You’ve got two seconds before the guitars of Kylesa’s opening track, “Exhale,” begin to pummel you. The Savannah band wastes no time showcasing its strengths on its sixth album, “Ultraviolet”: bone-crushing riffs drawn from myriad styles of metal. But it’s not just the guitars that pummel, as Kylesa has two drummers.
“Ultraviolet” is a combination of both sludge and speed, with a dose of prog metal and post-hardcore. There are echoes of Iron Maiden and Metallica in the solos, but the speed of the chords is more Baroness and Mastodon. At times, you can hear classic prog metal bands like Dream Theatre. No two songs on the album are alike; in fact, the band moves effortlessly between genres even within songs.
Although Laura Pleasants shares more vocal duties with Philip Cope this time around, their layered vocals are pushed to the background. It’s an atmospheric album in that the music, not the lyrics, is the emotional pull. And “Ultraviolet” is a dark album, written after both Pleasants and Cope experienced loss. Lyrics like “I’m choking on my own blood” on “Quicksand” make “Ultraviolet” a dark place to be.
The band shines on beautiful tracks like “Steady Breakdown,” featuring dreamy vocals over a guitar that alternates between power chords and psychedelic swirl. Don’t expect to sing along — you’ll be too busy banging your head.
Kindred spirits: Mastodon, Black Tusk, Red Fang
Show: With Blood Ceremony, White Hills and Lazer/Wulf on Wednesday at Rock and Roll Hotel. Show starts at 7:30 p.m. 202-388-7625. www.rockandrollhoteldc.com. $15.