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Sylosis - "Monolith" (CD)

Sylosis - "Monolith" CD cover image

"Monolith" track listing:

1. Out From Below
2. Fear The World
3. What Dwells Within
4. Behind The Sun
5. The River
6. Monolith
7. Paradox
8. A Dying Vine
9. All Is Not Well
10. Born Anew
11. Enshrined

Reviewed by on September 28, 2012

"Technically excellent, but with some bloat in the middle, Sylosis' 'Monolith' is a better-than-average slab of thrash metal."

Excellent musicianship and plenty of aggression are on display throughout Sylosis' "Monolith," which is a good thing. A bloated middle and the questionable decision to fill the 19-minute final track mostly with silence, somewhat less so.

Maybe it's just that the album starts so perfectly that nothing else can match up. "Out From Below" features the kind of slow-burn intro that's been in vogue since Metallica did it with "Fight Fire With Fire," before launching into a speedy thrash riff that'll raise the hair on your neck.

If there's nothing that quite matches it on the rest of the album, it isn't for lack of trying. "Fear The World," with its stellar lead guitar work and the tempo change-filled "A Dying Vine" come the closest, with plenty of interesting twists.

One also has to credit "The Enshrining" for having an excellent — and somewhat diametrically opposing — beginning and end. The tune begins as a lightspeed thrasher and ends nearly 20 minutes later as a beautifully elegaic acoustic piece punctuated with a harder-edged finale. Unfortunately, there's a whole lot of unnecessary silence between the two chunks of the song. It would've worked much better to have it spread over two tracks.

Unfortunately, there's a lot of bloat here, with songs like "Monolith" and "Paradox" that don't add much to the proceedings. Additionally, the lumbering "All Is Not Well," with its "Sad But True"-style stomp (seriously, Rob Callard seems to be channeling Lars Ulrich on parts of this track) robs the album of a considerable amount of momentum.

All that said, the technical ability of the band is near-flawless. Josh Middleton and Alex Bailey's guitar work, even on the lesser tracks, never fails to have at least one interesting component. As a singer, Middleton mostly sticks to death growls and screams, but the low clean vocals at the end of "The Enshrining" are a highlight of the album.

Technically excellent, but with some bloat in the middle, Sylosis' "Monolith" is a better-than-average slab of thrash metal. Hacking out a couple of the 11 tracks and wiping out the unnecessary silence in the closer would've gone a long way toward making this one a must-have.

Highs: The superb "Out Brom Below," "Fear The World" and "A Dying Vine."

Lows: A fair amout of filler, including the title track.

Bottom line: A decent thrasher, but one that could've been shorter and sweeter with some cuts.

Rated 3 out of 5 skulls
3 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)