Sylosis – Cycle of Suffering
Released: 7th February, 2020
Josh Middleton // lead guitar, lead vocals
Conor Marshall // bass guitar
Alex Bailey // rhythm guitar
Ali Richardson // drums
It’s been five long years between Sylosis albums. What started as a hiatus for the band evolved into Josh Middleton (Vocals/Lead guitars) heading in a new direction and joining Architects. But those thrash roots are strong and thankfully the band have reformed to provide an early contender for album of the year. If you thought five years would have chilled Sylosis in their blistering ways, you would be wrong. If you thought the technical craft of Middleton had been thwarted by constant metal-core breakdowns you would be very wrong. If you had an inkling that Middleton would have toned down his metal scream for this album, I pity you. Sylosis suffer no fools. Sylosis, if anything, have improved and that in itself is a big statement bearing in mind how good 2015’s Dormant Heart record was.
Cycle of Suffering is immense. It contains all the thrashy goodness of their previous work but Middleton’s vocals have improved once again. He has pushed himself to his limits. Think Matt Heafy from Trivium but in his hey-day during his Ascendancy days. Brutal, guttural. He gets your attention. Add to this the fact that he provides all the lead guitars and the guy is one skilful artist. Did I mention, thrashy. There is a heap of classic thrash riffs sprinkled throughout starting with the blistering opener, ‘Empty Prophets’ that bounds out of the gates launching into riff after riff including a breakdown that rivals any metal-core blitz. ‘Apex of Disdain’, a similar thrashy feel with an almost Testament feel to it.
Sylosis has also tried to entice its listener. Hear me out. Their albums are more of a listening experience than an all-out attack and that’s where the charm of Sylosis lays. Sure, a lot of heavy bands can play fast music or throw in a breakdown here and there but these subtle nuances, outro’s, intro’s, interludes, call them whatever you want, expand the pleasure of listening to Sylosis. For instance, ‘Invidia’ begins with a dark themed piano stroll, an almost haunted background before Middleton and co explode once more folding into the layers a technical solo this time before again trailing off to an eerie piano and then back again for more metal buffet.
If it’s a slower burner you’re chasing they have that covered too. ‘Calcified’, ‘Idle Hands’ and ‘Disintegrate’ tone down the thrash chords in lieu of a more rounded metal sound, as if in preparedness for any stadium anthems one may need down the line. And need they will! It’s also not all screams and riffage. The track, ‘Shield’ opens Middleton up for a melodic chorus and whilst he’s still screaming it’s still somehow melodic. Don’t ask me how. It just is. Then there’s the closer, ‘Abandon’, with another piano introduction and Middleton now singing half the track with his clean vocals, but you know it won’t last before he unleashes once more. It’s about the closest thing you’ll get to a Sylosis ballad. It’s melancholic, dark and beautiful.
What I’m trying to say is the album has a bit for everyone. Riffs are aplenty, ‘I Sever’, another example. There’s the slower burns, then the angrier side of Middleton, the title track a good example as he screams, “Some of us were born to suffer”. Seriously, you can’t get enough of this band. Five years is too long. On one hand, I’m glad Josh Middleton gets to work with his mates in Architects and tour the world but Sylosis is his pride and joy, he’s a thrash head at heart and this band haven’t made a bad record to date, so more please.
Cycle of Suffering probably won’t crack most people’s Top 20 albums for 2020 come the end of the year, simply because they won’t of heard of the band so won’t bother listening. Pity them. Fuck them. Sylosis is what every heavy metal band should strive to be. Technically gifted, brutal, angry and some stellar songwriting to boot.
Sylosis – Cycle of Suffering tracklisting:
1. Empty Prophets
2. I Sever
3. Cycle of Suffering
7. Idle Hands
8. Apex of Disdain
9. Arms Like A Noose
10. Devils In Their Eyes
Check out our interview with the main man himself Mr Josh Middleton right here