Wednesday 8 November 2023

ALBUM REVIEW: Sylosis, "A Sign of Things to Come"

 By: Richard Maw
Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 08/09/2023
Label: Nuclear Blast

“A Sign Of Things To Come” track listing:
1. Deadwood
2. A Sign Of Things To Come
3. Pariahs
4. Poison For The Lost
5. Descent
6. Absent
7. Eye For An Eye
8. Judas
9. Thorns
10. A Godless Throne
The Review:

Sylosis follow up 2020’s excellent “Cycle of Suffering” with this; have the British metal icons forged forward effectively? I first listened to the band back in 2015 with “A Dormant Heart”; an album I still hold in very high regard. I felt at the time- and still do- that Sylosis had cracked a very difficult code. They are a modern sounding band with a forward-thinking sound that won’t alienate old-schoolers (such as myself).
The band, for those that don’t know, combine thrash, death/melo-death, metalcore, groove metal and more traditional metal into a very effective alloy fit for almost any type of metalhead. It pleases me that they have (and have always had) the weighty backing of Nuclear Blast, but it pains me to consider that if, IF ONLY, the band were American then they might well be on a much higher level than they are. The Reading, Berkshire, UK, crew are instead at a level above underground and cult- but not at the large theatre/arena level they deserve.
UK metal- and metal in general- needs bands that look forward as well as back and Sylosis fit that bill. As such, then, you’ll hear synths and layers of sound across the title track, along with hardcore infused vocals, clean singing and huge riffs. The playing and performances are on point right out of the gate; “Deadwood” is a very effective opener, distilling what the band do well into four and half minutes.
The album continues at a very high watermark; “Pariahs” is heavy as hell, grooves massively, and hits all the right spots for a pit to go insane to. The record sounds incredible; massive and thick, precise and streamlined. Once again, the band combine handily the best bits of Machine Head, Lamb of God, Pantera, Fear Factory and so on into their own sound.
Stand outs? I’d probably pick “Poison For The Lost” as a real high point; it thrashes extremely convincingly with real malice and spite injected into the vocals and playing. This is metal as it should be; fast, furious and laser-honed.
Incredibly, the band are six albums in here. The level of experience and confidence shows throughout. The band don’t put a foot wrong in terms of song writing, production or performance. Band main-man Josh Middleton has been at this for over two decades now and he is a master of his craft. The band even ring the changes with the track “Absent”; a kind of synth-scape ballad that gives way to a more metallic section. It’s cinematic and daring, showing what the band can do when they spread their wings. More typical service is resumed with “Eye For An Eye” as the band puts the pedal and metal to the, er, metal once again- but not forgetting their sense of melody throughout the song.
As noted on previous records, things are focused and lean throughout; ten songs only, nothing too bloated and most clocking the 3.5-4.5min playing time. The riffs of “Judas” have a kind of ‘doom but sped up’ feel and the dark vibe that it gives off is great. Naturally, speed also kills on this one. Great track.
“As Thorns” and then the epic closer “A Godless Throne” bring this excellent record to an end, I can’t help but ponder the state of the metal genre in 2023. The arena filling likes of Maiden and Metallica may be on the way out, but with bands like Sylosis around, the genre is not going away. The fact is, to many metallers younger than me THIS IS the sound of metal. Not Priest, Maiden, Sabbath et al, but instead bands like Sylosis who have cherry picked the best aspects of various metal sub genres and then come full circle to be defined as, simply, METAL. Yep, Sylosis are a METAL band- and they are the best modern metal band in the UK. Easily.  
“A Sign of Things to Come” is available HERE

Band info: bandcamp || facebook