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Sylosis - "Conclusion of an Age" (CD)

Sylosis - "Conclusion of an Age" CD cover image

"Conclusion of an Age" track listing:

1. Desolate Seas
2. After Lifeless Years
3. Blackest Skyline
4. Transcendence
5. Reflections Through Fire
6. Conclusion Of An Age
7. Swallow The World
8. Teras
9. Withered
10. Last Remaining Light
11. Stained Humanity
12. Oath Of Silence

Reviewed by on November 3, 2009

"Most songs are a mixture where the awesome parts, full of aggression and brutality, get juxtaposed with awkward and supposed-to-inspire singing."

Metalcore is quite the polarizing genre these days. Some in the metal community enjoy the genre as an excellent modern mash-up of all that is good in extreme metal. Others revile it as an uncouth and unrefined group of screaming adolescents. And others still lament the end of legitimate metalcore with the mainstream breakthrough of bands like Shadows Fall and Killswitch Engage. Sylosis has plopped themselves squarely into the mix with “Conclusion of an Age” despite their frequent public protestations to the contrary.

“Conclusion of an Age” is a very idealistic chunk of metal. The struggle between humans and the earth takes center stage; the ultimate conclusion being mother earth reclaims nature and ejects the crummy humans. Heady stuff certainly, and though it isn’t a concept album the band is clearly focused on more than booze and girls, or being angry and disaffected youth, and this is a very welcome lyrical departure.

Musically guitarists Josh Middleton and Alex Bailey drive the thrash-based music full bore, and guitar histrionics are back – hammer-ons, whammy bar madness, pinch harmonics, multi-tracked solo breaks, fills and bridges until they are blue in the face – and Middleton and Bailey are out to prove their skills until the world ends. Despite the potential for being an overblown guitar album the assault works. The fireworks are interspersed with enough bare bones riffs to break the squeals up and keep it tolerable.

Adding to the guitar onslaught, Jamie’s Graham’s dirty vocals are spot on. Ranging from deep bellows all the way up to piercing screams and shrieks Graham delivers the dirty goods. And better still Graham knows how to complement the music with his various modes. “Teras” begins with a high-pitched shriek, but as the music becomes more foreboding Graham moves down into a mid-register growl. While this particular example is fairly straightforward, this kind of simple interplay keeps everything working together throughout.

But just like the end of the earth, the letdown inevitably comes when Graham shifts to his clean delivery. In a vacuum the clean vocals aren’t bad, and sometimes get to be slightly above average. The problem is the implementation. Any kind of momentum Sylosis gets going is chopped down at the knees. “After Lifeless Years” begins with a brutal set of riffs, a killer lead, and a gravelly growl, but just as the band shifts into high gear the anthemic guitar line comes in and Graham feels compelled to croon away on top. After the energetic and heavy first couple minutes this section drags on like grandma’s knitting stories. The problem is exacerbated as this keeps happening throughout the record. Instead of building the other way by exploring the musical ideas without getting bogged down in saccharine city, Sylosis insists on showing their sensitive side.

The best songs avoid these “melodic” sections as best they can. “Teras” is a modern thrash-hardcore romp, while “Reflections Through Fire” is a straight blast furnace. But on the other side, “Transcendence” is a piece of sugary junk and “Last Remaining Light” just drones on and on. Most songs are a mixture where the awesome parts, full of aggression and brutality, get juxtaposed with awkward and supposed-to-inspire singing.

After releasing two EPs, “Conclusion of an Age” was meant to be Sylosis’ triumphant explosion onto the scene - a refreshing blast of modern thrash that threw away all that ‘core garbage. And while some of it does, unfortunately they take that ‘core garbage and put it back in the cupboard. Sylosis insists they aren’t metalcore, but when you ruin some real good, heavy music with whiny junk you’re going to get lumped in whether you like it or not.

Highs: When the boys get down to brass thrash tacks, they rock real well.

Lows: The melodic sections are out of place and unnecessary.

Bottom line: Sylosis insists they aren’t metalcore, but they’ve taken some good, heavy thrash and sullied it with whiny junk.

Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls
2.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)