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)?
Along with the likes of After The Burial and Veil of Maya, Born Of Osiris spearheaded a wave of bands who looked to take Death/Metalcore into new realms with a healthy dose of electronics and progressive elements added to the mix. To this day their debut EP, The New Reign is a genre classic. The Simulation is their latest offering and comes off the back of a real return to form that was Soul Sphere (all Sumerian).Continue reading
Deathcore’s a funny scene. Like many of the fusion subgenres, it often fails to find a convincingly cohesive sound amidst the disparate elements that the bands are trying to marry together. What you usually end up getting is a bit like a kit car built by 5 guys with ADHD who’ve turned up with parts from 3 or 4 different manufacturers and half the required tools.
The first three albums of Chicago’s Born of Osiris certainly suffer from this syndrome, feeling bitty, derivative and repetitive. 2013 marked a turning point for the band with the release of the bemusingly-titled Tomorrow We Die Alive (Sumerian). Whilst still a soup of djenty math- and deathcore, the songs gelled more satisfyingly than the predecessors through stronger song-writing and expanded use of keyboard and synth sounds. They finally sounded like a proper band, rather than a group of music nerds showing off to each other.
Encouragingly, Soul Sphere (Sumerian) continues this development (as one would expect from a band with a 12-year career spanning 5 albums). The main evolution here is the death metal part of their sound is much more at the fore, with strong elements of Soundtrack-era In Flames (Toy’s Factory). The math bits also integrate much better with the rest of the parts, sounding more like lead-ins and accompaniment rather than random ejaculations of musical Tourette’s Syndrome. Less Dillinger Escape Plan, more Protest The Hero. I also wonder if someone in the band’s been listening to J-Metal (a wise move, as there’s a scene that effortlessly manages the kind of musical alchemy hoped for by <insert-flavour-of-the-month>core bands), as the keyboards have more spacey feel and greater presence across the album and serve to add more glue to the sound, providing firmer grounding and context for each song.
Soul Sphere‘s opener ‘The Other Half Of Me’ showcases the band’s progress beautifully. The 80’s horror intro floats throughout the piece, binding the rest of the track together into a symphonic slice of Gothenburg goodness that would do any of the Swedes proud. ‘Throw Me In The Jungle’ is an equally strong follow-up in the same vein, but with slightly more emphasis on math. ‘Free Fall’ harks back to their earlier work, but clever use of synth and industrial guitar effects produce a sound that is both consistent and original; an impressive feat, given what’s in the pot.
‘Illuminate’ is slightly disappointing, as it starts off sounding like a continuation of the previous track and would have benefited from being placed later in the album but ‘The Sleeping And The Dead’ changes gear into straight-up djent from the heavy end of the stable and ‘Tidebinder’ proves that it is possible to successfully combine melodic death with djent metalcore. Seriously Nice.
‘Resilience’ dusts off the math chops for a noodlefest very reminiscent of Protest The Hero. ‘Goddess Of The Dawn’ is a blueprint for what the genre should be. All the elements are present, but working seamlessly with each other to produce a deft end result which finally transcends the sum of its parts. ‘The Louder The Sound, The More We All Believe’ is straight melodic death that sounds like it could have been on In Flames‘ Soundtrack To Your Escape. ‘Warlords’ is funky djent. ‘River Of Time’ is a bombastic salute to symphonic metal. ‘The Composer’ closes the show with another reversion to previous fractious form, but once again being saved by the excellent synth work, which is given centre stage for an outtro that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Blood Stain Child album.
This is seriously good stuff. Put it in your ears immediately.