The Best Band in Maine is Sylvia

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Back in August we asked you to help us find the best unsigned bands in America. After listening to hundreds of submissions, we finally narrowed down our pick for the most Stephen Kingest state in the union. The best band in Maine is Sylvia.

Sylvia slaughter with a fervor that makes Stalin jealous.

I strolled down the block to the inimitable Geno’s, a true pillar of Portland’s metal community, in October to check out Steve Austin’s Today is the Day and the ‘controversial’ Lord Mantis, having been promised that I’d surely see something worth seeing. I certainly did! But what was most interesting wasn’t Today is the Day (they were really good, as expected, and I wish Steve Austin and merchandise man Trevor Thomas all the best in recovering from the crash of their touring van!) or the relentlessly boring Lord Mantis. It was Portland’s Sylvia, who opened the night up by crushing faces and looking like they had a swell time in the process.

A four-piece blackened-sludge outfit, Sylvia showed me the error of my ways- why hadn’t I indulged in the excellent Southern Maine metal community sooner?! Sylvia offer varying speeds and tempos, accelerating to enable thunderous drum beats replete with furious guitar riffs that crush souls… before abruptly taking a foot off the gas to pummel you into submission with lurching, sinister breakdowns. This effect is best illustrated by the lead track from their most recent full-length, self-titled album.

With a slow, droning intro, the action speeds up suddenly at the 1:50 mark- and doesn’t offer any reprieve until dispatching the near-lifeless corpses of listeners and plebeians around 3:45, allowing the discarded victims a chance to slowly drift off to embrace the cool embrace of the void… before coming back to finish the job at 4:45 with a hatchet. Sylvia are ruthless, man.

My favorite track in listening to them was the closer from the aforementioned Sylvia, entitled “Ukelelian.” “Ukelelian” offers some of their trademark tempo play and really calls to mind the early days of Isis (think The Red Sea and Celestial-era Isis) during the slower sections. As a big Isis fan-boy, I consider this to be a flattering comparison. They certainly differ, though, with the inclusion of faster, more aggressive sections in their music, a trait Isis lacked… and one that really makes the breakdowns in Sylvia more brutal and punishing courtesy of the contrast.

Sylvia don’t seem to be particularly active on the internet/social media, but you can get periodic updates and buy music from the following places: FacebookBandcampEncyclopedia Metallum.


The Toilet ov Hell is on an absurd quest to find the best unsigned band in each state of this glorious union. The purpose? To shine the spotlight on bands that deserve more exposure. Also, we’re going to determine once and for all the greatest state in the nation. Each state winner is decided by a collection of 25 judges. After we’ve announced the winner of each state, we’re gonna throw them all in a winner-take-all bracket and leave the votes up to you. Who will be the best unsigned band in the United States? Which state is superior? We can’t wait to find out.

Previous winners:

Alabama — Phylum
Alaska — Terraform
Arizona – Take Over And Destroy
Arkansas – Torii
California – Destroy Judas
Colorado – The Sleer
Connecticut – Autumn’s Eyes
Delaware – Sloss
Florida – Capracide
Georgia – Lost Hours
Hawaii – Darkest Path
Idaho – Rotten Hand
Illinois – Deus Ex
Indiana – Thorr-Axe
Kansas – Bummer
Kentucky – Ad Infinitum
Louisiana – Withering Light

(Photo VIA)

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