Sylosis is one of the premiere Thrash/Melodic Death Metal bands currently running. They are incredibly consistent and their previous effort, Monolith, was an aptly titled slab of pure metal goodness, filled with insane riffs and catchy songs. Dormant Heart, their fourth full length from Nuclear Blast Records, is no different and as a result is a huge piece of music, full of epic, soaring heights and humble, somber moments. The LP tracks in at over an hour, but never wears on the listener, deftly balancing atmospheric intros, slower moments and pounding riffs.
It is necessary to start with the vocal performance of Josh Middleton, his raspy screams, incredible lows and varied clean singing is moody and powerful. He is capable of pure brutality on songs like ‘Where The Wolves Come To Die’ and ‘To Build A Bomb’ but also soars with the best on the choruses of ‘Mercy’ and ‘Leech’ which are sure to be album highlights for many. Middleton also shows his more measured side with songs like ‘Quiescent’ and ‘Pillars Erode’, the former being a nine minute epic that progresses from slow build with accompanying strings and acoustic guitar picking to an all out assault with slow churning riffs. His voice can be downright haunting, evoking the imagery of broiling seas and churning oceans.
The rest of the band is no slouch, the dual guitars of Middleton and Alex Bailey make for some the best timed rhythm and lead sections this side of The Blackening Era Machine Head. Monoliths guitar work was one of the key reasons it was one of the best albums of 2012 and on Dormant Heart that trend continues. Where Dormant Heart excels is expressing incredible skill without treading too far into pure technical showmanship. It never passes the threshold of just playing to show off, it is there for the sake of the music and the album as a whole.
There are not enough good things that could be said about the latest from these modern metal masters. Sylosis is a band that fully came into their own on Monolith and Dormant Heart only shows that they will continue and evolve and grow. This album is Middleton and Co. distilled into its most perfect form, not a single song feels like it doesn’t belong on this incredible piece of music. 2015 already has an album of the year contender in Dormant Heart.