Review Summary: An unexpected surprise, Born of Osiris have finally come into their own with a strong focus on atmospheric ambience and complex lead work.
I didn’t expect to be writing this review today. I’ve got two important exams tomorrow, and a hell of a lot of college work to be getting on with. Add to that the fact that I torrented this album last night more as a last resort than anything else, expecting it to be a quick disappoint-and-delete job.
Born of Osiris started out playing their own brand of technical deathcore notable for melodic keyboard interludes - a breath of fresh air but nothing spectacular, especially in terms of musicmanship. Fan or not, there’s no denying that the chugging breakdowns which probably constitute half of their 20-minute debut album The New Reign require very little talent. The production was below par, and despite occasional flairs of originality, it quickly grew old for me.
They made the transition on their second album, A Higher Place, to full-on harmonic minor metal, but seemed to lose themselves along the way. Gone were the breakdowns, but gone also were the innovative flairs that attracted me to them in the first place, that kept me listening through all that drop C chug. It seemed to be a sterile, playing-it-safe release, and it came as a huge disappointment to most of their fans.
Listening to The Discovery, it’s as if there’s been a complete line-up change. All of a sudden, the guitars sound rich and full of depth, not tinny and thin like on their previous releases. That’s NOT just due to their transition to 7-strings, either - the lead tone’s just as great. The vocals have probably changed the least - they’re similar to those on A Higher Place, but again better produced, with far fewer whiney shrieks and more powerful gutterals. The drumming has all the flair of their first album, but again is more tasteful (not constant, excessively loud, blind double bass kicking) – think George Kollias with fewer blast beats.
The guitar work shows the most improvement, however. I was blown away. From a guitarist who struggled to play their own (not incredibly difficult) songs live, solos reminiscent of Jeff Loomis (or Malmsteen in his heyday) are now inspersed throughout the album, complimenting the frequent ambient keyboard and techno sections (reminiscent of those in Periphery’s self-titled debut album) rather than detracting from the final piece. They effortlessly weave a complex web of uplifting melodic melodies, mysterious-sounding interludes and balls-to-the-walls brutal metal, incorporating the experimentation of their first album with a new focus on ambient sections.