Released: 2011, Nuclear Blast
You'd have been laughed out of the bar for suggesting it a decade ago - back when nu metal was soiling the airwaves and all else besides - but these days English heavy music finds itself in rude health. Seems only fitting really, given that the genre was practically birthed here, but for what seemed like the longest time, the same country that brought us Black Sabbath, Motörhead and Venom seemed destined to continue dishing up watered down dross like Pulkas (remember them?) and the like.
The current vintage is in a distinctly different class of course and you'll find precious few more convincing examples than Reading's Sylosis. Plucked from obscurity by Nuclear Blast when they'd only barely started shaving, their 2008 debut (CONCLUSION OF AN AGE) was a revelation - death, black, thrash and progressive metal all tossed into the same extreme cocktail and sounding absolutely lethal. While their sophomore effort ostensibly follows the same blueprint, the band's confidence and by extension their maturity as songwriters appear to have multiplied ten-fold. There's a distinctly Schuldiner-esque feel to the guitar flourishes that power the likes of "Kingdom of Solitude", while the decision to elevate lead six-stringer, Josh Middleton's status to frontman elect appears to have been a winning decision also. His gruff snarl replaces the majority of the clean singing that was a staple of the debut record, which in turn makes for a significantly more brutal undertaking.
If you were to level any criticism toward Sylosis this time round, it would only be that they've almost presented us with too much. At fourteen tracks - of which two are instrumentals in all fairness - and more than an hour in length, EDGE OF THE EARTH is a lot to take in, and you might find for all its sonic twists and turns, it's a better option to treat this one as a two-parter. Either way, you're going to be very pleasantly engaged for a while to come.