Tuesday, 4 February 2020

ALBUM REVIEW: Sylosis, "Cycle of Suffering"

By: Richard Maw

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 07/02/2020
Label: Nuclear Blast

“Cycle of Suffering” CD//DD//LP track listing:

1. Empty Prophets
2. I Sever
3. Cycle of Suffering
4. Shield
5. Calcified
6. Invidia
7. Idle Hands
8. Apex of Disdain
9. Arms Like A Noose
10. Devils In Their Eyes
11. Disintegrate
12. Abandon

The Review:

Sylosis return with this full length a full five years after the last album! It's hard to believe that the excellent “Dormant Heart” is that old, but it is. In that time, it's not strictly true to say that the metal genre has changed- things have kept moving along nicely- but do Sylosis now sound like old hat? The answer, as soon as “Empty Prophets” kicks off is a resounding “NO.”

The band, in case you have never heard them, are British and fit firmly into the modern metal genre of thrash crossed with melodic death- some synths, lots of hardcore-esque breakdowns etc. To describe them would be to say that they sit somewhere between Stampin' Ground (late era), Hatebreed, God Forbid and Lamb of God.

The playing is beyond reproach- listen to the lock-tight precision of “I Sever” for proof. Through headphones, the sound is more textured than it might first appear; there are synths throughout lots of the music here adding depth to the sound and an extra dimension. The drums are undoubtedly triggered/sound replaced- how you feel about that trait may determine your feelings towards the production generally. Certainly, this kind of clarity and quality would have been impossible for a band of Sylosis' size twenty years ago. Now, it's if not commonplace... almost expected.

With pro-tools or similar firmly in effect, the band sound machine like and incredibly powerful. There are great riffs and passages of music throughout the likes of “Cycle of Suffering” and “Shield”. It's heavy stuff- like Hatebreed rumbling with At The Gates and the more angular guitar work on “Calcified” goes some way to distinguish the band from the myriad of others who have ploughed a similar furrow. The chorus is a little clumsy, but over the course of the twelve tracks, there is more than enough fury on offer to offset any of the more cliched moments that occasionally pop up. “Invidia” is another example of a track with a rather clumsy anthemic chorus section, but I'm really splitting hairs here.

For all that there may be a few seconds of a couple of tracks that I don't care for, there are whole tracks like “Idle Hands” which are superb. “Apex of Disdain” is also a meaty example of the fact that if Machine Head had made this album instead of what they actually made last time around, then they would have been lauded as returning heroes. The moody “Arms Like A Noose” uses a good change of pace for the intro and then mutates into an album stand out; the guitar work is excellent, as is every aspect of the track. Superb stuff.

“Devils In Their Eyes” blends melody with aggression very effectively and is a fine example of the band getting the combination just right. The final two tracks see the band take a darker turn- “Disintegrate” is a riff-fest brimming with energy while on “Abandon” Sylosis spread their wings a little with clean singing, acoustic guitars, prevalent synths and a playing time of over six minutes. It's closer to Alter Bridge and Shadows Fall and it caps off a very good record in fine style.

Whether this will see Sylosis get their just desserts and climb the metal tree, I don’t know. Certainly, all the ingredients are there- from the state of the art production to the mixture of viciousness and restraint the band do nothing wrong and have turned in another excellent modern metal record. It's better than the most recent albums by any number of bands- some of whom are mentioned above. If there's any justice, you'll be seeing Sylosis in an Academy size venue near you soon.

“Cycle of Suffering” is available HERE

 Band info: facebook