So here you have it, the follow-up to one of the better debuts of the past few years. If you consider yourself a fan of the current melodic thrash/death scene, you ought to be familiar with their name for Sylosis sure stirred up some waters with Conclusion of an Age. Either way, the excitement was well justified – their first full-length record is still the talk of the day with good reason, buried under the sound of powerful, nah, figuratively chop-your-head-off guitar riffs, melodious sections and vocals that steered clear of the excitement-killing metalcore crowd, despite being a little bit closer than would otherwise be comfortable for metal folk.
So, what is Sylosis up to shortly after the excellent breakthrough? With the ex-vocalist out of the picture and his place being taken by none other than Josh Middleton, the brain and the multi-instrumentalist of the band, the band is as stable as it was before and still keeps to the safe side of things. As far as musicianship goes, however, the professional chemistry that turned Conclusion of an Age into the killer debut it proved to be is here to stay. Therein lies the beauty of it – each necessary ingredient from the recipe for an adequate successor is present in “Edge of the Earth”. What’s more, the hard work is starting to pay off and I’d personally think twice if someone states that these guys are not damn serious. After a couple of spins, even a half-deaf fan would realize that they’re not kidding around. And yes, they’re fully armed with ideas and techniques to prove it.
Taking things straight to the next level isn’t quite what you’d expect from a newly-born band in a genre that’s been so hideously exploited. What seems almost impossible at first, however, isn’t that hard for musicians with sufficient skills as the British quartet. The instrumental side of this second opus is at times even more complicated and aggressive than the debut, and despite that it may not be as innovative as it may yet become with further time and practice, it’s another step in the right direction. Whenever Sylosis decide to take it to the next level, they do it with a surprisingly stylish manner, often experimenting with guitar duels and galloping drum shots that are sure to leave many fans with painful post-headbanging chiropractic appointments. The tracks run from short and entertaining tricks like the angry “Awakening” or the fully instrumental “When the Sky Ends” to 8 minute long musical jewels like “From the Edge of the Earth” and “Apparition”.
Sylosis admirers surely remember the troublesome cross between not-so-metalcore harsh growls and semi-emo cleans that crowned the debut album. Well, here’s your chance to cast those worries aside! Mr. Middleton doesn’t have any problems with changes in a blink of an eye, now and then switching between low-pitched guttural roars and deep, melodic cleans, the latter of which slightly resemble the legendary manner of Amorphis‘ Tomi Joutsen who, as we all know, just can’t do any wrong [What? Is our new writer ALSO an Amorphis fangirl? Fits right into the fold! – AMG]. The quality of the music has increased proportionally with the vocals as well, indulging listeners with a lot of admirable solos and striking guitar work from start to finish. Stylistically, Sylosis is even more “thrashy” than “melodic”, but thankfully they managed to keep a good balance between both. As for fans supporting the irritatingly inevitable “more metalcore” idea, good riddance, better luck next time and surely not in this album.
It’s getting interesting, fellow metal fans, once a phenomenon like Sylosis comes on the stage. Even more when we get to hear a second great album in a row, predicting a promising and hopefully long-term career and avoiding the cursed sophomore slump. Cheers to one of the few bands out there which, despite playing music that could’ve easily secured a future had it been slightly more commercial, chose the hard way for a change to actually become worthy of respect.