Edge of the Earth

01. Procession
02. Sands of Time
03. Empyreal (Part 1)
04. Empyreal (Part 2)
05. A Serpents Tongue
06. Awakening
07. Kingdom of Solitude
08. Where The Sky Ends
09. Dystopia
10. Apparitions
11. Altered States of Consciousness
12. Beyond the Resurrected
13. Eclipsed
14. From The Edge Of The Earth

[Nuclear Blast]

I’m shamefully about three months behind on this review, and despite being added to my mental list of ‘bands I need to stop being a lazy dick about,’ once all the praise came in for Sylosis‘ sophomore release Edge of the Earth, I only recently even bothered listening to it. Go ahead and chalk that up to one of my biggest mistakes of the year. My mistake has been rectified. This particular four-piece from Reading, England combines classic Bay Area thrash with Swedish melodic death metal and a touch of progressive influence. Edge of the Earth is certainly one of the more exciting melodic extreme metal records so far this year.

Part of me wants to say that Sylosis ended up being what the dudes in Trivium wish they were, but that really isn’t fair to Sylosis’ maturity and talent (sorry Trivium fans). You see, Sylosis manages to do what many young bands try to do today and fail miserably at, and that’s pulling together a modern thrash record that is not only original, but totally enthralling. Frontman and guitarist John Middleton has stated that the main influences on Edge of the Earth come from bands like Neurosis, Pink Floyd, High on Fire, and Rush — all of which sound present on the album in some fashion, with huge sound, catchy yet hard hitting riffs, and progressive overtones.

The biggest noticeable difference in the band’s overall sound since their 2008 debut lies in the vocal front of the band, guitarist Josh Middleton. After parting ways with original vocalist Jamie Graham, Middleton stepped up to tackling both the band’s technically inclined instrumentation and the vocals instead of finding a new member. This has worked out in their favor considerably, as Middleton is quite the capable vocalist. His bellowing growls and throaty screams are an improvement, and I don’t really see why he didn’t handle the vocal work to begin with. Even when belting out the clean singing (which is used fairly sparingly), he sounds quite proficient in his technique. To see him perform live must be a sight to see.

On an instrumental front, Edge of the Earth features some of the finest riffs and solos I’ve heard all year. Right from the hook-laden opener “Procession,” the album is a tour de force of modern thrash metal guitar work. These riffs will assault you, but the leads and solos will sooth you. Sylosis manage to incorporate epic beauty and melody without sacrificing intense delivery and heaviness, which is quite the feat. In songs like “Sands of Time” and the moving instrumental “Where the Sky Ends“, you can hear subtle layers of ambient padding that lie under the guitar work to provide a soundscape of sorts, which only makes the composition feel grander. Edge of the Earth feels quite triumphant and varied because of this.

The only downfall of the album is its massive 70+ minute length. Of course every song is of high quality, but because of the length, the whole album is quite difficult to absorb in one sitting. This is quite the injustice to the songs on the album, as there’s so much to take in that it makes it hard for each track to have its own identity. Sure, the album is varied enough, but once you cross over an hour in length, it’s hard to keep focus.

Despite the album’s only one true fault, this is a massive undertaking for what is only the band’s second album. If the band keeps moving in this direction, they could be thrash’s saving grace in the years to come. Hell, once you spin Edge of the Earth, you’ll realize that the band might just already be there. Ignore any “metalcore” tag you see about Sylosis on Wikipedia or Last.FM; that often implies immaturity in some circles, and there’s nothing core about Sylosis’ new opus. Fans of melodic death metal and thrash need to take notice — Sylosis is no doubt the future of the genre.

Sylosis – Edge of the Earth gets…


– JR


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