Sylosis + Fated Elegy + Eaten By Wolves + Eyes Of The Raven @ The Slade Rooms, Wolves – 2nd May 2012

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Review by Claire Frays

Tonight, the Slings And Arrows Tour comes to Wolverhampton for the final show of Sylosis’ intimate club dates. Support on the rest of the dates of the tour came from Hang The Bastard, Xerath and Chapters. I’m not exactly sure why these bands didn’t make it to Wolverhampton – and it seems that they weren’t either – but instead we were treated to three Midlands Metal bands this evening making for a showcase of three up and coming bands from the local scene.

Unfortunately, we arrived too late to catch the opening act Groove/Stoner Metal outfit, Eyes Of The Raven, but I am assured by a number of people that they were rather good. And after checking them out on Facebook they have some pretty gnarly riffs. They remind me in places a little of HellYeah and Clutch, so I am kicking myself a little for missing them.

Five piece Metalcore/Hardcore band, Eaten By Wolves go down well with the Wolverhampton crowd. A little more personality and interaction would have gone a long way, but they have a nice mix of vocal styles within their sound, everything from the usual metal screams to the lower guttural death growls.

Fated Elegy take things up a notch as the entire middle floor is headbanging in unison. They are a huge hit with the Slade Rooms’ crowd tonight, largely driven by their animated frontman Ant Collins. Musically they sound a little like a heavier version of 36 Crazyfists, mixing the screams and clean vocals together. A second guitarist would probably be a great addition to this band just to add a further dimension and drive to their current sound. They have numerous gigs on the local scene coming up, so no doubt you will catch this metal quartet on your gig outings at some point.

But tonight is all about Sylosis, surely the best young and upcoming British act on the metal scene. To be honest, it’s a crying shame that this band is not in the bigger venues yet. Their sound, the complexity and technicality of their musicianship, the beautifully intricately woven riffs in all of their songs and just the level that they play at live is too good for The Slade Rooms and many of these tiny clubs. Actually, I’m waiting for this band to get on tour with a big metal band like Trivium to expose them to a bigger audience who will absolutely dig them. But still, there is always something surreal about the atmosphere at these intimate, up close and personal sweatbox club gigs.

Set to the scene of battering drum beats and crushing riffs that mean business, the mosh pits cascaded, pillars were hit and heads banged all along the frontlines as Sylosis opened with the recent single release ‘Slings And Arrows’. Initially released exclusively as part of a Pledge Music campaign to help the band fund their American Tour, this track was recently put up for download on iTunes and what a dynamic set opener it is.

Guitarist/Frontman Josh Middleton is an absolute shredding machine. Apparently he is ill tonight but you couldn’t tell with the performance delivered. The sweep picking is ridiculously good – almost inhuman – and then the fact that he screams whilst playing these complex riffs with the look on his face as if doing a mindless, easy task like ordering a pizza, just leaves you in awe.  He is backed up by ‘Bailey’ another “shredmeister” making them one of the most formidable and exciting axe duos currently on the scene. The equally talented ‘Rhythm Section’ consisting of Bassist Carl Parnell and Rob Callard on the drums round of this impressive quartet with quite some finesse.

Penultimate track and fan-favourite ‘Empyreal’ is a jaw-dropping showcase of perfection again played with such ease and precision. Set closer ‘The Blackest Skyline’ both aggressive and destructive, declares the end of a magical display of talent at The Slade Rooms, delving into a realm of purposeful textures and “show-off” musicianship.

This is my fifth time seeing Sylosis and the best time I have seen them thus far, and Sylosis themselves said that this was “probably the best night of the whole tour”.  If you’re heading to the Download Festival then make sure you get over to the Pepsi Max Stage (3rd Stage) on the Saturday to catch Sylosis – Trust me. You won’t be disappointed.

Setlist: Slings And Arrows, Stained Humanity, Reflections Through Fire, Sands Of Time, Dystopia, Teras, Altered States Of Consciousness, Withered, Empyreal, The Blackest Skyline