January 27, 2015 Sylosis – Dormant Heart (Album Review)
The British are coming! The British are coming! By “the British” one means Reading, Berkshire’s Sylosis is back with their fourth studio album Dormant Heart which was released January 12th, 2015 via Nuclear Blast. Having been formed in 2000 by guitarist Josh Middleton and bassist Carl Parnell, the band started early in their youth, so early in fact that many gigs were out of the question due to not being able to drive, along with school responsibilities. Honing their skills, Sylosis released a few EPs on small British label In At the Deep End Records prior to being picked up by Nuclear Blast and dropping their 2008 debut Conclusion of an Age. Since then, they have toured Europe alongside In Flames, Hellyeah, and Killswitch Engage, playing clubs, as well as festivals, throughout the continent. Clearly drawing influence from heavy Bay Area Thrash and while blending in Death Metal, and infusing Progressive Metal, Sylosis is a band apart from the cookie-cutter Metalcore label. Unlike many other bands in the genre which claim to have similar influences, Sylosis’ songs feature impeccable guitar soloing, well put together intros, and breakdowns that scream to the Father of Death Metal from the rooftops like Vikings calling out to Odin. Now featuring Middleton on vocals/lead guitar, Parnell on bass, Alex Bailey on rhythm guitar, and new addition Ali Richardson on drums, Sylosis is ready to take their progression to the next level with Dormant Heart.
After an intro track that is a bit on the more mellow side, they furiously rip into “Victims and Pawns.” The track’s opening riff almost sounds identical to Immortal’s 2009 title track “All Shall Fall.” Quickly changing, the song progresses and the influence of Death’s Chuck Shuldiner cannot be emphasized enough here. To be perfectly honest, the Sylosis sound on this song is a marriage of Death with the vocal style of Björn ‘Speed’ Strid on later Soilwork material. Next, the album title track begins very somber, and has a marching feel to the beat. It soon opens up with palm muted, speed picking, and furious constant double bass reminiscent of German Old School Thrash legends like Kreator. The track is relentless in the Thrash formula and the solos; both singular and dual, are untouchable. Marking the first studio recording with Richardson taking the drum throne in place of Rob Callard, this song proves the band made a great choice to seek out the new percussionist.
Moving along, one of the most essential tracks from Dormant Heart is “Leech.” Undoubtedly this piece demonstrates the band’s technical proficiency and ability to shift genre style in a fluid manner. Moving from Thrash to the Progressive styling of breakdown that focuses on the guitar solo to add texture and atmosphere to a song, it could be easily dismissed as purely monochromatic, but one must listen closely for the vast detail. The eighth track, “Indoctrinated” is a blistering thrasher that once again adds the haunting atmosphere of Progressive Metal to concoct a song that can be brutal and beautiful in the same breath. It opens slowly and quietly then, without warning, shreds immensely. With a perfect balance of Thrash combining Death Metal styled vocals of Middelton, alongside Progressive bridges, this could be the defining moment of Dormant Heart.
Thereafter, “Harm” is another blistering piece which utilizes the dual guitar efforts of Middleton and Bailey. It is a display that will make fans of Death nod in approval, as these talented musicians take influences from the past and dazzle an overall well-constructed song. Saving perhaps the most complete song for last, Dormant Heart concludes with the lengthy “Quiescent.” Featuring an opening of thoughtful clean vocals of Middelton, the song builds an atmosphere as layers of guitar follow midway through. It is one of the most enchanting songs Sylosis possibly has ever put together and a testament their diverse abilities. Some fans may even find themselves hitting the repeat button on this one just to grasp it fully.
Sylosis is a band that crossover fans of all ages are going to want to watch closely. With each album, they mature and hone their sound without forsaking their Thrash influences who were recording almost twenty years prior to the bands inception. Dormant Heart could be the band’s strongest record to date which is bound to attract a whole new audience, while pleasing the already converted. This album marks the fifteen year effort of a band who overcame a non-existent scene, lineup changes, and a subsequent RV accident that forced a slew of cancelled tour dates. It can be described in one singular word, ferocious. CrypticRock gives Dormant Heart 4 out of 5 stars.