Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Born of Osiris - "The Discovery"
Born of Osiris is a band that has wholly accomplished one of the greatest challenges in the market today: individuality. To be sure, their brand of progressive deathcore isn't without its fair share of "comparables" - but Born of Osiris as a band has managed to hollow out a distinct territory for themselves and create a sound that is uniquely theirs. It's difficult to mistake a Born of Osiris album or song for something from, say, label-mates Veil of Maya or After the Burial. The journey to that achievement spanned 2 albums and their first EP released in 2007 under the name Born of Osiris (previously known by the moniker Rosecrance). But their latest release, The Discovery, is the piece that solidifies their accomplishment.
Just about everything. Yeah, it sounds like a cop out but from the moment lead vocalist Ronnie Canizaro growls "Follow the signs!" and the band comes in full on the opening track called, well, "Follow The Signs" - it's clear this album is going to (for lack of a less cliched phrase) BRING IT.
The increasingly intricate and flawless musicianship from previous releases is back with a vengeance. Albums like this are the ones you can push in the face of people who don't believe metal is actual music because it's impossible to deny, whether you like the music or not, that this album is filled to the brim with near-virtuoso levels of musical mastery. Born of Osiris makes extensive use of their keyboardist, Joe Buras; a decision that only adds to the greatness of their music and to this album specifically. Whole instrumental tracks/interludes are dedicated to a keys-only approach. This is in keeping with subtle musical "hints" on previous albums The New Reign and A Higher Place, with each giving more room, respectively, to the dominance of the keyboard. On A Higher Place, this was best showcased during the outro to the fourth track "Now Arise" in which an almost hip-hop beat was overlaid with eerie and ethereal choir and bell effects while Canizaro screamed the song to conclusion. Another similar moment (incidentally also on the fourth track) appears on The Discovery; "Devastate" concludes with a bassline and drum loop that sounds like something off of some gangster rap album. But the accompanying keyboard effects and musicality evoke something more akin to the soundtrack for a Tim Burton film. It's one of the most fun moments on the album.
The other great strength of the album is how it was mixed and mastered. Where The New Reign used a kind of raw approach to mixing for effect and A Higher Place favored less bass-oriented mixing for a leaner sound - The Discovery finds a perfect harmony between the two. Combining a slick and professional mixing job with the thunderous force of (what must be) every instrument turned up to 11, The Discovery feels like Born of Osiris has arrived at a complete and confident balance.
A few tracks of note are the previously mentioned opener, "Follow The Signs." Amidst the crashing of cymbals and the collision of double-bass and palm-muted guitars, the melody is still clear and discernible. "Devastate" is my personal favorite from the album, as it showcases all the best bits of Born of Osiris in a single track. I live for musical moments like those in the midst of "Devastate," where a doom-like melody and choral effect backs up the phrase "System Failure" screeched at the top of both Canizaro and Buras' lungs while the accompanying breakdown literally sounds like the walls of a skyscraper collapsing down upon the listener's ears. In keeping with Born of Osiris' experimental spirit, one of the instrumental interludes ("The Omniscient") sounds like something from an Enigma album...or ambient spa music...or a porno from the 90s. Either way, it's something markedly different for the band overall; but coupled with the band's musical confidence and presence, the track still doesn't feel out of place and only contributes to the achievement of the album as a whole.
There really aren't any, and I'm not being hyperbolic. The Discovery has a run-time that's just a couple of minutes shy of being as long as their previous two releases combined; but when the music is this satisfying, that's a very good thing. There are a handful of spots that bring the word "repetitive" to mind, but they're few and far between enough to be easily ignored. Apart from that, there's precious little I can think of on the negative side - and I've listened through the entire album several times. The flip-side of such an accomplishment, though, is that the next release has that much more of a hurdle to overcome.
The Discovery is the best Born of Osiris release to date. The album very much feels like a culmination of efforts for the band. As such, it may be difficult for the band to top this release without straying too far from their sound. But even if this is as good an album as Born of Osiris ever releases, it will still remain to prove that Born of Osiris is one of the greatest bands on the scene today. And in a scene that's inexplicably sprinting towards higher levels of mediocrity and bafoonery - that's not only an accomplishment, it's a borderline miracle.