Review Summary: After nearly a decade, Born of Osiris provide a re-recording that invites nostalgia as well as brandishes a new found intensity.
Nearly 10 years ago, Born of Osiris released their debut EP entitled The New Reign on Sumerian Records. It was an EP that would later prove to be very important for Sumerian Records as well as the band itself. The album showcased a technical deathcore sound with its fast passed riffs and shifting time signatures accompanied by raw, growled vocals. Fast forward to 2017 and the band have re-recorded the album from scratch. With glossier production, relaxed playing, and refined vocals, The Eternal Reign exhibits Born of Osiris’ many years of experience as a band.
The production of The Eternal Reign, handled by Nick Sampson, is a key factor in the experience that is this EP. Being much glossier and clearer than its predecessor, the production gives the EP a sonic quality that will captivate the listener. All the instruments blend together perfectly, with the end result being a colossal wall of sound that relentlessly attacks the ears. An example of this is the beginning of Empires Erased in which the intro is accompanied by a bass drop that brings the guitars and drums crashing into the mix. There are plenty more of these bass drops throughout the EP that enhance chugging sections and breakdowns. Other moments like the intro to Glorious Day and the guitar solo on Brace Legs are so clear that they sound as if they are being played live. Along with the instruments are the vocals that are mostly clear, and not overproduced. With that being said, the production doesn’t come without its flaws.
The clear production, though very lucid, detracts some of the intensity from the EP at times, especially when compared to its predecessor. Certain sections, such as the outro breakdown for The New Reign and the beginning of Rosecrance’s first verse are cushioned by the aforementioned wall of sound to the point of minimal impact. There are other moments where the vocals get drowned out by the instruments to the point that those unfamiliar with The New Reign EP wouldn’t quite know what was going on. However, the minor detriment found in the glossy production of this EP doesn’t plague it as a whole with there being plenty of other intense moments to fill the small void of disappointment.
The Eternal Reign’s instrumentals are very precise, but far more relaxed than some of the band’s previous work. The guitar riffs aren’t as stiff as one would come to expect from Born of Osiris, especially considering The New Reign EP. The newest incarnation of Bow Down features chugging that doesn’t sound choked and claustrophobic like the original. This flexibility brings a new sense of smoothness to the playing that The New Reign didn’t have. With more breathing room, the relaxed playing of The Eternal Reign makes for a groovier experience.
On the other hand, the vocals are everything but relaxed on this release. Vocalist Ronnie Canizaro has taken full control of his vocals since his joining of the band in 2003. He’s gone from an emotionless and rarely-changing growl to a vicious roar. He infuses more of his voice into the scream, translating the emotion into it far more than before. Though his low vocals are still ferocious and intact, his highs stand out the most as they add an element of primal madness. Overall, refined vocal technique is showcased as the screams and growls accompany the instrumentation of the band.
As a whole, The Eternal Reign makes for a great listen as well as an engaging experience. Aside from a few mixing issues and some cushioned intensity, there isn’t much to take away from this EP. One might argue that there could have been more done in the way of change as far as new riffs and instrumental sections, but when considering the overall improvement of the EP in comparison to the first, there isn’t much room for disappointment. With The Eternal Reign, Born of Osiris has proven that they have evolved over the past decade and are hungry to progress even more.