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ALBUM: Born Of Osiris – ‘Soul Sphere’

ALBUM: Born Of Osiris – ‘Soul Sphere’


Few modern bands are as unique and trail-blazing as Born of Osiris. They’ve been there done that when it comes to deathcore, flirted with technical death metal, made great friends with Nu-Metal and thrown in random, but tasteful slips of dubstep beats into their diverse sound.

Through all of the busy sonic madness however, they’ve found a means of communicating their sound progressively better with each release, most recently adding in soaring choruses enhanced by the relationship between frontman Ronnie Canizaro and backing vocalist/keyboardist Joe Buras. It only makes sense that the sonic landscape by now has expanded to massive proportions and such is the case with Soul Sphere, Born Of Osiris’ 5th full-length.

Coming fresh off the love/hate extravaganza that was the release of Tomorrow We Die Alive BOO set forth to show that TWDA only showed another side of them. The (mostly) electronic/symphonic record was a double-edged sword for the fans who had gotten accustomed to the dual guitar barrage of the previous 3 records, specifically The Discovery and its peak of pure technicality. Tomorrow We Die Alive dropped the idea of a second guitarist, put the focus more on the electronics, the landscapes they could provide and the hooks of the vocals and lyrical concepts. The result was something of a hybrid…theory. It wasn’t a stretch to say BOO had become somewhat of a Linkin Park-made device, especially when Joe opened his mouth to sing gritty clean choruses that very well could have come from Chester Bennington’s pipes. Certainly impressive, but a tad odd coming from a band that typically emphasizes guttural death growls as the main vocals.

If the past few years have proven anything however, it’s that heavier bands can bring diverse elements in and make them work. That’s something BOO have been doing for awhile now, but never as well as they are on Soul Sphere. Opener “The Other Half of Me” is urgent with its array of creepy synths, crazy vocal patterns, emotive guitar solo and a huge ascending chorus. The entire album could have stuck with this very formula and turned heads enough, but BOO kept all of their fans in mind with this record. Whereas “The Other Half of Me” could fit comfortably on Tomorrow We Die Alive. “Free Fall” brings to mind The Discovery‘s hugely progressive and evolving nature. The riffs and tempos are constantly changing while the vocals somehow balance perfectly on top with a controlled chaos. Even this early on in the album jaws will be dropping at how proficient a guitarist Lee McKinney has become. His ethereal, other-worldly means of note-tapping and sweeping with the dexterity of a rock climber boggle the mind and, in addition to Joe Buras’ video-gamey soundscapes, is a massive part of what sets BOO apart from their many peers.

The album continues on by bringing to mind each album BOO have released to-date. “Illuminate” is a new avenue for the band, however. Its main hook revolves around rhythmic warrior chants, but a melodic chorus balances out the heaviness. “Resilience” is an explosive track that simply isn’t content with a few jaw-dropping moments. The song consistently wows and throws all manner of insanity at the ears, Lee once again showing his professional manner. Notable too, is Ronnie’s improvement on vocals. His range has grown vastly, and even features a mid-range in addition to a more immediate high shriek and burly low growl. It’s his power that makes him just as much a highlight as the instrumentals. Those looking for heavy grooves can find plenty in “The Sleeping And The Dead” and “The Louder The Sound, The More We All Believe”. They can also find two of the band’s longest song titles to date.

For all intents and purposes a call-back to a sound previously inhabited by the band early on is always nice. That’s where “Goddess of The Dawn” comes in. The New Reign fans will be right at home, as this is easily one of the band’s most brutal and schizophrenic tracks. It’s a nice track for the older BOO fans and it’s cool that the band are wanting to be seemingly all-inclusive with the various approaches heard on Soul Sphere. To balance such a huge and selective fanbase is no easy task, but is something BOO are getting good at.

Though Soul Sphere is (for the most part) strong, it does have its weaker moments. “Throw Me In The Jungle” brings with it a catchy chorus hook and memorable synth lead, but little else. Songs like it and “Warlords” revolve around a frequently reprised chorus/vocal phrase, but lack in the substance department. However, it is worth pointing out that the aforementioned duo are the only weak tracks on the album. A different pair of tracks, the final two on the album to be exact, are mind-bending in their ability to utilize massive symphonics and electronic atmospheres. “River of Time” and “The Composer” respectively offer up an intriguing new direction for Born of Osiris and end the album on a positive, thought-provoking note.

Born of Osiris simultaneously walk the line between electronic metalcore and brutal deathcore, and no line at all. Successfully combining genres is a popular game nowadays and Born of Osiris have a unique enough sound to carry with them a substantial reputation. Soul Sphere shouldn’t bring about any back-alley internet trash-talkers, and if it does direct them immediately to “Goddess of The Dawn”.

Matthew Powers I write reviews for CaliberTV and enjoy the existence of music.