Sylosis
Dormant Heart

I first heard England’s  Sylosis when reviewing their 2008 debut, Conclusion of an Age for Metal Maniacs. As I recall is was a pretty average Unearth/All That Remains clone, that left me with fair to middling opinion of the band. Fast forward to 2012 and the band’s third album Monolith (I missed 2011s Edge of the Earth) and a  new line up and I was rather blown away with the band’s energetic, more thrash and varied take on US styled metalcore.

Well with the same line up as Monolith, the Brits have returned with an equally strong follow up, continuing a sound that’s rooted in American metal like Unearth et all, but added a bigger, more epic element that has an aura of Machine Head, and simply makes Sylosis a very good modern metal band, growing out of the metalcore tag rather impressively.

Armed with a big, brash Scott Atkins (Cradle of Filth, Man Must Die, Ignominious Incarceration) production, the record leaps from the speakers with energy and purpose and renders the band perfectly. The mix of big, burly grooves (“To Build a Tomb”) and high octane, galloping thrash (“Victims and Pawns”, “Overthrown”, “Indoctrinated”)  or both (neck snapping “Servitude” and standout “Callous Souls”), and some more introspective moments (“Harm”, “Mercy”)  not only cements the Machine Head comparison (just listen to “Leech”), but is perfectly balanced. The odd orchestral/synth moments scattered around a few of the tracks, adds some grandiosity to the affair giving the release a little more scope and presence that just another hollow modern metal record. 8 minute ballad “Quiescent” ends the album on a somber note, though it’s a bit cliche to end and album this way, considering the previous 11 songs are so balls to the wall.

The vocals of Josh Middleton are perfect, being a gruff bellow and the odd throaty croon and some well done but not overdone or overused clean singing, again adding just enough elegance to the heft. The end result is an album that is one that might get overlooked in the big picture, with metalcore being a dirty word and all, but is certainly worth your time if you were a little underwhelmed with commercial lean of Bloodstones & Diamonds, and just want some damn fine modern metal.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
February 13th, 2015

Comments

  1. Commented by: jm from nj

    Can you maybe shed some light on an issue I’m having with this CD. I love the songwriting, but there are moments on various songs (i.e. 2 mins into “To Build A Tomb”, or throughout the song “Dormant Heart”) where the picking sounds metronome-ish…almost like the plucking of the string sounds…argh…I don’t know what it is. And it’s driving me nuts and I can’t imagine it was missed in mixing/mastering.


  2. Commented by: Aaron

    If I could, I would suggest going back and having another listen to Conclusion of an Age. From what you said, I felt pretty much the same about it at first and dumped it in a stack of other stuff that didn’t click. After a while though I pulled it back out and it really grew on me.

    I felt most of the metalcore sound on the album came from the poorly done clean vocal sections. Nearly every one of them had a stereotype “pre-clean vocal music change to something softer” that made them predictable and completely ruined whatever momentum they had built up prior. Tracks like “The Blackest Skyline,” “Teras,” and “Stained Humanity” are some pretty great thrashy modern metal though.

    I know it doesn’t sound like a great endorsement for an album to suggest tracks to skip, but dump the ones with the metalcore-esque clean vocals and it’s a great album.

    Been meaning to pick up the rest of their albums after I ended up liking Conclusion of an Age so much but every time I have money I end up finding something else to spend it on… Sounds like I need to keep them in mind.

    /longest comment on this site(?)


  3. Commented by: Paul

    Jm I have not heard the album but from your description I wonder if it’s the sound of the bass strings clicking on the fretboard? I was listening to Live After Death (again) yesterday and the bass clicks are very audible on albums like that….


  4. Commented by: jerry

    What you’re hearing is the natural attack of a guitar pick against strings before the note is audible. If the player rests the pick on the string for a millisecond before actually plucking you’ll hear this more pronounced. Modern metal recordings compress the fuck out of the sound so that the natural decay and dynamics are squashed to the point of every aspect about the sound you hear being the same volume, so minimal things like this will be as loud as the tones that follow. But if you pay attention enough you’ll probably hear it on most records you own. It’s really noticeable here at 1:20:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h0Q6X0px9SM


  5. Commented by: jm from nj

    Jerry,

    Thanks for that explanation. I had a feeling it had to do with the compression, but it’s so audible that I couldn’t believe it could get past mixing/mastering. It’s kind of amazing to me.


  6. Commented by: jerry

    In a way I like hearing stuff like that in a record, since then you know it was actually played in a studio (I’m looking at you, Rings of Saturn) and makes the record a bit organic. Mixing that stuff out I imagine would be a pain in the ass. It’s more apparent on modern stuff like this that is so bright it doesn’t resemble natural guitar sounds anymore. Now I’ll be focusing on it in every record I hear, haha.


  7. Commented by: Vance

    Wow, comparing these guys to lame ass All that Remains, Unearth and Machine Head? These guys sound nothing like that. This is pretty much straight forward thrash, with some unbelievable guitar work from Josh Middleton. That first album featured a different singer, then on the second album Josh took over and I must say he is doing a fine job. These guys are young and hungry and continue to crank out some pretty good straight forward, no frills, shredtastic metal. I would rather compare them to newer Wretched or Revocation if you had to make a comparison.


  8. Commented by: Jay

    They obviously meant to leave the string picking sounds in to make it sound more natural. Do you actually think a professional producer could miss that and whoever does the mixing/mastering? I fucking love that sound, how could you not know what is is unless your relatively new to guitar driven music.


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