Sylosis – Anything But DormantMonday, 12th January 2015
One band that has been managing to mount an increasingly large amount of buzz over the last few years is that of British neo-thrashers Sylosis. After a few small EPs, the band immediately jumped onto the scene by signing with Nuclear Blast Records and releasing their first album, Conclusion of an Age. Clearly influenced by the Bay Area scene, the band kept some more modern elements intact and brought some of their own stylings to the proceedings, generating a fanbase that has since built its way upwards through frequent touring and the release of more successful albums.
The band’s fourth album, Dormant Heart, is just about set to unleash itself upon the masses here in January of 2015. So how does guitarist/vocalist Josh Middleton feel it compares to the rest of Sylosis’ growing discography? “We’ve still retained the elements that make us the band we are. We established what we do on the last two albums so for this one we knew we could try something a bit different. It’s probably the darkest album we’ve made to date. It’s got more of a gloomy atmosphere about it.” Despite the dark and inherent gloomy nature of the album, fans can also expect it to be one of the most aggressive releases from the band. “The music and lyrics came out that way naturally. Once that was apparent then it just made sense to explore that as much as possible.”.
Before hitting the play button, the first thing one will notice when they see Dormant Heart is that of its striking artwork. Middleton elaborates, “There’s a woman sacrificing a lamb. It’s meant in the symbolic sense. There’s an ominous figure in the background. It’s supposed to imply that she is doing this against her will and feels pressured into it. It can be representative of various aspects of life. People feel pressured by society to act or live in a certain way or people are scared of change or getting rid of tradition.” It’s this same feeling of being scared of change and running on “autopilot” that runs through the album.
All too often in today’s modern society, it’s become clear that with the amount of information that is available, people pick and choose what they want to weigh in on rather than take a look at the whole. Middleton doesn’t claim to know all the answers to this growing concern. “I’m not sure to be honest. Maybe because more science is coming out showing how serious the destruction to our environment or even our own health is coming to light. People generally like to pick and choose what they want to pay attention to. With today’s media or social media it’s really easy to hone in on one topic and be ignorant to others.”
One of the first released tracks from Dormant Heart was that of “Leech” and its accompanying music video. Completely animated by Oliver Jones of Better Feeling Films, it acts in stark contrast to the usual, “band playing in the garage” types that metal fans have grown quite accustomed to seeing. “It was more just about making something visually striking than the video having any real meaning. We liked the idea of not being limited. You can literally have anything you want happen in the video when it’s animation,” states Middleton. The video can be viewed HERE and is well worth checking out, particularly if you are in the mood for some gruesome visuals with a darker tone.
Those who pick up the special edition of Dormant Heart will find themselves treated to an undeniably metal cover of the Smashing Pumpkins song “Zero.” But with many heavy metal bands choosing to cover other heavy metal bands, where does the inspiration come from for choosing a ‘90s alternative hit? “We did a live session for BBC radio back in 2013 and got asked to do a cover so we picked something that was easy to learn,” states Middleton. “We figured we’d record it properly as a bonus track. Musically, it’s pretty metal. So I just screamed the lyrics instead of doing a Billy Corgan impression and it sounds pretty heavy.”
As previously noted, part of Sylosis’ rise within the metal realms is no small part due to their frequent trips on the road. The band has been fortunate enough to share the stage with big names such as Killswitch Engage, Lamb of God, Trivium, Devildriver, and Dragonforce, among others. In the US in particular, the band seems to be gaining some traction. “Yeah we’ve been very fortunate with US tours,” says Middleton. “We do see our fan base growing over there which is great. When we do a headline tour (no idea when that will be) that would be the best way for us to tell how it’s going but we’re really pleased with the reaction we get in the US.”
But the band’s travels on the road haven’t always been the easiest. In September 2013, while on the road in the US in support of Trivium and Devildriver, the band was involved in a serious accident. All four members of the band and their driver were hospitalized and it caused them to drop out of the remainder of that tour. “Financially it was pretty tough. It was very stressful but luckily we didn’t have any long lasting injuries. We’ve all got some scars to show but we were all pretty luckily. I’d say I’m a bit more of a nervous passenger now, for sure,” says Middleton.
Leaving the accident behind them, Sylosis shows no signs of slowing down in 2015. With the release of Dormant Heart, Middleton concludes that the band is set for, “As much touring as possible. Nothing I can announce just yet though I’m afraid.” So barring a few European festival dates in June, fans should keep their eyes peeled for any upcoming dates. If the quality of Dormant Heart is any indication, it seems as if Sylosis is already off to a great start here in 2015.