Thursday, January 29, 2015

Sylosis - Dormant Heart

2015 sure didn't waste anytime gearing up for a year of excellent releases.  Here to set the pace is Dormant Heart, the fourth full length album from England's Sylosis.  While the band's formula over the course of their discography hasn't changed too dramatically, their knack for molding pulse pounding rhythms and infectious thrash riffs into a darker atmosphere is something that's noticeably improved with each release.  Dormant Heart has taken this predestined groundwork and unearthed an album that could well be considered the band's magnum opus.

Immediately apparent from the opening tracks, Dormant Heart prides itself on its ability to captivate through its pacing.  The opening track, "Where the Wolves Come to Die," sets the stage with a tribal-like drum and guitar rhythm that primes your neck for the headbanging to come.  "Victims and Pawns", the following track, unleashes hell with a fury of speedy thrash riffing, antagonistic vocals, and many an anthemic hook.  It's this balance between the grand Death-like guitar melodies and the blistering speed of thrash that makes Dormant Heart a listening experience that while is enthralling throughout is also varied.

What turns this album's already great technical prowess and turns it into a complete listening experience, however, is the overall darkness that permeates the album.  2011's Edge of the Earth and 2012's Monolith started the turn the band took towards a more evil sound, but Dormant Heart is a full realization of this ethos.  With embellishment from powerful drumming that at some points sounds like the thundering of a large gong, the guitar riffs take on a more sinister edge.  This edge, best embodied through tracks like "Indoctrinated" and "Mercy," makes the energy of Dormant Heart all the more palpable.

I'm hard pressed to come up with anything negative to note about Dormant Heart.  In the past, Sylosis' output seemed to suffer from being a little too long-winded, but that isn't the case this time around.  If you've listened to Sylosis before, it might seem like their musical aesthetic hasn't ventured too far outside of its comfort zone.  While this is true to an extent, Dormant Heart represents the perfecting of a formula.  As they say, "If it ain't broken, don't fix it."

We still have quite a ways to go before the end of 2015, but Sylosis has already made a legitimate claim to many year-end lists with Dormant Heart.  While the sound of this album may be familiar, Sylosis has crafted something that is very much a coming of age album.  They realize what they do well and just wanted to do it a little better.  The guitar riffs vary between fast, thunderous, and shredding; as do the solos.  Josh Middleton's vocals are as pissed off as ever and the drumming is immense.  Sylosis didn't leave very much to be desired here, folks.  Dormant Heart is the real deal.

- Mick

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