Born Of Osiris
23rd October 2015 – Sumerian Records
01. The Other Half of Me
02. Throw Me In The Jungle
03. Free Fall
05. The Sleeping and the Dead
08. Goddess of the Dawn
09. The Louder the Sound, The More We All Believe
11. River of Time
12. The Composer
Born Of Osiris’ new album Soul Sphere is an album of many buts. Stop sniggering at the back, you. These buts are partly where it succeeds, however in the first of many – in this case paraphrased – buts, it’s also where it fails.
BoO last left us with Tomorrow We Die ∆live; by most accounts a disappointing follow-up to 2011′s widely loved The Discovery. Gone were the shreddy leads and instead we were left with the musical equivalent to SpaghettiOs, when fans wanted Alpha-Bits. If we keep to the food metaphor, Soul Sphere has fortunately brought some Shreddies to the breakfast table, but (there it is again) chuggy Cheerios are still overabundant in my bowl and they’re starting to get soggy.
Lee McKinney’s leads are well performed, clean and appropriate – but not particularly inventive, and the same can be said for the tech death-style riffs that rear their heads here and there, with major/minor arpeggios and fairly standard diminished death metal fare makingmake up the majority, bare a few choice fun, groovy sections.
TWD∆ was heavily criticised for an over- reliance on keyboards. They are of course still there, but it’s less “death metal in an ice cream truck”: while the keyboards bring both symphonic epicness and electronic elements in equal measure, Joey Buras has really gelled with the rest of the band and succeeds in bringing out melodies when the rest of the instruments are mindlessly chugging along.
Joey also makes a return behind the mic, but with a bigger role than before. It’s a move move that brings more variety, as well as increased melody and clarity to the vocal department. Unfortunately, clarity lends itself poorly to sub-par lyrics which is sadly the case here. The internet was already ablaze with cringe after first single “Throw Me In The Jungle” made its way to listeners.
That being said, this more melodic aspect of the vocals brings to mind more recent Bring Me The Horizon material; “Illuminate” in particular sounds like a cut from Sempiternal at times, which is certainly not a bad thing – although time will tell how fans will react to it outside of the aforementioned trek into the jungle.
There’s only one thing that matters though, and it isn’t whether there’s shred, keyboards or the various food analogies – it’s the simple question: is Soul Sphere good or not? The answer, unsurprisingly, yet slightly frustratingly, is yet another “but”: Soul Sphere is better than Tomorrow We Die ∆live without a doubt, but it’s still nothing groundbreaking. It’s a fairly safe album for Born of Osiris, albeit a fun one, and far more enjoyable than expected. If this were an EP filled with only the best moments of the album it would have the potential to be some of the band’s best material, but instead it’s a fun album with about as many pros as cons. Born of Osiris may have died alive last time, but this sphere could have used a bit more soul to truly ascend to the heavens they reached for.