Songwriters Laura Pleasants and Phillip Cope make it no secret that Ultraviolet, Kylesa’s fifth album, came from a darker place than past releases. But as they have worked the press in anticipation of the May 28 release of the album on Seasons of Mist, they have been mum on exactly what cast this darkness. Whatever it is, it is clear that Kylesa have tapped a wellspring of creativity and have crafted their best album to date.

Ultraviolet pursues an expansive, emotional arc, from the bleak aggression of “Exhale” to the final sigh of “Drifting.” In between, Kylesa showcase plenty of their sludgy roots and their more recent effects-laden sonic explorations. There are glimpses of goth and shoegaze here, too, and it all combines into an emotive vibe that looms large like black storm clouds consuming the horizon. Pleasants’ vocal presence exceeds past albums, tempering the angrier compositions with a visceral flow.

There is no mistaking that the darkness that consumed Kylesa when writing Ultraviolet is a vibrant, shadowy muse. It has inspired the band to write and record a modern classic.

Ultraviolet will be released May 28 on Season of Mist.

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars.