ALBUM REVIEW: Sylosis – Cycle Of Suffering

Release Date: February 7th 2020
Label: Nuclear Blast Records


In recent years, Josh Middleton has done an immense job stepping in on guitar duties for Architects, but for Sylosis fans, the long wait for new material is finally over.

The Reading favourites are back with their fifth album, ‘Cycle Of Suffering’, which also comes in being the first studio outing with Connor Marshall (Conjurer) on bass and Ali Richardson (Bleed From Within) on drum duties.

It’s been five years since their last full-length, 2015’s expansive ‘Dormant Heart’, meaning that there’s no point trying to replicate that or mull over the stylistic direction, and it’s clear from the outset that a more streamlined approach is favoured this time around.

‘Empty Prophets’ comes in as thrash-sounding as ever, and this will certainly feel like a welcome back moment for fans. But, as we know, it’s not the only thing that Sylosis can do. On this song, not for the first time, there are some strong mosh calls, a trait that Middleton may have picked up from playing in Architects. This track in particular will certainly go down a treat live.

‘I Sever’, with an impressive guitar solo and a powerful scream-sung chorus (the first of quite a few), proves to also be strong in its convictions. Honestly, some of this genuinely sounds arena-ready.

And with the title-track, it continues to stay invigorating, and another great mosh call continues to up the ante. Whilst there’s a notable difference between this record and ‘Dormant Heart’, it still feels like they never really left us.

‘Calcified’ is proof of the fluidity of their combination of melodic death metal inspired sections and fist-pumping sections – they excel strongly at both. The song’s opening riff, and one of a number of impressive solos by Middleton, shows that the technical chops the band possess are shown in the best light.

‘Idle Hands’ has arguably the strongest chorus on the record, and features an impressive guitar solo to keep us on our toes. This is 50 minutes of unapologetic heavy metal, but you don’t find yourself switching yourself off or getting bored. It’s also a reminder of how hard it is to really master this like they do.

Like a calm after the storm, the ballad-like ‘Abandon’ starts with a piano intro and a clean vocal from Middleton, and acts a great atmospheric closer, assisted by acoustic guitars and strings. This song reminds us once again that there’s many strings to Sylosis‘ bow. Maybe a little more imagination in the realm of this track wouldn’t go amiss, but when they’re firing on all cylinders and applying their signature sound, there’s no point in complaining.

‘Cycle Of Suffering’ is a triumphant return for Sylosis, and even with a half a decade long sabbatical between records, they continue to set the standard for everyone else in the world of metal.