Sylosis / Hang the Bastard | Live Review

By Serena Cherry

Firstly, it was surprising to see Hang The Bastard, merely in the visual sense, as they are a band who sound like they should possess a lot more beards than they evidently do. But facial hair was the only thing these riff mongers lacked tonight. The London-based quintet have been gradually conjuring up a sludge storm within the British metal underground over the last 5 years; and from such thundering performances as this – it’s not hard to see why many find their concise blend of metalcore and doom so irresistible.

The band ravish their way through blink-and-you’ll-miss-em thrash moments, only to then gnaw upon their own downtuned riffs like dogs slowly devouring a bone. The chunks of recent material from their split with Brotherhood of the Lake get eagerly lapped up as they are tossed into the surprisingly enthusiastic Sunday night crowd; in a punishing performance which can only be described as effortlessly heavy.

Whilst it could be argued that melodic death metal peaked in Sweden in the 1990’s, Readings own rising shred heads Sylosis appear to stand poised to reignite glorious memories of that old ‘Nuclear Blast’ sound; but the question still remains as to whether these British upstarts can really do justice to their ambitious influences. Kicking off with a lacklustre rendition of their fan-favourite single ‘Empyreal’, Sylosis set a slightly underwhelming tone that fails to leave them for the majority of their set. The guitarists stand positively motionless as they peel off the intricate picking patterns of ‘Sands of Time’, sacrificing any stage presence to play so precisely that the band look and sound utterly mechanical. However, credit is due to Sylosis’ lead guitarist-turned-frontman Josh Middleton, who still manages to to give his accomplished lead guitar work an air of unique finesse whilst also growling his guts up as their new lead vocalist.

With a set list catered to showcase the finer moments of their 2011 release ‘Edge of the Earth‘, Sylosis demonstrate an ability to link fast modern thrash into classic twin lead harmonies that wouldn’t sound out of place on an Iron Maiden record. But their musical ability is no match for the musical passion they lack on stage; concluding Sylosis to be no match against the ‘melodic death metal’ originals of the 1990’s.