The fourth album from British band, Sylosis, was the perfect choice for our first review of 2015. It has everything necessary to kick the year off with a bang! Crushing thrash guitars. Check. More than ten tracks (there are twelve). Check. An almost sixty minute run time. Check. Excellent songwriting and musicianship. Check and check.
Much like Battlecross’ 2013 album, War Of Will, the brilliance and pure aggression of Dormant Heart came as a total surprise. These are two of the very best albums from the new era of thrash and are head and shoulders above the rest. With that said, Sylosis is a slightly different animal. They bring a few new twists to the table that help to set them apart from the rest of the contemporary thrash pack.
As with many of the newer thrash acts, Sylosis incorporates elements of melodic death metal including harsh vocals and harmonized guitars. However, that is where most of the similarities end. The band really puts their own stamp on things by coherently blending doom style riffage into their hyper fast thrash pacing. This is most notable on the songs “Where the Wolves Come to Die”, “Victims and Pawns”, “Servitude”, “Indoctrinated” and “Mercy”. In many of these cases the doom comes in small sections in the middle or end of the song so make sure to listen to each track all the way through to catch these slow, yet scintillating riffs.
Although this is not the thrash that many of us grew up with, Sylosis definitely pays homage to their roots. The guitar work and break neck speed featured on the album is much more precise than what most current metal acts are able to offer. If you delve deep into the music’s very core you will begin to hear the major influence that 80’s style thrash had on the album. “Indoctrinated” is a track that exudes more of an overall classic death thrash feel that at times may remind you of Sepultura’s early material.
In that same vintage vein, Sylosis also understands the importance of guitar solos to the music. This almost seems to be a lost art form in today’s heavy metal landscape. These days, albums seem to concentrate more on palm mutes, breakdowns and just trying to be as heavy as possible with no regard for substance. Thankfully, Dormant Heart is not one of those records. Nearly every track features an amazing solo that fits perfectly with each song’s overall pace and style. Sylosis can play virtually anything from the short and screechy solos of speed metal to the soaring harmonization of melodic death and power metal to the more technical and complicated solo style incorporated by bands like Metallica.
The band’s infusion of new and old makes for an album that is nearly flawless from start to finish. “Quiescent” represents the one track that messes with Dormant Heart‘s quest for perfection. This nine minute acoustic album finale felt totally out of place. I think the thing that bothers me the most is that I actually really loved the song but it would have been better suited for a different album. Unfortunately, this was not the best ending for such a heavy record. Then again it really doesn’t matter because this is one seriously kick ass album. If you still don’t want to take my word for it and you wish to get your feet wet before diving in, I highly recommend the songs “Leech”, “Servitude”, “Indoctrinated” and “Mercy”.
With the release of Dormant Heart, Sylosis has firmly cemented their place as one of the leaders of the new age of thrash metal. We hope that other young acts take notice of the time, effort and heart that the band put into this record. Sylosis proves that it is possible to bring something fresh to the table without leaving the past behind. This is not a band that is trying to fit into today’s popular djent and deathcore malaise. They have created their own concoction of extreme metal with a basis in good ole Bay Area thrash that metal fans of all ages can appreciate.
Dormant Heart will be released on January 13, 2015 via Nuclear Blast Records. Take a listen when you get a chance and give us your opinion of the album in our comments section.
Mike Lawrence is METAL DESCENT’s Associate Editor and Senior Social Media Manager. You can follow him on Twitter at @metaldadk.