Released: 2009, Nuclear Blast Records
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
Self described as “a forward thinking UK thrash metal band”, Reading’s Sylosis presents us with CONCLUSION OF AN AGE. Following up a pair of EPs, CONCLUSION marks the band’s first full length release, also their first through Nuclear Blast Records. Additionally, this release shows the band refining their sound and coming into their own. Whereas their last release, 2008’s THE SUPREME OPPRESSOR was somewhat indistinguishable from the flock of new school metal bands, CONCLUSION OF AN AGE shows a matured approach and takes some necessary steps forward.
I imagine that during the span between THE SUPREME OPPRESSOR and CONCLUSION OF AN AGE, the band spent a LOT of time listening to MASTER OF PUPPETS. Intentional or not, there are some definite parallels between the two releases in all of the right places. The guitar team of Josh Middleton and Alex Bailey has tightened up their delivery considerably, with sharp and precise riffing in abundance. The guitar arrangements and dry production values are reminiscent of the Hetfield/Hammett glory days of old. To his credit, Middleton has stepped up his game as lead guitar player. Loosening up with his solos, we’re provided with some quick and tasteful licks and harmony arrangements that are used as accentuations to the songs and not for show boating. Jamie Graham has also upped the ante in the vocal department. His rasp has become more unique and defined while incorporating clean vocals in his performances. While the individual accomplishments may not seem earth shattering, collectively they work to create 12 distinctly memorable tunes.
“Desolate Seas” is a brief instrumental opener with the sound of a turbulent ocean and a simple acoustic guitar line that carries into one of the main riffs in “After Lifeless Years.” The sharp, punctuated guitars are synced with the rhythm section of Carl Parnell and Rob Callard, conveying a sense of immediacy. “Transcendence” is one of the most emotive tracks on the disc, with a mid-paced gallop carried by Graham’s crooning chorus. “Reflections Through Fire” is a pretty straightforward thrash number, while the title track that follows has a very Kreator-ish feel to the structure. “Swallow the World” echoes the Metallica comparisons again with a harmony line at the beginning of the song that feels like it’s a distant cousin to “Master of Puppets” before jamming on the accelerator. “Withered” is another straight up thrash tune with a decidedly retro vibe. “Last Remaining Light” begins upbeat and consistent with the overall pacing of the album before shifting gears midway to close with a shred fest. “Oath of Silence” closes the disc strong, a powerful track that’s a heavy and determined. The track fades out at the end with a subtle ambience, acting as a proper bookend to the opening “Desolate Seas.”
CONCLUSION OF AN AGE is a pleasant surprise from a young underdog. Sylosis could have easily gotten lost in the wave of talented (but derivative) acts, so kudos to both the band for breaking out of their comfort zone to deliver a stellar performance and to Nuclear Blast for giving this the proper release that it deserves. Check this one out for sure, CONCLUSION OF AN AGE is an effort that is not to be missed.