Sylosis – ‘Cycle Of Suffering’

By Dave Stewart

It’s been a minute since we’ve heard from Sylosis, but they’re finally back and just as loud and majestic as ever. The metal mammoths have been on a hiatus of sorts for the last few years, with lead vocalist, guitarist and founding member Josh Middleton taking a step back from the band in order to help out his close friends in Architects in the wake of Tom Searle’s untimely death. Upon permanently joining them some many months later, Middleton stated that he would still be a part of Sylosis, but no new noise made its way to the surface – until now. ‘Cycle Of Suffering’, their first new music since 2015, is here.

The band in its current form can almost be considered a supergroup of sorts, now comprised of Middleton, long-time guitarist and former Viatrophy member Alex Bailey, Bleed From Within drummer Ali Richardson and their newest recruit, Conjurer bassist Conor Marshall. All the members have reputations that speak for themselves in regards to both live performance and playing ability – their joining of forces offering up a thrash-rooted metal smash that blends classic Bay Area colours with a modern metalcore palette.

Lead singles ‘I Sever’ and ‘Calcified’ served as the perfect introduction to the new era of Sylosis, demonstrating that they’re still walking the same path that they were previously. Big bold riffs, staggering drums and pissed off vocal delivery all dangerously collide together, decorated with lead runs and harmonies so stunning they’d make even the most seasoned guitarist blush. That’s just the singles – there’s so much more waiting to pounce on the rest of the record.

Album opener ‘Empty Prophets’ oozes with Gojira-like qualities, combining technical prowess and dangerous chugs with unforgiving thrash characteristics. ‘Apex Of Disdain’ is a relentless onslaught of power, constantly meaty hardcore-influenced chords and venomous vocals into the ether before erupting into an epic, other-worldly crescendo. Richardson’s influence seeps through on ‘Shield’, rife with riffs and breakdowns that would sound at home with his other band while Middleton drapes his pained snarls and shred-tastic wizardry over them.

Every song on this album is unrelenting, barely slowing down or taking the foot off the gas for longer than a mere moment. ‘Devils In Their Eyes’ is an unbelievably fast runaway train en-route to a devastating collision, ‘Arms Like A Noose’ is a thrash gem initially disguised as a ballad, ‘Idle Hands’ is a menacing tower of fire and brimstone – it’s just punishment after punishment. The only real breather is the closing track ‘Abandon’, completely shifting the vibe to more expansive and spacious tones. Easily the slowest song on the record, it layers strings and piano chords alongside their usual instrumentation to create a symphonic and melancholic landscape, bringing the record to a surprising yet grandiose end in vivid and beautiful surroundings.

Sylosis have returned, and they mean business. It’s been a long time coming, but it’s been completely worth the wait. The album goes just as hard and fast as their previous records did if not more so, the time away only enhancing the combustibility of the elements concealed within it. The musicianship throughout is tight and clear cut and so is the production, ensuring each swing of the sledgehammer utilises every single newton of force.

The playing throughout ‘Cycle Of Suffering’ is seriously impressive. The riffs are everything you’d expect from a Sylosis record, switching between monstrous, graceful and hard-hitting vibes at all the right times to deliver blow after blow to all your most tender areas. When it comes to the lead playing though, this record is either going to fill you with inspiration or make you want to sell all your gear and give up entirely if you’re a guitarist. Middleton may not have been doing much shred work with Architects but he certainly hasn’t lost any of his chops, effortlessly flexing his musical muscles all over the album.

This record manages to create an often overwhelming sense of nostalgia whilst also managing to feel fresh and new. They’ve taken the classic thrash-metal recipe, thrown in a few new spices and special ingredients and boy, does it taste good. ‘Cycle Of Suffering’ is a true metal triumph, five years in the making. Hopefully it won’t be five years until the next one.

DAVE STEWART

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