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Sylosis - "Edge of the Earth" (CD)

Sylosis - "Edge of the Earth" CD cover image

"Edge of the Earth" track listing:

1. Procession (6:45)
2. Sands Of Time (5:07)
3. Empyreal (4:52)
4. Empyreal (Part 2) (1:07)
5. A Serpents Tongue (5:23)
6. Awakening (3:59)
7. Kingdom Of Solitude (5:37)
8. Where The Sky Ends (3:56)
9. Dystopia (5:44)
10. Apparitions (7:15)
11. Altered States Of Consciousness (5:31)
12. Beyond The Resurrected (5:10)
13. Eclipsed (4:46)
14. From The Edge Of The Earth (7:38)

Reviewed by on May 22, 2011

"There’s at least seven or eight quality tracks, a few mediocre thrashers, and multitude of forgettable numbers. This type of inconsistency hurts Sylosis in trying to outdo their fantastic debut. "

Sylosis was onto something with their 2008 debut “Conclusion Of An Age.” A capable thrash album with a little metalcore edge, Sylosis made an hour of music engaging enough to pay attention to. Their follow-up, “Edge Of The Earth,” is unable to accomplish the same feat. Fourteen tracks, and an overbearing 73 minutes running length, shows an inability by Sylosis to trim the fat off. This leads to a topsy-turvy record with a few notable stunners crept in.

The big line-up change between the two albums is guitarist Josh Middleton taking over vocal duties from the departed Jamie Graham. Middleton does an adequate job with the deep screams, but falls flat with the few attempts at clean vocals. While Graham soared to the heavens with them, Middleton crashes before even taking off. His guitar work, though, is as vicious as the last record. His rapport with guitarist Alex Bailey is a dynamic improved over the past three years.

The musicianship is a strong support beam for the melodic death/thrash sound transferred over from “Conclusion Of An Age.” While that album started out with a standard instrumental intro, “Edge Of The Earth” goes the epic route with “Procession.” From the soothing guitars in the beginning to the ripping solo halfway in, capped off by some wicked growls, the first song sets the pace for the rest of the album. “Sands Of Time,” “Empyreal,” and “Kingdom Of Solitude” do an admirable job of using a similar approach as the opener.

With so much material thrown into one album, and every song having a similar musical theme, it’s up to the occasional acoustic breakdown and ambient keyboard part to differentiate the tracks. “Where The Sky Ends” is a great instrumental placed in the right spot, dead in the center of the record. “Dystopia” opens and closes with a tepid acoustic guitar, having an interlocking affect on the song. Closer “From The Edge Of The Earth” jazzes up the guitar leads and provides a hint of progressive tinkering to the band’s sound.

These bouts of ingenious songwriting are still held back by the insistence of having filler. “Empyreal Part 2” is just a percussion-heavy instrumental tacked onto the end of “Empyreal.” The last few songs between the three mentioned in the previous paragraph sound too much like the first half of the record. It’s just too much material with too little reward. “Edge Of The Earth” almost forces the listener to break the album up into pieces, taking breaks in-between so its sheer volume doesn’t become overwhelming.

“Edge Of The Earth” suffers from the “too much content” virus that seems to be spreading through metal in mass quantities. There’s at least seven or eight quality tracks, a few mediocre thrashers, and multitude of forgettable numbers. This type of inconsistency hurts Sylosis in trying to outdo their fantastic debut. This isn’t enough of a catastrophe to be given that dreadful “sophomore slump” tag, but the band does get in over their heads. A tighter flow and toning their records down to less than an hour will help maintain a standard of quality in the future for Sylosis.

Highs: Great musicianship, nice use of acoustic and keyboard work, wicked harsh vocals from guitarist Josh Middleton

Lows: Too much content, poor clean vocals, inconsistent material

Bottom line: A bloated track listing and too many similar-sounding tracks hurts an otherwise solid follow-up to "Conclusion Of An Age."

Rated 3.0 out of 5 skulls
3.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
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)