Born of Osiris is a band with an interesting history. When they emerged as one of the first bands on Sumerian Records, alongside The Faceless, they seemingly turned the entire concept of Deathcore on its head. These Chicago kids were technical, brutal, cutting edge, and pretty much everything you could hope for from a Deathcore band back in 2007. They raised the bar, so to speak.
They struck again in 2009 with “A Higher Place”, which turned out to be quite the divisive record. While many thought it was great, another camp complained because it lacked that same “BOO bounce” and brutality from two years prior. Following this, Born of Osiris really set out with something to prove. They dropped “The Discovery” like a bomb in 2011. Many consider this record to be the band’s magnum opus – if you will. It had everything that everyone wanted from this band and some. They set the bar so high that even some of the taller contemporaries had trouble reaching.
And then there was “Tomorrow We Die ∆live”. If you think “A Higher Place” split opinions… it has nothing on this 2013 record. It brought in a bunch of new fans with a renewed accessibility but it caught a lot of hate due to the sudden simplicity – comparatively speaking. It’s not a bad album, but the consensus seems to be it wasn’t their best.
Going off of this history of general neck-bearded public opinion, it seems that Born of Osiris are destined to raise the bar every other release and slack in between. So, if my calculations are correct, it’s time that these modern metal juggernauts raise that bar again and leave all of their fans, old and new, happy.
So here we are in late 2015 with a brand new and much anticipated Born of Osiris LP. People have only begun to venture into the “Soul Sphere”. But does it raise the bar once again or flop? Before that question receives any sort of answer here, it’s worth noting that the album is now streaming in its entirety via Sumerian Records before it’s official October 23rd release tomorrow! So fuck what I have to say – Listen for yourself if you haven’t already. You can find that full album stream just above.
Now, let’s cook the meat and scrape the bones of this album. Shall we? This is, more or less, the album many people were hoping for after “The Discovery”. The body of this record consists of 12 tracks, clocking in at approximately 45 minutes worth of metal music to behold. All of the tracks stand tall both together as a single experience and apart as beacons to the “Soul Sphere”.
The band released a total of four singles (and a metric shit ton of teasers) leading up to the release of this LP. They make up tracks 2, 3, 7, and 8 on record, respectively. These singles all succeeded in delivering unique perspectives on the album while remaining cohesive with one another – as much of the full album plays out. For example, “Throw Me In The Jungle” draws the listener in with a more accessible “Tomorrow We Die ∆live” type sound only to pummel their god damn eardrums with “Free Fall” (Not to mention those other two singles later on in the experience).
Apart from the singles, there are several standouts on this album. These include “The Sleeping and the Dead”, “Tidebender”, the opener called “The Other Half of Me” and “The Composer” – the last of which is presumably linked to the tracks “Behold” and “Vengeance” from years past. Musical reference aside, that’s just scratching the surface of what this album has to offer. Computationally, this album is the multiplication of their previous record paired with “The Discovery’s” soul and a whisper of “The New Reign”. It’s approachable with fearsome moments to catch the prey.
On that note, when you pair “Soul Sphere” with their previous album, it almost plays out like a master plan. Say what you will – “Tomorrow We Die ∆live” brought in a lot of new fans for the band, effectively swelling their ranks further than ever before. “Soul Sphere” is something that both old and new fans can appreciate. Checkmate. Point is, I can see this album being BOO’s biggest business triumph to date – if not one of their best efforts. Mother fuckers gotta eat, after all.
They’ve kept up the vocal mixture introduced with their previous record – both harsh and gravely clean voices are cast into play through the album’s duration. Though the balance strikes generally more towards the harsh side than not. When it comes to these vocals, comparisons have been drawn to Bring Me The Horizon’s more recent work. I don’t see it personally, but maybe that comparison will work for you.
Now, back to the root question behind this review. Does Born of Osiris raise the bar once again? I’d say the answer is yes and no. They have certainly raised the bar for themselves once again as a band. This is a great album. However, they don’t necessarily raise the bar for their niche of modern metal as a whole. But this is totally understandable considering how far things have developed over the past 5-10 years – thanks to bands like Born of Osiris.
To sum all of this up – “Soul Sphere” is a solid and successful effort from Born of Osiris. I’m sure it will do well on a number of levels. Taking this into account, the band’s fourth full-length album gets a well deserved 8 out of 10.
Once again, you can listen to the album in its entirety up above. If you enjoy the music, the merchandise is available by CLICKING HERE. The beast comes complete with an abundance of beastly artwork, once again from the one and only Cameron Gray. No, he’s not related to the equally incredible Alex Grey (Tool, anyone?). If you appreciate art, it’s highly recommend you scope out his catalog over at Parable Visions.