REVIEW: BORN OF OSIRIS – “Soul Sphere”
The evolution of the sound of Born Of Osiris is something that I’ve followed since their debut album ‘A Higher Place’. They started out as just another Deathcore band in my book, but with their sophomore album, they brought something new to the game. They continued to refine their new found sound with their third album ‘Tomorrow We Die ∆live’ which received mixed reviews. Now with ‘Soul Sphere’, the band bring more of their unique flavor of Deathcore.
The main reason I love Born of Osiris’ music is because of the rhythms that make up the bottom end of the music. These are not the regular breakdowns you’ve come to expect in Deathcore; the guitars are not too down-tuned, the riff patterns are a bit more complex, and the drumming that follows these patterns is quite impressive. This gives their songs a very break-beat like flow, which I love. The exquisite guitar acrobatics pulled off by Lee McKinney add flair to the top end, and Joe Buras’ keyboards float over the rest of the instruments like icing on pastry.
This album more or less follows this pattern of songwriting, but there are a few songs which really catch your attention. On the first play-through, songs like “Free Fall”, “Resilience” and “Illuminate” will surely stand out among the rest. But there is no replay value on this album; I got bored with some of the songs the second time I went through it. The problem is the lack of consistency and the failure to keep the listener engaged. The highlights of all the songs are the technical guitar and keyboard leads, but there is nothing interesting to listen to between these highlights. Some of the riffs in the songs are just uninspiring and really take you out of the mood. You spend the whole album hopping between islands of brilliance surrounded by a sea of mediocrity. Some pop-like hooks on some of the songs are hit-or-miss; when it was good, it was quite a nice break, but the band needs to work a little more on this aspect of the music.
Technically sound, the mix balances the various instruments effectively; layering keyboards on death metal is not an easy to do, especially when the music leans more towards Deathcore. The production is a little too polished for my liking, though. All the instruments sound too perfect, which takes away from the authenticity of the performances. The performances themselves are great. Ronnie Canizaro on vocals is great; I love his transitions between growls and screeches. Lee McKinney on guitars is impressive on the leads, but as I mentioned earlier, some of the riffs are just plain boring. David Da Rocha on bass does a great job of bridging the gap between the drums and guitars, though there are no standout parts for him in particular on the album. Cameron Losch’s drumming is on the spot, and I love the way the double bass sounds on this album. For keyboardist Joe Buras though, I have the same criticism as the guitars: he’s good when it’s technical, but some of the orchestration is just plain and not exciting at all. His work on the backing vocals and cleans is good nevertheless.
‘Soul Sphere’ is another step in the sonic evolution of Born of Osiris. I wouldn’t call it a misstep, but more an evolutionary anomaly. Hardcore fans of the band will definitely dig this album, and people who like their work will not be disappointed. However, the band needs to work on keeping the listener engaged, because if they can’t listen to an album over and over again without getting bored, they won’t be coming back the next time.