Edge Of The Earth
11 March 2011
by Tom Dare
Sylosis are a band still tagged with the word “potential”, which might give the (totally wrong) impression they aren’t already fucking brilliant. In Sylosis’ case, it’s that they sound capable of greatness but haven’t quite reached the heights their work thus far hints at. With Edge Of The Earth, the band’s second full-length album, they’re attempting to shrug off that “potential” label once and for all.
That Edge Of The Earth is musically a considerable step up from their debut album, Conclusion Of An Age, is immediately apparent. The combination of technicality, melody and sheer visceral barbarism that marked them out from their early days as one of the bands to watch has been honed and whetted to scalpel-sharpness. The intricacies of the song structures and complexities of the playing that took a while to absorb last time out are far more instant- the playing may be finger-knotting and the drumming full of fills and ornamentation but it does so in a manner that makes perfect sense from the off.
This technicality has nothing to do with showing off and everything to do with sounding like you want to break shit- it adds to the fury rather than sterilising it. The little calms in the storm that are sparingly used – the (very) occasional interjection of clean vocals and the odd little near-ambient passage – similarly heighten the impact of the thunderous riffs and neck-snapping shred in a sumptuous display of cathartic songwriting.
The stylistic evolution is admirable too. Conclusion Of An Age wore it’s Testament love proudly, Edge Of The Earth moves gently away from the influences and into territory that is all Sylosis’ own, sounding yet more distinct, their atmosphere of misery and destruction that slowly wanders towards the placidity and hope of dawn delivered with greater clarity.
Guitarist Josh Middleton, who takes over vocal duties following Jamie Graham’s departure from the band, carries his obvious musicality into his throat-ripping. While you feel he still has a small amount of growth left to go in the role, everything suggests he has all the capability to excel- the snarling is ferocious and rhythmically strong, even if it is not quite as varied or memorable as his predecessor’s just yet.
Watch Sylosis talking about Edge Of The Earth here:
It’s a comparatively minor gripe, but there is an issue over length- clocking in at over 78 minutes, Edge Of The Earth is really too long. While nothing at all in the way of filler – no songs overrun, and none of them are less excellent than others – that there are a tad too many of them to absorb comfortably in one sitting numbs their impact. This is but a slight shame, as it perhaps stops you enjoying some of the stellar work towards the end to the fullest.
Don’t let these small issues detract from this, however: Sylosis have gone from being one of the brightest prospects in British metal to releasing a stonking record that demonstrates just how far the heavy stuff has come on in recent years in the UK. If the “potential” tag is not shed after this, it is only because you sense they are a gnat’s wing away from delivering a genuine classic album. Edge Of The Earth is utterly stunning, and merits celebrating Sylosis in the present. The future can wait – this is fucking fantastic.
Sounds like: Forbidden, Dark Tranquillity, Viatrophy
Top tracks: Empyreal, Where The Sky Ends, From The Edge Of The Earth
Sylosis – Edge Of The Earth tracklisting:
Sands Of Time
Empyreal (Part 2)
A Serpent’s Tongue
Kingdom Of Solitude
Altered States Of Consciousness
Beyond The Resurrected
From The Edge Of The Earth