Review Summary: Conventional metal for the masses.
There’s something strangely comforting about Sylosis’ sound. It’s an odd combination of melodic death, neoteric thrash, and prog-laden metalcore that comes across so authentically and accessibly that its lack of originality hardly factors into the equation. Their music is harmless but effective, containing catchy riffs with actual depth. In short, it’s conventional metal for the masses – it’s Sylosis. Whether that’s good or not is up to you. Their streamlined brand of metal has been relatively polarizing since the band’s inception. With their underwhelming third release Monolith
especially, Sylosis gave detractors a tenable leg to stand on and made their fans question whether the band can revive their contemporary metal concoction from the tepid slump. The good news is, they have. Dormant Heart
sounds great: the production, the riffs, they’re all improved and are more polished than they’ve ever been. The not-so-great news is that it’s still the same mild, inoffensive yet enjoyable, Sylosis: just of slightly higher quality.
Not much has changed in Sylosis’ formula – predictably structured songs, mid-tempo galloping riffs, a variety of vocal styles, over a tapestry of incredibly tight musicianship and production. What mars Dormant Heart
is its predictability, which rears its ugly head chiefly during the middle stretch of tracks. Everything up to and including ‘To Build a Tomb’ is very decent on its own – far from groundbreaking but wholly listenable. After that, the band has little diversity left to offer, and the album doesn’t really get interesting again until track 8. By then, however, you’re so debilitated by the litany that it basically becomes a chore to finish. I’m not saying the music is bad. The songwriting is solid for a band aspiring to revive a classic style, and unlike most of their competitors, it’s quite easy on the ears. Songs like ‘Indoctrinated’ and ‘Mercy’ are fast and unrelenting, providing nostalgic flashes from the classic ‘80s thrash scene, however faint they may be. On the other hand, closer ‘Quiescent’ ends the album on a dynamic note, with emotional crooning and delicate atmospheric elements bearing an effective power ballad. That is unless you have bonus tracks ‘Pillars Erode’ and ‘Zero’ (a refurbished Smashing Pumpkins cover), in which case the album closes with mid-paced Sylosis at their best – simple and effective; nothing more, nothing less.
The problem with Dormant Heart
is that the sum of its parts are better than the whole. Any individual song on here is perfectly enjoyable on it’s own, but listening to them one after another is overkill. This seems to be the case with every Sylosis album, though, which again isn’t necessarily bad. Sylosis are nothing if not consistent, and in this day and age, consistency is somewhat of a virtue. There will be no shortage of accessible new-wave melodeath thrash-core as long as Sylosis is around; you can count on that.