Josh Middleton, guitarist and vocalist for the British Thrash Metal band Sylosis, spoke with me recently about the band’s sophomore release, Edge Of The Earth. Sylosis comes out of the box swinging with both fists on this disc, immediately establishing themselves as a force to be reckoned with. Edge of Earth is a heavy, brutal, epic affair that has tones of old school influences running through it. The band has a busy year ahead of them and they will be playing many of the major European festivals this summer and are hoping to make it across the pond this year for some shows in North America. Here’s how the conversation went with Middleton.

Different groups have unique ways of writing their songs. How do you guys go about writing your music? Is it a collective effort or is it more the efforts of one particular member of the band?
Josh: Usually it’s just me sitting in front of the computer. I’ll write riffs or chord structures just messing around on the guitar but all the arranging is something that I do on the computer which takes the most time. I’ll usually have various songs on the go and build them all up bit by bit over a few months.

Every band has its musical influences. What are some of the other bands and artists that have greatly influenced you guys and your music?
Josh: Metallica, Death and Sepultura are some of the biggest influences. The albums And Justice For All, Symbolic and Arise respectively are huge inspirations on me in terms of style and song structures. Aside from that I like a lot of progressive music from the 70s like Rush or more current progressive/alt bands like Neurosis and Cult Of Luna.

The name of the band, Sylosis, is interesting to say the least and sounds as if there is a story behind it. Where did the name come from and what is the story?
Josh: The name isn’t important to us at all. It was a made up word we came up with when we were 14 back in 2000 and we were too lazy to change it. I don’t think band names are that important. Metallica isn’t a great name by today’s standards but you don’t think twice about it because they rule.

Now that your brand new CD, Edge Of The Earth, is complete how do you feel about it? Are you satisfied with the outcome?
Josh: We’re all very satisfied with the outcome. It represents us in a better way in terms of our influences. We spent so much time on every aspect and I think it’s paid off. There will always be things you wish you could do differently but nothing major.

What kind of touring plans do you have in support of the record?
Josh: We’ve already done a headline tour in the UK. Over the summer period we will be doing a lot of festivals all over Europe. Hopefully we can get to America by the end of the year.

What artists would fans be surprised to find on your iPod?
Josh: Crowded House is probably the only surprising one. That’s a guilty pleasure. Undeniably good song writing.

Tell me about a book or two that you’ve read that you think other people should read?
Josh: To be honest I don’t read at all. I don’t have the concentration for it. The last book I read was about eight years ago. “Lords Of Chaos” about the early black metal scene in Norway.

If you had not become a musician what other career path would you have liked to attempt?
Josh: I would have been an artist of some sort or a record producer.

What three words best describe your band?
Josh: Heavy, epic, progressive.

If you were a superhero, who would it be and why?
Josh: Batman because he’s the coolest.

Any closing words?
Josh: Please pick up a copy of our new album Edge Of The Earth. If you’re a fan of metal in general there’s bound to be something on there for you!