Often slapped with the all too tunnel-vision “thrash metal” tag, it is undoubtedly fair to say that Reading-based quartet Sylosis have long since transcended their eighties worshipping roots, the band’s blitzkrieg metallic dynamism peppered with subtle flavours of cavernous extremity and melodic enterprise. Fourth full-length LP Dormant Heart is flagrantly no exception, being as ferociously ultra-modern as much as it harnesses the backward-looking power of our world’s historic creative peaks.

Indeed, dipping its limbs into metal’s unending well of ideas, this is a record which scales new heights of songwriting sophistication for Sylosis. The likes of ‘Harm’ with its stately harmonic bluster and the sumptuous majesty of ‘Leech’ lead us into territories uncharted by the band in their open-souled emotional intensity, whereas the abrasive rhythmic wallop of a Slayer-esque ‘Indoctrinated’ and the merciless ‘To Build A Tomb’ (which rips with the sort of precision and visceral rush of prime Testament) are the equal of almost anything from the “Big Four” heyday, then given a nitro boost of contemporary power. This is all not to mention some utterly sublime lead breaks from the UK’s premier metal six stringer Josh Middleton (‘Victims And Pawns’) whose almost inconceivable fret-wrangling talents are an ever present wonder.

Of course, any Sylosis release post 2010 is worthy of consideration here (2011’s Edge Of The Earth and 2012’s Monolith are both similarly stunning), however Dormant Heart thrums with a tangible sense of panoramic ambition and feels like a truly defining statement from one of the best British metal bands of this or any other era. Glorious musicality and progressive gusto have always made for ideal bedfellows, yet Sylosis managed to deliver something of artistry and character which remains remorselessly, thunderously metal throughout. A triumphant piece of work from these most monstrously gifted musicians.

Words: Tony Bliss

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