Sunday 27 April 2014

Live Review : Sylosis, Manchester Academy 2, UK, 09/04/2014

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that being in a metal band ‘aint the easiest of occupations. Putting pen to paper and signing a record deal is a highly attainable aspiration for some many bright-eyed musicians the world over; the ones fired by a love of the genre and a determination to turn hobby into breadwinning, but with that signature comes blood, sweat, tears and drama as well as affirming the realization of a lifelong dream.

Reading quartet Sylosis are one band who know all about the hard side of being in a metal band. While touring the US with Trivium and DevilDriver in the autumn of 2013, playing their part in their biggest tour to date, a golden opportunity to convert thousands of new fans and take the band to the next level, they were involved in a serious RV crash. While all of the members survived, they were physically and mentally unable to continue with the tour. No sooner than life had handed the band a route to bigger and better things, it was snatched away from their grasp.

Three members of the band were hospitalized and several days after the crash, mainman Josh Middleton posted a message to their fans which hammered home the implications of the crash, showing people the logistical nightmares that arose as a consequence to the crash. “Aside from the physical issues that prevent us from continuing on with the tour it has also put us in thousands of pounds worth of debt,” read the message. “[This is] due to losing the deposit (and now paying extra) on the RV, damaged trailer, booking new flights home, equipment damage and we're now incurring all kinds of transport/accommodation costs as we make our journey home.” The band’s fortunes had reversed dramatically in a millisecond: From traversing the States with two of the nation’s most well-respected modern metal bands with the world at their feet to having the weight of that world climb incomprehensibly onto their shoulders and drag them down into obscurity and bankruptcy.

“The last thing we want is for people to think we're now cashing in on the accident and taking advantage of people's sympathy, but we need some help right now,” it continued, before releasing details about two new, exclusive shirts the band had launched on their website. “I can't stress enough that we do not intend to exploit the situation,” the band needed money to survive, otherwise they simply couldn’t have carried on.

We can now say, with a pleasing exhalation that lifts the weight from the bands shoulders, that that specific chapter in the band’s history is exactly in; in the past. 18 months later and they find themselves on the road with DevilDriver once more, this time in the UK as main support to the band who are supporting their blistering new record, Winter Kills. It’s funny how the circle of life revolves, but it seems fitting that they are back on the road with one of the band’s that had so cruelly left on that tour. 

With drummer Jay Colios-Terry missing from the tour due to work commitments – the band still have to hold down jobs outside the band to support their musical brainchild – giving further proof of the rocky road that being in a metal band takes you down, the band can reap serious rewards in this tour.

With Bleed From Within drummer, Ali Richardson providing the band’s snarling engine, they were greeted on stage at Manchester Academy 2 like headliners. Instantaneously the crowd became a raging sea of headbanging hair and beards, of beers and horns held likewise aloft. The crash seems to have cemented their place in many a metalhead’s heart as a searing passion tantalized the venue. After all, metalhead’s have always been the outsiders and outsiders root for the underdog. The crash was like fate had shat on the little guy, only for the little guy to fight back and reign supreme. From the unrelenting pounding Fear The World, which packs the groove of Decapitated with the drive of Testament and the harmonies of Kvelertak into one astounding package, to sweep-laden, black metal tinged punch of Empyreal, there was never any doubting of this band’s ability.

Whether or not this tale will have a truly happy ending or not only time will tell, but for now they are firmly embedded in arguably their most promising, adhering chapter so far. Logistical factors will always be a thorn in their side, as they are with most bands out there – even Metallica have their gripes – but Sylosis are on fine form right now and you wouldn’t bank against them truly taking off.

Set list:

Fear The World
Conclusion of an Age
All Is Not Well
Altered States of Consciousness

Words by : Phil Weller