I don’t know if inconsistent is too harsh of a term to describe Born of Osiris’ recorded output, but truth be told with each subsequent release no one can be absolutely sure of what to expect next. The raw and exhilarating The New Reign EP kicked in the doors only to be followed up by the forgettable A Higher Place. Who would’ve thought that band that gave us the technically dazzling The Discovery also had the electronics heavy Tomorrow We Die Alive in their back pocket? S what’s the gameplan for Angel or Alien (Sumerian Records)?
Well, seems like a little bit of everything to be honest. Some may scoff at this as merely cherry-picking the best bits of the past and giving them a fresh coat of paint, but that misses the point. It strikes me more of a band that after six LPs (and a couple of EPs) more or less understands its sound and past shortcomings. And quite frankly it was needed pivot after the lukewarm response to Soul Sphere and the slight improvements displayed on The Simulation.
However, there are still tweaks Born of Osiris needs to make like trimming a few numbers here and there. The Discovery unfortunately ran a bit long and the same rings true on Angel or Alien. By dropping ‘Poster Child’ and ‘White Nile’ they trim a good eight minutes and the two weakest songs of the bunch. And instead of opening with ‘Poster Child’ they should’ve gone with the hard-charging ‘Oathbreaker’ and kept riding that momentum right into the title-track.
Okay, with the most glaring negative addressed, the good news is that Angel or Alien seems to get more confident and aggressive in its second half. ‘Echobreather’ allows Lee McKinney to cut loose with some fancy sweeping guitar work. And it’s not just about the fleet-fingered guitar work on McKinney’s part as you may want to run for cover during that deluge of a breakdown on ‘Crossface.’ We should also commend keyboardist Joe Buras’ electronic sounds playing in perfect tandem with the riffs on ‘Lost Souls’ and ‘Shadowmourne’ even if the latter – let’s say pays homage – to Killswitch Engage’s ‘My Curse.’
It’s good to have Born of Osiris back on track again and turns out Angel or Alien is a spot-on blueprint for those interested in what can do.
Buy / Stream: http://smarturl.it/AngelorAlien
7 / 10