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Monolith
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Performer Notes
  • Personnel: Josh Middleton (vocals, guitar); Carl Parnell (bass guitar); Rob Callard (drums).
  • Audio Mixers: Romesh Dodangoda; Jens Bogren.
  • Recording information: Monnow Valley Studios.
  • Photographer: Tom Barnes.
  • Arranger: Sylosis.
  • Whatever else they may yet have to prove, Britain's Sylosis have convinced everyone of their prolific songwriting tendencies, tarrying barely 18 months between the release of their sophomore Edge of the Earth and third album, Monolith, in late 2012 (with a live set snuck in between, for good measure). A concept album, no less, based on the ancient myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, this most ambitious new endeavor arguably tests the band's mettle like never before, and the wide-ranging talents of vocalist, lead guitarist, chief songwriter, and recording producer Josh Middleton in particular, though his supporting cast members guitarist Alex Bailey, bassist Carl Parnell, and drummer Rob Callard are obviously no slouches either. Together, Sylosis quickly confirm that their steel-toed sh*t-kickers remain firmly affixed to the modern thrash metal bedrock laid down for them by everyone from Arch Enemy to Trivium (and showcased on their first few release already), with the option to launch notable tunes such as "Fear the World" and "Paradox" toward orbiting metallic satellites (especially prog and death metal) whenever their increasingly erudite and emotional subject matter demands it. Additional numbers like "Behind the Sun," "The River," and "Born Anew" juggle metalcore-style breakdowns and vocals both sung and barked, along with ample melodic guitar breaks, sporadic softer dynamics, and endless tempo changes that contribute a little something to the overall musical variety on hand -- thus making the average five- to six-minute songs contained here not seem nearly as long. Saying the same about the album's final 20-minute epic, "Enshrined," is a little more challenging (imagine Machine Head's bloated but mostly worthy material of late, only interrupted with several snatches of silence), but Sylosis can probably be given a pass in light of the strong material that preceded it. In sum, Monolith, above all else, is a strong endorsement of Sylosis' fearless daring, followed closely by their ability to create memorable, technical, and accessible heavy metal out of not always faultless modern metalcore and thrash influences. ~ Eduardo Rivadavia
Professional Reviews
Q (Magazine) (p.103) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "[F]rontman Josh Middleton's creative solos and powerful singing show real potential."
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