With the ludicrously thrilling thought of two of the worlds most vital and vicious metal acts shattering stages night after night, the prospect of Decapitated and Sylosis going toe to toe will certainly have fans salivating up and down the country. Judging by tonight’s evidence, the duo squaring off with equally rampaging displays, both are set to be become an important part of the metallic furniture (although we knew that already).
First up, local brutes Pain Penitentiary  impress with their churning death-grind horror, closing track ‘Everybody Is Dead Now’ a particular highpoint as the band leave us suitably pumped for the main event(s).
Decapitated  are simply incredible, unleashing waves of cataclysmic death metal blows which draw a bold line between subtle inventiveness and almost harrowing brutality. Newer material dominates, with the opening brace of ‘Exiled In Flesh/The Blasphemous Psalm to the Dummy God Creation’ delivering that scalpel keen rhythmic interplay and thudding assault of the bands recent years, yet it is an airing of more time honoured cuts where Decapitated truly display their peerless ingenuity. Indeed, ‘Day 69’ with its ears-agog complexity is the pick of the bunch tonight, although as the quintet leave us with the destructive closing twosome of ‘Spheres Of Madness’ and ‘Homo Sum’, there is little that can said about the bands performance that isn’t both devastatingly heavy and exhilarating.
Sylosis  are no less absorbing, showcasing their remarkable musicianship and undeniable songwriting with engaging aplomb. Indeed, the earthy dynamism of their approach sits rather at odds with the mechanical bluster of their tour mates, yet between the blitzkrieg thrash of set main-stay ‘Teras’ and ‘Servitude’s stomping heft, there is certainly no lack of metallic violence from our bill toppers. A self-proclaimed under the weather frontman Josh Middleton proves his credentials as the UK’s premier metal six stringer with a surfeit of glorious lead breaks, the band veering from the feral, Slayer-esque clatter of ‘Indoctrinated’ through to ‘Sands Of Time’ stately harmonic wallop. Interestingly, it is ferocious newbie ‘Different Masks On The Same Face’ which garners the biggest response, a whirlwind of circle pits and banging heads greeting what is perhaps the most lethally to-the-point Sylosis tune yet, and bowing out with a colossal ‘Empyreal’ (not to mention a rather hilarious stage invasion from Decapitated and crew), the Reading quintet enhance their reputation as the most exciting and accomplished band to emerge from our fair shores in a very long time.
Written by Tony Bliss (@TBliss88)