Clutch) (2009)[39]
  • 2010 Spring European Tour (With Dark Castle) (2010)[40]
  • 2010 Summer European Tour (With Converge, Gaza, Kvelertak) (2010)[41]
  • Sanctioned Annihilation (With Torche, High on Fire) (2010)[42]
  • Spiral Shadow Winter North American Tour (With Zoroaster, Rosetta) (2011)[43]
  • 2011 European Tour (2011)[44]
  • 2011 Spring North American Tour (2011)[45]
  • 2011 September North American Tour (2011)[46]
  • 2011 Fall North American Tour (With Thrice, O'Brother, Moving Mountains; Kylesa dropped off)[47][48]
  • 2011 December Mini-Tour (2011)[49]
  • 2012 European Tour (With KEN Mode, The Square) (2012)[50]
  • Return of The World Maggot (With GWAR, Ghoul, Legacy of Disorder)[51]
  • 2012 Summer European Tour (2012)[52]
  • Ultravioler Summer 2013 North American Tour (2013)[53]
  • Ultraviolet Fall 2013 North American Tour (With Sierra, Pinkish Black) (2013)[54]
  • Ultraviolet Spring European Tour (With Sierra, Jagged Vision) (2014)[55]
  • Ultraviolet New Zealand/Australia Tour (2014)[56]
  • Ultraviolet Southeast Asia Tour (2014)
  • Ultraviolet Summer European Tour (With Lazer/Wulf) (2014)[57]
  • Summer 2015 Mini-Tour (With Cult of Luna, InAeona) (2015)[58]
  • Exhausting Fire North American Tour (With Inter Arma, Indian Handcrafts) (2015)[59]
  • Doppelganger Tenth Anniversary Tour (With The Fall of Troy, Powwers) (2015)[60]

External LinksEdit

Official PagesEdit

Archival MaterialEdit


  1. Blabbermouth
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  6. Lambgoat
  7. Metacritic
  8. Pitchfork
  9. Stereogum
  10. Heavy Magazine
  11. Metal Underground
  12. Lamgboat
  13. [1]
  14. Lambgoat
  15. Georgia Music
  16. Unpersons Facebook
  17. Lambgoat
  18. Lambgoat
  19. Blabbermouth
  20. Blabbermouth
  21. Lambgoat
  22. Lambgoat
  23. BlabbermouthAccessed 23 July 2018
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  25. Blabbermouth
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  27. Lambgoat
  28. Blabbermouth
  29. A.V. Club
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