Sylosis – A Sign Of Things To Come
Released September 8, 2023
Josh Middleton // guitar, vocals
Alex Bailey // guitar
Ali Richardson // drums
Conor Marshall // bass
I was pretty bummed when it was announced Josh Middleton was leaving Architects but two thoughts came to mind. Firstly, I was stoked that I saw him tour Australia in February. Secondly, I remembered Sylosis had a new album coming out. Surely that meant Josh would be devoting all his efforts to this group, which speaks to his belief that this album was going to be legendary. A Sign of Things to Come is here and, coming three years after the acclaimed Cycle of Suffering, it’s a definitive statement that Sylosis should be counted among the best metal bands in the world.
If you’ve already heard the lead single ‘Deadwood’, you know the band have levelled up their performance for a leaner sound that is no less technically proficient than their previous album. Quite simply they have found a way to craft festival anthems that remain death metal but incorporate groove and breakdowns designed to make audiences move HARD. Middleton’s solo work remains the stuff of guitar heroes, a combination of Dimebag’s expressive thrash and Van Halen trickery.
There’s more clean vocals too, but they’re judicious and add to the mood rather than dip too hard into typical metalcore. ‘A Sign of Things to Come’ has verses with a dry clean vocal delivery before Middleton unleashes the growls over a deep, bass-heavy groove. It’s damn catchy with a fat post-chorus breakdown that’s going to drag punters away from other bands when it kicks in. Speaking of breakdowns, ‘Pariahs’ is a cyclone of djent riffs with a touch of pinch harmonics that’s more akin to their last couple of albums. It’s brutal violence from start to end.
The economical nature of the tracks also helps bridge the gap for fans who might have a reaction to song length or descriptions of tech metal prowess. Middleton has reigned it in, with songs feeling focused with the more progressive elements being saved for solos. ‘Poison for the Lost’ has a fast-beating thrash heart that’s instantly recognisable, though takes a quiet breather before the epic chorus. ‘Descent’ grinds and grooves with a hook that uses cleans and growls. Middleton has cited albums such as IOWA and Far Beyond Driven as influences and it shows just how purposeful each song is.
While the first half is very much a focus attack, the second half starts by exploring different territory. ‘Absent’ is a dark and brooding track with Middleton crooning over industrial percussion, synths and strings. When the full band kicks in, it’s glorious. It’s up to ‘Eye for an Eye’ to bring back the energy and it’s a metalcore maelstrom of tech riffs and pure vengeance. The hook is clean sung, making this one the most conventional metalcore tune on the record. There’s also the thundering ‘Judas’, which has a longer intro that’s interrupted by epic melodic death metal, straight out of mid-90s Sweden.
More experimental is ‘Thorns’ which uses a grunge soft verse/loud chorus dynamic that helps the tune stand out. It’s a slower tempo and uses acoustic guitars to help contrast the heavy parts, leading to Middleton doing a guitar god solo that would have Slash nodding his approval. If that feels like a departure, A Sign of Things to Come closes with the colossal ‘A Godless Throne’, a galloping fury of riffs and drums with a huge breakdown designed to level mountains. It’s the longest solo and is appropriately grand.
If the references to other bands and scenes concern you, I can assure you this is still very much a Sylosis album. Middleton leads the band through different tones and textures, building on the festival anthems with a focused album to help take Sylosis to the next level. It’s a shame when it ends because I wanted more. More thrash, more screams, more cleans, more of those lightening solos. I can see why he left Architects – if you’re sitting on songs this great, you wanna get out and show the world.
Sylosis – A Sign of Things to Come trackListing
- A Sign of Things to Come
- Poison for the Lost
- Eye for an Eye
- A Godless Throne