The biggest concern I had when I learned of the new Sylosis album, Edge of the Earth, was about what the band would do with departing vocalist Jamie Graham. Founding member and lead guitarist, Josh Middleton, stepped up to the plate and decided to take over vocals as well as continue being the lead guitarist. To crush any suspense you may have for the answer to the question of how Josh’s vocals sound, they are better than Jamie’s. Not taking anything away from Jamie at all, but I have seen them perform before with Jamie and thought they were incredible. I believe Josh brings a lot more aggression to the table and that’s what made this album a great follow up to their last effort.
Before I really breakdown how Josh’s vocals had my jaw dropping, let’s go into how he and Alex did together on their axes. Throughout the album, the guitar duo play everything from heavy chugging riffs to epic harmonized melodic solos. One of the biggest reasons why I enjoy this album so much is because of how the songs actually bring you on a roller coaster ride. Start off with the first hit off the album, Empyreal, it is a crushing, brutal song that really gets you pumped for the rest of the album. And then all of a sudden, A Serpent’s Tongue hits you like a ton of bricks being shot out of a cannon. Within the first few seconds, the song starts up with a thunderous drum intro and then Josh lets out an eye raising scream. Dystopia was another stand out to me with its clean intro and then sudden explosion into a giant blender of thrash and death metal. My favorite track after a few times through is definitely Apparitions with its amazing clean intro, thrashy middle, great lyrics like, “Father time forever mocks me,” and then all culminating to a face-melting, harmonized solo. Josh and Alex literally play every kind of metal there is to be played, and they showcase it on this album.
As for Josh’s ability in the vocal area, he succeeds any and all expectations set by the critics. Not only does he have very powerful and aggressive growls, which Jamie was lacking from what I remember, Josh also has a very good high scream/shriek. When it comes down to a kicker of the Jamie vs. Josh debate, not only does Josh play vocals as well as leads, there are spots in the album where he actually exhibits clean vocals which caught me off guard. And I mean that in the best way possible, this guy can actually sing. I think one of the better examples is the track Beyond the Resurrected. About halfway through the track, the song slows down to a groovy solo where right before and during the solo you can hear Josh showing off his clean voice.
All in all, as much as I loved Conclusions of an Age I think that the newest Sylosis release, Edge of the Earth, is miles ahead in not only heaviness and progressiveness, but also in maturity. These guys are an up and coming group that all should keep a close eye on. For current fans, this album will not let you down I can guarantee you that. For the ones who haven’t given Sylosis a listen, I recommend you give this album a listen especially if you like bands that can really mix up thrash and death metal and make it sound melodic at times. Give it one listen through, by the time you hear the amazingly melodic Eclipsed track towards the end of the album, you will have already thought about hitting repeat, “liking” them on your facebook, and hoping some sort of tour will be announced soon in your area.
- Sands of Time
- Empyreal (Part I)
- Empyreal (Part II)
- A Serpent’s Tongue
- Kingdom of Solitude
- Where the Sky Ends
- Altered States of Consciousness
- Beyond the Resurrected
- From the Edge of the Earth