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Interview: Sylosis

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To be able to say that a new and exciting extreme metal band has “made it” is a very rare thing.

But after a stellar 2015 that included a critically acclaimed new album, an arena tour with Megadeth and Lamb of God, and more festival appearances than you can shake a stick at, it looks like Sylosis may have smashed through the glass ceiling.

But if you’re unfamiliar with the band, don’t worry: vocalist/guitarist Josh Middleton has you covered.

“The main foundation of our sound is thrash, along the lines of early Metallica. We don’t down-tune or anything so I guess we’re a little more traditional in that regard.

“But we also have a lot of influences from more epic or progressive bands: bands like Mastodon, High on Fire, Neurosis, Rush, Pink Floyd, Cult of Luna, etc.

“I don’t think there’s another thrash band that has as wide a range of influences as we do. We try and steer clear of doing anything too cheesy.”

And Sylosis are hitting the road for the first time this year in March, in a headlining UK tour with support from Decapitated and Black Tongue.

“It was a no brainer to do something with them,” Josh says of the two acts that will be joining Sylosis on their ten-date rampage.

“We just wanted a diverse package to really mix things up a bit.”

The shows in March will be Sylosis’ first headline tour since November, when they went out with black/thrash metallers Hang the Bastard in what were “essentially a few off-dates in between the Megadeth/Lamb of God run.”

And while the Megadeth tour was “awesome” for Sylosis, Josh promises that this time, the band will be making things even bigger and better:

“The UK dates [with Megadeth] were insane and it was amazing to finally play Wembley Arena!

“Unfortunately when we got to Europe where the bulk of the tour took place, Lamb of God went home after the Paris attacks so it left us in a pickle. But us and [supporting band] Children of Bodom rearranged as many shows as possible.

“And the tour we’re doing in March is going to be awesome! It’s actually the first proper headline tour in the UK for [the band’s latest album] Dormant Heart, so we get to play some songs we’ve not played live before. This time we’ll be bringing out our full set-up, lights, etc.

“I think playing huge shows is really fun and feels like more of a big event or big deal but small shows can be amazing too. As long as the crowd is receptive then both can be awesome.”

Dormant Heart – Sylosis’ fourth studio album – was released back in January of last year to universal acclaim from critics.

“It’s essentially [a concept album] about going through life on autopilot and not thinking about your actions, their consequences, or the bigger picture outside of your own bubble.

“I guess, becoming more aware of the world around you: be it political, environmental, social issues… I guess it’s sort of about people awakening in a way.”

Dormant Heart also sees Sylosis become a little more melodic, introducing some passages of clean vocals from the usually screaming front-man.

However, Josh says that “it’s not something I want to do too much of.

“I don’t really like metal bands that do clean singing choruses outside of Mastodon. I prefer doing pitched screaming kind of like Joe [Duplantier] from [French metal band] Gojira. You still get the melody but you get the aggression too. It really just depends on what the song calls for.”

And after their next UK tour is through, it seems that Sylosis will be starting work on a fifth record:

I think we might have a few select festival appearances in the summer but we’re going to start writing another album. We want to get something out a lot quicker this time.

“We spend as much time writing as possible. There’s never a writing phase, you just write as much material at any possible moment so you’re not rushed or pushed to do an album when you’re not ready.

“There are songs and riffs flying around all over the place at the moment but we probably won’t release anything until 2017.”

Not only that, but Josh has teased several times on social media that he is also working on an upcoming debut solo album.

It won’t be anywhere near as heavy as Sylosis. It’s instrumental prog rock.

“It’s sort of like a wanky guitar album, but my take on doing that kind of thing. It’s really 70s-inspired so it’s got more classic rock vibes. Lots of Rush, Yes, Genesis and even The Police. It is dark though so I think a lot of Sylosis fans will enjoy it.

Craig Reynolds plays drums on it. He’s one of my best friends. He used to play in a band called Viatrophy but since then he’s played for The Haarp Machine, Brutality Will Prevail and Stray from the Path.

“Me and him love progressive music. His drumming is pretty inventive on the album.”

So it looks like Josh Middleton’s 2016 is going to be an insanely busy one.

But first things first: be sure to catch Sylosis on their headline tour of the UK in March for a thrashing you won’t soon forget.

Thanks for the support and come and see us on tour in March, Josh states in closing.

I suggest you do as he says.

Sylosis are touring the UK in March with Decapitated and Black Tongue.

Sylosis’ latest album, Dormant Heart, is available physically and digitally now via Nuclear Blast Records.

Read more about Sylosis and Dormant Heart in our “2015’s best metal albums” list.

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