Born Of Osiris

A Higher Place

Written by: BL on 14/10/2009 21:49:55

I came across Born Of Osiris back when they released their debut "The New Reign" around 2 years ago - a very interesting deathcore album that had some unusual progressive and experimental melodic elements fused into their technical death metal that set them apart somewhat from their dissonant chugging peers. The trouble with a lot of these super technical and progressive bands is that you can end up listening to a blurry, intangible mess that sounds like it was written with a calculator, some colouring crayons and dodgy pills.

And it is only when you actually concentrate to hear all the various layers that things start to really make sense here on "A Higher Place" - and rewarding it is, given how impeccably it's presented. Periodically you will come across some ferocious and space time warping rhythm guitars (which by the way despite the deathcore element - feature very little actual recognisable breakdowns or mind numbing chuggery), schizophrenic in both delivery and the times they come in at. These are hugely contrasted with some great psychedelic and organic melodic guitar work that occupy the rest of the space. Indeed whether heavy or melodic, the axe work courtesy of Lee McKinney on display here is simply beautiful to behold and at times can take one's breath away if you allow it to. "Exist" in particular showcases both extremes of the scale in explicit and gorgeous fashion, bouncing effortlessly back and fourth from heavy to melodic while maintaining the exotic progressive formula these guys utilised so well previously on "The New Reign". Throughout elsewhere you have some truly mesmerising lead work like on "Put To Rest" and the last track "Faces Of Death" in particular while "Live Like I'm Real" and "Starved" have some superb low end riffing that would shame most bands in the deathcore genre with their minor harmonised riffs. Expect also plenty of tempo changes, sudden time signature jumps and other various little techniques to throw you off your chair. On the whole I would hesitate to spoil anymore of the guitars you will hear on this record - it's far more enjoyable as a surprise really since they are by far the highlight on show here.

Saying that though, the keyboards are an extra element that really adds to the ambiance on a couple of the tracks (like before), the way it just drifts in with a piano sound at the end of "Elimination" (the actual first track, since it follows a short instrumental intro) with a lingering melody over the top is very effective, haunting but wonderful. However they do not make as much of an impression as on "The New Reign" at times which is a shame, though perhaps the slight change in style goes some way to explain their occasional absence from the centre stage. The drums from Cameron Losch too are a fairly good combination of relaxed yet pacey and complicated fills, blast beats, and double bass pedal work. And though they are comfortable at best, they're still interesting enough for you to rid the generic deathcore label off them. The bass guitar itself flourishes only on a few rare occasions but at least does a little more than provide just a rhythm support to the guitar work (which in itself must be fairly taxing here). That leaves me to talk about the one shakey area of this whole package. You see, another thing that sometimes bothers me about these kind of bands is that the vocalists throughout this genre can be inconsistent in their quality and often struggle to really make any impact over the sizzling instrumental work. Here Ronnie Canizaro really does make an example of my point, at times he sounds fantastic - when he really lets himself go and puts more power in his screams. But other times he gets stuck in his rather standard hardcore-ish shrieky growl and corners himself with little variation in his tone. It's only a minor issue though really on a bigger scale as the other instrumentals somewhat predictably more than make up for it and for the most part he doesn't do anything wrong so to speak.

When looking back at "The New Reign" in comparison, it seems like the band have managed to expand themselves well and extend their creative limits to a fair degree. The main problem if any that will hit most listeners and fans is that perhaps Born Of Osiris have broadened themselves so much that their cohesive edge on their debut is somewhat lost at times here, since these guys are trying to do so much at once it's understandable to not really see all that much direction or purpose other than an attempt to blow your mind. This can mean that "A Higher Place" might take some time before it will grow on you, and truthfully it took me a few listens to really get into the mood and the groove for this album. However I can say that I now very much think this album is better in just about every sense than its predecessor. Also definitely don't expect to come in and see a better version or an extension of "The New Reign"'s style - because this album is wholesomely different and once you're comfortable with that - you'll realise that these Sumerian-core youngsters have a great future ahead of them with this band.

Download: Elimination, Now Arise, Exist, Faces Of Death
For the fans of: Periphery, This Or The Apocalypse, The Faceless, Between The Buried And Me
Listen: Myspace

Release date 07.07.2009
Sumerian Records

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