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Since releasing their 2008 album Conclusion of an Age, Jamie Graham, the vocalist who sang on that album has left Sylosis. The band attempted to find a new singer, but when nothing worked out, Josh Middleton, the band's lead guitarist, stepped forward. Middleton's approach is slightly different to Graham's; while Graham occasionally took a break from his roaring to sing soaring clean parts, Middleton mostly sticks to growling. I prefer the new vocal style to the old one as ,while I love Conclusion of an Age, the clean parts did seem oddly out of place. There are clean parts on this album too, but they are used sparingly and sound decidedly less emo.
The guitar work on this album is stellar and the riffs are very memorable with the shredding on Empyreal standing out in particular. As with Conclusion of an Age, the album has an epic and ethereal feel and is extremely heavy, but also very melodic. The lyrics are also excellent and Middleton has a very unique songwriting style.
The most common complaint that I have heard about Edge of the Earth is that it's just too long, and while it is very long for a thrash/death album, I don't feel that it's TOO long. The latest Exodus albums have also had this problem, and while I mostly agree that the Atrocity Exhibition albums do run too long, I don't seem to get tired of EotE before the end like I do with those albums. This album is engaging and interesting enough for me to sit out the whole length of the album without getting bored and is memorable enough to warrant repeat listens. Also, the instrumental "Where the Sky Ends" is beautiful and haunting.
Sylosis have continued their promising start of their career by following up their excellent debut with an even more excellent sophomore effort. I just can't wait to hear more from them and it looks like they are destined for great things.
If you have human ears and a functioning brain, you probably hated The Haunted's Unseen. And if you're anything like me, you were probably disappointed by that, because they were one of the best bands to fill that melodic death/thrash niche. Maybe that left you wanting something to fill the void. Well, Sylosis just might fit the bill.
Sylosis is a young band out of the UK. I've begun to notice that I don't usually care for music made by people who were born after me. I'm guessing that's what happens to everyone as they approach 30. But these guys really have something going. Their style is a lot like The Haunted's older Gothenburg-style thrash, as interpreted by members of the metalcore generation. It's mostly mid-paced, but with faster sections here and there, and, yes, the occasional breakdown. But they don't let the breakdown speak for itself--there's always something else (like a solo) going on to keep things interesting. The vocals are mostly growled semi-melodically, but there are also some clean vocals that sound like a non-irritating version of metalcore singing.
A lot of ideas on the record are really great. "Empyreal" stands out as the best track, channeling At the Gates the most effectively (I swear he said "under a serpent sky"). It starts with a slow, heavy riff with a high-pitched noodling lead before it picks up the pace and destroys. But there are a lot of bad ideas in here too. Like most of their generation, Sylosis seems to think there needs to be a weak, introspective-sounding/emotional part in just about every song. Listen up guys: you don't need that.
I can get past the generational differences in how they prefer to write songs, though. I'm not much older than them, after all, and most of the material is killer. But they get a failing grade in putting the package together as a cohesive whole. They clearly come from the iTunes school of thought, trying to cram as many catchy songs into the album as possible so they can sell individual songs or so buyers can get "more" for their money. But that's not conducive to the album listening experience. This unwieldy beast clocks in at nearly 73 minutes, and it gets tiresome after a while. Each of the last 6 songs sounds like it should be an album closer, so if you're not looking at the track list you keep thinking it's going to end. If you are looking at it, you keep wishing it would. Look, guys, I don't care how many album closers you write. You can only close out the album with one, and it should have been the first one. "Dystopia" could have ended things nicely (in the healthy 40+ minute range) with its almost "Damage, Inc." qualities.
The Verdict: Edge of the Earth is a younger band's very positive interpretation of melo-death/thrash. It has a lot of solid material, but it really starts to drag near the end. If they had cut it off a half hour earlier, it would have been a great album (and they probably could have sold the rest as an EP for an extra cash grab).
originally written for http://fullmetalattorney.blogspot.com/