Review Summary: Tomorrow We Die Alive either represents a band in a stylistic mid-life crisis, or one that just doesn’t care anymore.
After the release of their 2011 effort The Discovery
, Born of Osiris quickly established themselves as one of the forerunners of deathcore, and to a lesser extent, “djent”. Though they weren’t exactly a band to challenge genre stereotypes, operating well within the aforementioned musical spectrums, it did seem as if the band were at least trying to craft something above the plateau of mediocrity plaguing their respective genre(s). Thanks in no small part to the exemplary guitar work of Jason Richardson, The Discovery
indicated that – like any genre – deathcore and djent could be taken seriously. Following his prompt departure however, Born of Osiris seem to have forgotten everything that made them notable within the scene, stripping their sound of any substance. Regrettably, Tomorrow We Die Alive
falls back on the generic clichés that both djent and deathcore are so maligned for, and then some.
The opening track paints a bleak picture for the rest of the album. Consisting of 4 minutes of bottom string chugging thinly glazed by pretty synthesisers, it comes across as an inferior band attempting their rendition of Born of Osiris’s sound. The opening song could really have been passed off as an introductory track – albeit a very boring one – except as the album continues on, there doesn’t appear to be any effort to diversify and construct something even remotely interesting. Chuggy numbers come and go until the album reaches its end, rounding off perhaps the most underwhelming musical experience I’ve heard all year. Oddly enough it’s the synthesisers that – bar a few interesting leads – are what carry the album through its 42 minute runtime. While you can enjoy the electronic elements on a superficial level, once you’ve fleshed them out after one or two tracks the album reveals itself as an empty husk, completely devoid of inspiration or a conscious effort to set itself apart from any other run-on-the-mill slab of boring deathcore/djent.
As if the individual performances of the musicians weren’t sterile enough – be it the lifeless guitarwork and drums, the inaudible bass, or the vocals as flat as Keira Knightley’s chest – the sound engineering saps any kind of vibrancy the music could otherwise have had. Every single instrument (Well I can’t speak for the bass because I can’t hear it) has been produced to point of sterilisation, and while that would be a plus on many albums that hinge on technicality and rhythmic intricacy, this album largely forgoes the complexity that necessitates such production. The most interesting songs on the album, such as “Imaginary Condition” and “Source Field” depend on layering as many spacey synth lines and leads as possible over a not-so-interesting polyrhythm, with very little attention to overall composition or structure. But even these songs (themselves largely devoid of interesting riffs) are far and few between, spaced out by the aforementioned chug-fests that make the album such a chore to sit through.
Occasionally the band will try and mix it up, adding some Chester Bennington-like pseudo-cleans during the chorus on “Exhilarate” as well as in the following track “Absolution”. There are also a few melodic guitar passages, but none of them extend beyond a minute in length, nor do a lot to progress whichever track they appear on. The album digs itself in such a monotonous rut that any attempt to diversify sounds out of place. The band even attempts to jump on the brostep bandwagon at the end of “Divergency”, tacking some bombastic synthesisers onto those horrible bass wobbles we all love to hate. That the band would stoop to such a level, borrowing cues from a long-dead trend is a reason to panic. If you could ever think of an album that somehow manages to both try too hard to be “epic” but come across as so lazy in its execution, this would probably be it.
On Tomorrow We Die Alive
, Born of Osiris have largely abandoned everything that made The Discovery
one of deathcore’s finest moments in recent years. This album can be enjoyed superficially, but it very quickly loses it shimmer after repeated listens. From the tacky sound effects to the incredibly mundane instrumentation, Tomorrow We Die Alive
either represents a band in a stylistic mid-life crisis, or one that just doesn’t care anymore, take your pick.