A Sign Of Things To Come
Review by Greg on December 5, 2023.
A new millennium staple of UK thrash, Sylosis have however always eluded my radar, not least for their prominent metalcore/groovy tendencies. The band's latest effort, A Sign Of Things To Come, offers me another chance to evaluate their repertoire, and hopefully to see them join my personal pantheon of modern UK bands along with Evile, Shrapnel, possibly Acid Age, and the sadly short-lived Mutant, among others. Who knows?
Well, unsurprisingly enough, I still find their style missing something, in order to be truly impressive. I'm not even complaining about a lack of thrashing, mind you, since, as said before, it isn't Sylosis main genre first and foremost (even if, judging by a passing listen to the predecessor Cycle Of Suffering, it seems they somewhat slowed down and softened a bit if compared to the past). I wouldn't define opener 'Deadwood', to say, as bad, despite being almost totally groovy. It's because it embodies the part of the band's sound that strikes a chord with me the most – the visceral, almost unfiltered anger, where the modern (but massive, instead of sterile) production is a perfect match, and ditto for Josh Middleton's commanding vocals. 'Deadwood' is indeed a perfect, furious opener for this kind of album, and when the band happens to upgrade the recipe with some modern thrashing ('Pariahs', 'Poison For The Lost'), I think it's safe to say they find the best balance, especially when a rare melodic section ('A Godless Throne') shows up. Those tracks mentioned are extremely satisfying and a full album of this kind of stuff would really be appreciated by yours truly.
And so the problem arises, when comparing all of this to the more hollow, empty numbers like 'Descent' or 'Thorns'... the contrast is evident. This is where the least convincing metalcore elements shine, like the misplaced inoffensive refrains, or the unimaginative solo in the latter which might as well have been left out altogether. And don't even get me started on 'Absent'... I feared the worst when I heard it starting out as a ballad, and lo, they manage to ruin it in the worst way possible. I concede it wasn't even half bad, and I didn't even mind Middleton's David Draiman-like inflection in the clean parts, until they tried re-elaborating it with a heavier character in its second part, where the unpleasant, coarse vocals also stick out like a sore thumb. Easily the unfortunate nadir of the album.
Even then, A Sign Of Things To Come as a whole didn't manage to change my mind about Sylosis. After an overall solid first half, the band didn't give me the impression they nailed all the choices they've made throughout the tracklist. But I do not regret having listened to it either... well, save for the second half of 'Absent', that is.
Rating: 6.5 out of 10257