Since forming in 2003, Chicago metalcore outfit Born of Osiris have undergone changes in name (settling on this in 2007 after several EP’s and demos) and personnel. The vocals (Ronnie Canizaro) and drums (Camerons Losch) have remained a constant, with keyboardist Joe Buras stepping up with added clean vocals. The immensely talented guitarist Lee McKinney joined in 2007 and has been present on every studio release to date, but this is the first for bassist Nick Rossi. Together, the chemistry works well and there seems to be a new power and sense of urgency with The Simulation.
The band have not deviated from existing sound, but they have developed. There are still djent/ metalcore/ deathcore/ progressive aspects and of course their unique utilisation of synthesisers. McKinney states
“… this new album keeps the integrity high across the board. I want to make the best songs I could for the people who are listening (and myself), and I want to perform them to their best ability on stage to give the people attending our shows those ‘wow’ moments. We want to give them those concert memories that’ll last a lifetime.”
While not a concept album as such, there runs a strong theme throughout this release, the ‘advancement’ of the human race through the incorporation of technology. But it is the cost to civilisation that propels a dystopian reality. Joe Buras (backing vocals, synthesisers) has said:
“It’s hard to prove we are not already in a simulation with the development of AI, advances in brain mapping technology and the inevitable singularity. We now see an age that is either here or on the horizon.”
The album opens with first single The Accursed, an energetic and upbeat hybrid of technical guitars, trancey synths, blast beats and incorporating progressive, djent elements with the power of nu metal. It’s fresh and wonderfully indicative of the class and cleverness of what is to follow, but perhaps a little lighter and more accessible. Lee McKinney (guitars) states:
“The first single and video for ‘The Accursed’ plays exactly off of the album titles and themes. People are stuck and addicted to machines, social media, virtual realities and anything that creates a life or reality that’s not their own. Our phones have become an extension of ourselves, a body part. We play games or throw on virtual headsets that literally suck us out of the reality we live and into a fantasy. What’s the future going to look like, a simulation? Could the simulation have already begun?
The message transposes excellently in the wry official music video for The Accursed which you can view here
Disconnectome follows, with a heavier, technical, thrashy, prog death feel. The recording is excellent, the clarity of the instruments contradicting the screaming vocals with excellent effect. Cycles of Tragedy brings us back to a more metalcore vibe with alternating cleans and screams with inspired melodic harmonies. Under The Gun opens with an almost oriental themed, upbeat electronic 80’s style introduction which pares back to a very sparse verse, anthemic choruses and thematic changes that demand your attention.
Recursion is as interesting as its title. Just a brief interlude, perhaps a reset before continuing onward towards a solution to incorporate into our evolution. Under a minute long and delightfully disconcerting. It’s a pause in the intensity before Analogs in a Cell bombasts the listener in a heavy tech meets techno urgent thrash. Silence The Echo is one groovy beast, with jaw dropping breakdowns and twists. One Without The Other and its killer thrashy riffs interspersed with more NWOBM influences and unusually soft moments (with strong cowbell) both elevates and disconcerts the spirit. The abrupt ending is unusual, but is it wise? Should it be clipped? After dozens of listens I am still perplexed. I like that.
Shorter than I expected, but still sweet this album showcases the diverse skills and taste of Born of Osiris. Although no new ground is broken as such, they are truly honing their craft and as a result it sounds ‘less samey’ and more select. It will certainly clear out the new year cobwebs!
“The Simulation” track listing:
- The Accursed
- Cycles Of Tragedy
- Under The Gun
- Analogs In A Cell
- Silence The Echo
- One Without The Other
The Simulation by Born of Osiris will be released January 11 and can be pre-ordered here
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