Released: February 7th 2020
Label: Nuclear Blast
Formats: CD / LP / DD / DSP
Having Sylosis back is like a friend returning from a long expedition. Cycle Of Suffering sees the Reading outfit ending their five year hiatus.
A droning ten seconds of ominous rising guitar feedback at the start of opener, Empty Prophets, is all it takes for Sylosis to make their presence felt once again. Blasting drums and rolling guitars are backed by the instantly recognisable snarling vocals. The thrashy pace is bludgeoning, and the varying tempos ensure that the slower tempos are crushing.
For the rest of the album, the band do not let up. I Sever throws the bay area thrash card on the table, but it’s given ‘that’ Sylosis twist with flashes of melody shooting off the main riff.
The title track uses a hypnotic guitar line in it’s make up. It grabs you and doesn’t let go. What is stunning about the title track is the force of the drumming. Double kick drums aplenty and smashing cymbals are par for the course but they feel like they have that little bit extra here. It is an absolute joy to hear this band again.
Singer, Josh Middleton, has been a working member of Architects for the past few years after he stood in for Tom Searle’s tragic death at the age of 28, due to a battle with cancer. In his vocals you can feel the anguish, pain and suffering in his delivery.
Whilst the vocals are harsh and the music hits you like a jackhammer pulsing through your brain, there is a real element of anthem about the way Sylosis deliver their music. Shield shows this off perfectly. The ‘we’re not fallen’ lyric is going to be a monster in the live environment. The solo and neck wrecking chug of the song will have collective heads banging in unison.
Before you know it, you’re hitting the mid point of the album and wondering what just happened. It is a devastating trip listening to Cycle Of Suffering.
Invidia and Arms Like A Noose play with epic introductions to songs that allow brief moments of repose. The slower introductions only seem to amp up the furious and fierce nature of the songs that follow them. Arms Like A Noose is a gargantuan song. It feels heavier, more brutal, and contains sublimely wailing guitar solos that rush you at breakneck speed.
Apex Of Disdain is another highlight, along with Arms Like A Noose. There are moments where the vocal screams will make your toes curl. Another reason why it is great to see Sylosis back ‘pulling up trees’ and laying waste to the land, so to speak.
The fact that this level of music flows throughout the whole album shows that Cycle Of Suffering is not a flash in the pan with set piece songs at the front of the album. The whole album is sublime.
Disintegrate, and Abandon, close out the album. Both songs play out with a slightly slower tempo and offer a more contemplative and reflective mood. You don’t have to be going 100mph all the time to be heavy. The ‘fade to black’ at the end of the album is somewhat cliche, but so what…this is the kind of record that is so vast that it deserves a cinematic ending.
Cycle Of Suffering will bother the heavy metal end of year lists in 2020. It is a stunning and welcome return for a band that have been dormant for five years. Since their formation at the turn of the millennium, Sylosis have consistently put out music that is true to their identity. This is another addition to their stunning catalogue.
Cycle Of Suffering can be ordered worldwide here.
Read more reviews by Dominic Walsh here.