Dormant Heart

Written by: AP on 11/01/2015 14:48:33

Despite being something of a perpetual support act, flying just beneath a breakthrough ever since the release of their brilliant debut "Conclusion of an Age" in 2009, British modern thrashers Sylosis have managed to carve out a unique niche with a sound that is distinctly theirs; never yielding, and never losing belief in the impact of their hybrid metal. Indeed, much like their stateside brethren in Unearth, Sylosis have, in their persistent fusion of thrash, metalcore and prog, displayed not just a level of musicianship that belies the quartet's age, but also a frightening level of consistency throughout their four-album, two-EP discography.

Shredding from Reading has always been the band's mantra, and so it remains on this latest outing "Dormant Heart". Slayer's cult will likely issue a fatwa calling for my annihilation for writing this, but as ever, Sylosis prove themselves as one of only a few artists capable of distilling that eerie darkness for which the Bay Area legends are famed. The huge influence of those gentlemen is worn with pride on the excellent "Victims and Pawns", its dense and foreboding verse sounding like a page out of "War Ensemble", yet for all of the old school thrash worship, Sylosis never ignore the need to make the music their own. The way frontman Josh Middleton's growls transform into strained, semi-clean yells in the chorus, and how the song collapses into a shadowy trudge through echoing percussion near the end, earns the song authenticity, and presents the band - completed by rhythm guitarist Alex Bailey, bassist Carl Parnell and latest addition drummer Ali Richardson - both as individualistic, and as accomplished song smiths. The title track, too, is a magnificent showcase for the foursome's capabilities, bursting forth with a menacing start/stop riff ahead of a customary passage of ripsaw shred, and exposing the band's affinity for melodic grandeur in the chorus.

Although a high standard is maintained across all of the 12 tracks, in the pairing "Overthrown" & "Leech" the record attains its consummate highlights, the former enlisting a plethora of tempo changes, atmospheric shifts and a rare instance of clean singing by Middleton in the build-up to its crescendo; the latter boasting one of the most gratifying leads the album has to offer, setting the stage for one of its best choruses, Middleton strenuously screaming "This isn't war, for this is silent. Your pointed teeth left leeches' marks in me. And I can feel it burning, forever under my skin". The shocking speed and vitriol of "Indoctrinated" (the most quintessentially thrash song "Dormant Heart" contains) too, leaves a lasting impression; while lead single "Mercy" provides another lesson in tight and varied song writing, the melancholy baritone singing of "Blood for blood, surrender or don't. But forgiveness is a lie to behold" in the pre-chorus especially etching a permanent mark on memory.

Much and more could still be discussed, the depth of Sylosis' music delivering an endless source for dissection. Instrumentally, "Dormant Heart" is a masterclass in virtuosity with riffs, melodies and rhythms often producing the noteworthy moments in the songs. Middleton's ferocious growling (not unlike Trivium's Matt Heafy) has its merits, but it is obvious that vocalisation is not the man's forte as there is next to no diversity in it. His occasional forays into clean singing ease that burden somewhat (his improvement from early attempts at this are magnificently shown in the first half of the album closing prog piece "Quiescent"), but more often than not it is his wizardry on the six-string with which ears are wooed. Clocking in at one hour of aggressive yet melodic thrash, "Dormant Heart" is not for the faint of heart, even if the strength of its singles enables impromptu listening as well. Admittedly, it does in places beg the usage of an expression like decent as a number of the tracks pass by without much fanfare - they're proficiently executed, but lacking the cutting edge of the highlights. But when all is said and done, "Dormant Heart" is a convincing continuation of Sylosis' proud album lineage, and you'd be under pressure to try to discover a band pulling this style off in more electrifying style.


Download: Victims and Pawns, Overthrown, Leech, Indoctrinated, Mercy
For the fans of: Himsa, Slayer, Trivium, Unearth
Listen: Facebook

Release date 12.01.2015
Nuclear Blast

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