Sylosis, unlike many of their peers, are a band who have both endured and matured with the passing years. That the start of 2015 brings their fourth album Dormant Heart seems incredible for those who remember fondly watching them with original singer Jamie Graham (now Heart Of A Coward) on their acclaimed debut Conclusion of an Age.
Sylosis are quite a different band now to the one that released Conclusions; Josh Middleton, now long established in his dual Mustaine-esque role of singer and lead guitarist continues to guide Sylosis in new directions. They do however remain true to what so many love about them, the riffs and technically brilliant songs that induce involuntary headbanging wherever they are heard.
Dormant Heart contains that output in spades; Intro Where The Wolves Come To Die is full of forboding guitar work which creates a bleak atmosphere, something continued by the ferocious To Build A Tomb, which ranks among their finest songs to date. With dark lyrical content, interesting vocal dynamics on the chorus and a brilliant solo, To Build A Tomb is one of many high points.
The quality is consistently high throughout Dormant Heart. Singles Leech and in particular Mercy (with its 80's Metallica style main riffs) contain a degree of experimentation whilst continuing to tick all the boxes. Indoctrinated changes tack and is an absolutely brutal classic thrash metal song with a modern twist. It also contains a nod to some of Slayer's more doom filled moments (think Hell Awaits) before ripping the listeners ears off once again as it approaches the conclusion. The album closing Quiescent is a true curve ball, being predominantly acoustic and featuring extensive clean vocals in a first for Sylosis. It's a gamble that pays off spectacularly and provides a fitting end.
Whilst Dormant Heart was one of the first metal albums to be released in 2015, it is destined to live long in the memory. It will be quite the surprise if it is not contending highly at the traditional yearend awards at many of the metal publications. The only complaint is that it is slightly overly long (though nowhere near as guilty as The Edge Of The Earth on this front). Sylosis do not know how to write a bad album and Dormant Heart is yet more evidence of this. This is a fine piece of work for longtime drummer Rob Callard to depart the band on (having now been replaced by Bleed From Within's Ali Richardson), particularly the Callous Souls drum intro, and the rest of the band sound tighter than ever. Full of quality and variety, Dormant Heart is surely one of 2015's best metal releases, even when the year is still very young.
Dormant Heart is out now on Nuclear Blast Records.