Upon the release of their blistering debut Conclusion Of An Age in 2008, Reading’s Sylosis almost single-handedly reinvigorated the UK thrash metal scene, making serious waves by appearing at the country’s biggest festivals and touring across Europe shortly after. Just two years later, however, the group found themselves reinventing their approach with the departure of vocalist Jamie Graham (now of Viscera). For sophomore release Edge Of The Earth (2011), primary songwriter and true guitar virtuoso Josh Middleton stepped up to tackle vocal duties as well, a role he has retained into the present. Now, following a 5-year hiatus, Middleton and his bandmates are set to release their fifth album Cycle Of Suffering on Nuclear Blast.
With its opening guitar notes and thumping drum fills, Cycle Of Suffering wastes no time in ingratiating the listener to Sylosis’ trademark sound; “Empty Prophets” bringing biting rhythm guitar, intricate leads, and an insatiable need to headbang along. The second track “I Sever” is how the band announced their return some two months ago and it showcases Sylosis at the peak of their ability blending old-school thrash with modern metal influences. Those aware of the group’s past work could point to the artist even without being told who is performing – such is the familiarity of the cadence, vocals and guitar tones – and it’s no bad thing to have an identifiable trademark sound.
Throughout the length of Cycle Of Suffering, there’s an undeniable urgency to the band’s sound; a hunger and a level of almost exasperated emotion to the vocal delivery. “Shield” marries this perfectly with the track’s dynamics between frantic and quiet, managing to encase both one of the album’s most iconic choruses as well as a breakdown guaranteed to force a physical reaction from even the most grizzled metal fan. Some of the riffs performed on this album seem to almost take on tangible form in the air, with the outro of “Arms Like A Noose” another which demands that you chew and digest it in full rather than something which merely drifts past your ears. It’s a testament to the production being perfect for the music, as well as the writing itself.
At the end of its 50-minute conclusion, Cycle Of Suffering leaves the listener breathless from its nigh-on relentless pace and ferocity. There are no lulls on the album, only carefully controlled moments of calm before Sylosis once again grab you by the collar and demand your undivided attention. It’s a triumphant return for a band the UK metal scene has sorely missed these past five years and one which will hopefully see Sylosis popping up far and wide on festival bills and tours once again.
Cycle Of Suffering Track Listing:
01. Empty Prophets
02. I Sever
03. Cycle Of Suffering
07. Idle Hands
08. Apex Of Disdain
09. Arms Like A Noose
10. Devils In Their Eyes
Run Time: 50:53
Release Date: February 7, 2020
Record Label: Nuclear Blast