Sylosis - O2 Academy Islington, London
This rather exciting little tour brings together four bands at the vanguard of the current British metal scene. Kicking off proceedings are Chapters and, without being too harsh, it is quite obvious why they are at the bottom of the bill; whilst competent and loud, they fail to really grab the attention with music that is not much more than run-of-the-mill metalcore.
Anterior, however, are a whole different story; starting as they mean to go on, they settle immediately into a groove, perfectly melding bone-breaking breakdowns with a mesmerically tight synergy belying their tender years. The new tracks off recent opus Echoes Of The Fallen illustrate how far they have come since their debut, and the baying horde respond accordingly by going absolutely nuts from the first note to the last.
After that rousing high, the much-vaunted Malefice are a bit of a letdown, albeit largely in part to a poor sound mix in which the booming bass drums swamp everything else. The diehard faithful still manage to lead the audience in creating a storm on the floor, but it's all a bit after the Lord Mayor's show by comparison. Malefice are offered something of a reprieve right at the death as the sound issues are resolved for a special finale, an extended version of the title track from this year's Awaken The Tides that prompts everyone to once again unleash hell.
Reading's Sylosis prove tonight why they have been quite so heralded; just two albums in and they have an air of giants, masterfully powering through an hour long set of blistering thrash like they've been in charge for decades. Launching into an opening salvo of 'Procession' and 'Sands Of Time' from this year's excellent offering Edge Of The Earth, the place erupts in a flurry of whirlwind headbanging and vicious circle pits. The ever-popular 'Teras' has migrated to the middle of the set and somehow manages to ratchet up the bloodlust another notch, a level maintained through a particularly punishing 'Eclipsed' as the band relentlessly tear the place apart. 'Altered States Of Consciousness' brings Sylosis' set to a crushing climax and immediately the crowd rise in unisoned chants for an encore; we are duly treated to two of their finest compositions, personal favourite 'Empyreal' and the super heavy 'A Serpent's Tongue' to finish off this glorious evening in style.
On tonight's viewing, the British metal scene is in rude health, a point that rightly should be celebrated given the near-capacity crowd packing out the Islington Academy; and with Sylosis leading the way, it's time to raise those horns and break out the circle pits.