Sylosis – Under from Over ThereSunday, 31st March 2013
(This content originally appeared on Blistering.com)
Currently on the road in North America as a part of Lamb of God’s fall run, British modern metallers Sylosis are presented with a golden opportunity to make a dent in this market. The formula for making successful inroads in this territory is simple: You have to tour, then tour some more, then tour until the wheels fall off. The bands that have succeeded in doing so are afforded a stable fanbase that justifies frequent trips (and big label money), while the bands that tour sporadically here are forever relegated to support status. Sylosis certainly has the wares to become a force in America, as evidenced by their immediate brand of cerebral thrash, and technical death metal. Their new album is Monolith, released 18 months after Edge of the Earth, an effort that thrust the considerable talents of vocalist/guitarist Josh Middleton to the forefront. Monolith is simply an extension of its predecessor, a capable and bristling exercise in state-of-the-art thrash.
As our third go-round with the band, we grabbed Middleton for a quick Q&A, who no doubt was probably packing his clothes for the tour while typing his responses…
Blistering.com: To begin with the obvious: You’re bucking the trend of waiting at least two years in between releases. What prompted the idea to release an album in consecutive years?
Josh Middleton: There was a long period of time after we had finished trackingEdge of the Earth before it was released. The mixing and artwork took a bit longer than we had hoped and the label had to wait for the right slot to release the album. In that time we didn’t have much touring going on so we had at least four-five songs written before EOTE was released. The writing process took a long time, just as long as in the past, but we had a bit of a head start. We were so proud of the material and so eager to get it out we thought, why wait? It will have been a year and a half between releases.
Blistering.com: You made considerable strides with Edge of the Earth, so was this a matter of trying to capitalize on the momentum you gained with that record?
Middleton: Not really, it was just a matter of us trying something new with this album, being really creative and energized and just eager to get these new songs released. We brought in influences and sounds that we felt had been missing and wanted to really establish what we’re all about.
Blistering.com: Is it safe to say the band is now full comfortable with the current lineup formation of the four of you? You handling guitars and vocals seems to have made quite the difference…
Middleton: Yeah it’s been settled for a while now. It was never a ‘lets see how it goes with me doing vocals’ thing. It was always the long-term solution.
Blistering.com: With Monolith, it appears you’ve fine-tuned things a bit more, as some of these songs strike as more immediate than previous ones. Are you at the point now where it’s more important to have one or two good riffs per song as opposed to trying to cram as many in as possible?
Middleton: I don’t know. I think there are still tons of riffs per song on this album too and that’s something I love, but it is a bit more direct in places, even though a more progressive vibe has come through generally. We don’t aim to be less technical or anything from now on though. We just wanted to make something a little different for this album and do what was needed. Nothing was forced.
Blistering.com: It also feels like you’ve moved out of the thrash box – not entirely – but the groove elements and even some doomy ones make this a more varied outing. Conscious decision or natural progression?
Middleton: We definitely don’t want to move away from thrash at all but we did want to bring in some variation with the song tempos and definitely bring in the more doomy, sludgey influences.
Blistering.com: Some of the instrumentals on the last album were quite excellent (i.e. “Where the Sky Ends”), but this album doesn’t have any. What’s the deal with that?
Middleton: I’m really proud of “Where the Sky Ends” but didn’t want to force out an instrumental just for the sake of it and we didn’t want the album to be as long again. The disc length might be long, but there is a lot of silence before not-so-hidden track after “Enshrined.”
Blistering.com: You’re slated to embark as a support act on Lamb of God’s North American fall tour. What are your expectations for this?
Middleton: We’re really excited for this tour. We’ve played some shows with LOG in the UK before and they were incredible for us, and having toured the states before it seems like this is the perfect lineup.
Blistering.com: Along those lines, this will be your best crack at the North American market. What do you think it will take for you guys to grow your audience here?
Middleton: Yeah it seems to be. I think we just need to keep touring there as much as possible really, same as in any other country. We seemed to have a great following last time we were over there. We were really surprised by how many fans we had and seeing people with Sylosis tattoos
Blistering.com: Judging by the amount of touring the band has done the last two or three years, is the band now a full-time gig? Or in-between tours, do you have to pick up work?
Middleton: It looks busy from the outside but we’ve still had plenty of down time to be honest. We all still have day jobs, etc. Well, apart from me.
Blistering.com: Finally, what’s on the agenda for the rest of 2012, going into 2013?
Middleton: The LoG takes us til the end of 2012 and in the new year we have a short UK headline tour and we’re off to Australia for Soundwave festival after that. That’s all we know for now. As much touring as we can do!