ALBUM REVIEW: Sylosis – Cycle of Suffering

So, Cycle of Suffering (Nuclear Blast) is Sylosis‘ post-hiatus album? Considering how tight the musicianship is and the sense of urgency you could’ve told me that this was released six months after Dormant Heart, and I would’ve bought the lie hook, line, and sinker. For a band that just reformed last year and have worked their way through various personnel changes, this is some remarkable shit. Continue reading

Architects: Live at Wembley Arena, London

And so, to Architects at Wembley Arena. You start off with one of those angel/devil on your shoulder conversations about how this could be a really great way to spend a Saturday night or, conversely, rather like Roger Murtaugh in Lethal Weapon, you find yourself wondering whether you really are getting too old for this shit; a feeling that seems to continue as you take the tube northbound, past semi-frozen shoppers heading to warm homes and warm food, to the glorified cattle shed that is the SSE Arena, or Wembley Arena, as most of us still know (if not love) it. Continue reading

Architects – Holy Hell

It’s that gap between hope and expectation that we often fall through. Let’s be honest, your hope levels for Architects’ new album Holy Hell (Epitaph) might be stratospheric, but your expectations…? Given what this band has been through in terms of loss, sorrow and anguish, you could easily have fallen into that space of hoping for the best but guarding your expectations. It might be enough just that they simply deliver us something, anything, yes? Continue reading

Architects Announces New Album “Holy Hell”, New Video And Single Out Now

One of the most hotly anticipated albums of 2018, Architects will release their new full-length Holy Hell, on November 9th on Epitaph Records. They also issued a new single and a music video which was directed by Jeb Hardwick. for ‘Hereafter’. Watch it below. The band also announced a headline tour of Europe and the UK, with tickets going on sale later this week! Continue reading

Sylosis – Dormant Heart

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For me, Sylosis have always made more sense as a live band. Their swirling combo of brutal riffs, intricate solos and breakdowns made perfect sense in the midst of a mosh pit, but on record that intensity is lost, and most of their records end up being enjoyable but lacking the killer spark.

But on their new album, Dormant Heart (Nuclear Blast), the band have finally added the missing element to their sound: killer songwriting. The usual mix of thrash, and melodic death metal with progressive elements have all been retained, but what sets this apart from prior releases is the ambition. The songs are better, the already impressive solos are tighter and the vocals more thought-out.

Where previous albums were pretty much all played at breakneck speed, the band bring down the tempo for much of the album. The likes of opener ‘Where the Wolves Come to Die’, ‘To Build a Tomb’ and second single ‘Leech’ are all slow, deliberate crushers and throughout Dormant Heart, you can hear the band moving on from pure aggression and adding a heavy, almost gloomy atmosphere.

There are still plenty of all-out thrashers though – the likes of ‘Victims and Pawns,’ ‘Indoctrinated’ and ‘Callous Souls’ would have been stand out tracks on any of the previous albums, but the record has far more variety in tempo and style than what’s come before. And of course the solos are breath-taking, it’s always been a strength, but here everything been taken up a notch. Every song features moments of fret-busting brilliance, and it’s hard to pick a standout moment.

As well as stellar music, this is frontman/guitarist Josh Middleton’s best vocal performance by far; the usual deathly growls are present, but he also pushes into clean singing at various points, showing off a side of Sylosis not heard since 2008’s Conclusion of an Age (also Nuclear Blast). On lead single ‘Mercy’ he combines the shred and scream template with a darker melody for the chorus.

The nine-minute closing track ‘Quiescent’ opens with a clean vocals and acoustic guitar, and is so at odds with what you expect from the band that it’s almost enough to question whether you’re still listening to the same band. From there it builds to a heavy and haunting finale.

Since their inception, Sylosis have been one of the brightest hopes for UK metal – few band can combine the fury and hook-laden riffs in the way these Reading boys can.  But previous efforts often felt like a collection of awesome riffs and solos with no cohesion. With Dormant Heart, they’re finally starting to cash in on all that potential.

 

8.0/10

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DAN SWINHOE

Josh Middleton (SYLOSIS): My Top 5 (Non “Big 4”) Thrash Albums

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To celebrate the upcoming release of dark, progressive thrash opus Dormant Heart (Nuclear Blast) Josh Middleton of Sylosis spoke of his love of Thrash, including his Top 5 (non-Big 4) Thrash albums…

In no particular order (except the first one, apparently):

 

SEPULTURA ‘Arise’ (Roadrunner)

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After upping the ante in a serious way with the seminal Beneath The Remains Max Cavalera and crew cemented their place in the annals with one of the heaviest and one of the best slabs of thrash known to man, beast or beyond. Produced by the legendary Scott Burns at Morrisound, Brazil’s greatest musical export refined their delivery while maintaining the aggression, with an album chock full of anthems from ‘Dead Embryonic Cells’ and its neck-snapping groove, to the epic ‘Desperate Cry’ and the crunching pace of closer ‘Infected Voice’, while the opening title track boasts one of the greatest heavy riffs of the last forty years and is a bone-fide extreme anthem. A genuine Death/Thrash classic.

 

VIO-LENCE ‘Oppressing The Masses’ (Megaforce)

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There’s a certain writing team currently topping the metal charts (and coming in third in Ghost Cult‘s Albums of the Year 2014), a writing team that includes Messrs Philip Demmell and Robert Flynn. Back in 1990, Machine Head‘s creative force were cutting not just their teeth, but an album of jagged thrash intent with no lack of cerebral content, from stomping tour-de-force ‘I, Profit’ to closing title-track, more of a traditional thrasher operating in the Overkill ball park, replete with Sean Killian‘s Blitz-deranged vocals.

 

FORBIDDEN ‘Twisted Into Form’ (Combat/Relativity)

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Another band that operated as a stepping stone for some of its’ members, with drummer Paul Bostaph to move on to Slayer and Testament and highly-regarded guitar-wizard Tim Calvert to later join Nevermore for their defining album Dreaming Neon Black (Century Media). Twisted Into Form was the San Franciscan’s second opus, and with Calvert joining (at the expense of Glen Alvelias, who himself was later to also join Testament), saw a more melodic, technical and progressive approach to the debut.

 

 

HEATHEN ‘Victim of Deception’ (Roadrunner)

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Another early 90’s great, “This is pretty much …And Justice For All Part 2!” states Middleton. Along with the Vio-lence and Forbidden selections, this is another sophomore album that saw a band at the top of its game really define their sound second time around. Widely regarded as one of the most technical thrash albums, Victim… is renowned for its many complex structures, time changes and guitar work, retaining little of the NWOBHM influence exhibited on their debut. Coming in at over an hour, with the majority of its tracks over six minutes in length, Heathen made a statement that thrash could be complicated and could be progressive.

 

TESTAMENT ‘First Strike Still Deadly’ (Spitfire)

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“I haven’t had any Testament yet… and, you know what, I know it’s a cop out, but I really enjoy First Strike Still Deadly. I know it’s effectively a best of, but I like it.”

Featuring guest appearances from original vocalist/Exodus screamer Steve “Zetro” Sousa and Joey Tempesta, who had sat on the drum stool at various points in Testament’s career, as well as Alex Skolnick returning for the first time since 1992’s The Ritual, this compilation of re-recordings was Steve Di Giorgio‘s last with the band. Comprising of tracks from their classic first two albums, The Legacy and The New Order (Atlantic/Megaforce) and old demo track ‘Reign of Terror’, this was the start of the re-recording trend and has been widely panned by critics, which seems harsh as the tracks are, still, incredible. Besides, at least one person (Mr Middleton) likes it… Here at Ghost Cult we support First Strike… but would recommend getting hold of the first two Testament albums, if you don’t already own them. You can pick up pretty much every Testament release while you’re at it, too…

 

 

Words by STEVE TOVEY

 

 

 

 

Lamb Of God And Sylosis Live At Wolverhampton Civic Hall, Wolverhampton UK

Lamb of God-30Crammed into one of the biggest venues ever to hold a club show you can’t help but notice that metalheads are a foul mouthed bunch. You’re unlikely to see a room so emblazoned with the word ‘Fuck’ unless Justin Bieber unleashes his ‘Anne Frank was a Fucking Belieber’ t-shirt; don’t laugh there’s still time. Continue reading