Album Review: Born of Osiris - 'Soul Sphere'

20 November 2015 | 4:35 pm | Staff Writer
Originally Appeared In

BOO add another confusing amalgamation of synth and mosh to their back catalogue.

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If there’s one thing ‘Soul Sphere’ has going for it, it’s (you guessed it) soul. Ancient Egyptian deity worshipping, mosh peddlers Born Of Osiris have been an active fixture in the current metalcore crop for close to a decade, signing with Sumerian Records earlier on in their career, riding the label’s rise in profile and popularity, sweeping up fans with every tour and putting out releases consistently every two years.

In terms of musicality, Born Of Osiris have strengths in droves. A thick guitar sound pulling just enough djent tone to sound heavy and enveloping, but not like the thousand carbon copies rocking (insert stupid number here) strings. The riffs on display are interesting and intricate, with just enough technical tricks to keep you guessing, and resisting any pretentious wank. The drums are punchy and help to drive strong rhythms, without sounding fully mechanised, and perfectly complement the unique and catchy synth lines, which give the band much needed edge and individuality. And therefore, it’s a shame that this level of consistency in instrumentation; isn’t focused more into the actual task of song writing, where it could be so beneficial and enriching to the Illinois metalcore crew’s sound. ‘Soul Sphere’, the group’s fourth full-length record, is as pleasurable as it is perplexing, with many of the inconsistent trappings that befell previous releases like ‘A Higher Place’ and 2013’s ‘Tomorrow We Die Alive’ rearing their ugly heads all over the place.

The biggest issue with ‘Soul Sphere’ is that despite its namesake invoking images of completion, wholeness and depth, the end result is actually the exact opposite, with song writing that swings wildly from great, to average, to downright cheesy and back again – a full blown, Tyler Durden-esque crisis of identity. Tracks like ‘Illuminate’, ‘Resilience’ and ‘Goddess Of The Dawn’ see Born Of Osiris in fine, infectious form, with huge hooks and equal does of mosh and melody, recalling the glory days of ‘The New Reign’ and their watershed release, 2011’s ‘The Discovery’. However, this high standard quickly falls with tracks like ‘Free Fall’ and ‘Warlords’, which both aim for lofty heights and fail in spectacular fashion, with underwhelming lyrics and boring, lazy compositions. When the band goes fully progressive, with songs like ‘The Sleeping and The Dead’ and ‘The Louder the Sound, the More We All Believe’, the experimentation pays off by breaking the repetition of the record, and showcases some curious riffs, vocal layering and keyboard sections. And then there’s the lead single and principal ‘WTF’ moment of the record: ‘Throw Me In The Jungle’. Ridiculous title? Check. Lyrics that are so vague they border on banal? Check. A complete re-tread of riffs and mosh parts already used on the last three records? Check. Why anyone would want to leave their “blood in the city” and so desperately be thrown in the jungle is something this reviewer will never truly understand.

Born Of Osiris have been doing their own thing for a while now, and, for the most part, their back catalogue reflects their dedication with strong, solid releases. However, with ‘Soul Sphere’ being the unfortunate sum of its parts, their song writing definitely needs to be reined in. The record certainly has its strong moments, but the overall flow and composition is mired by meandering sections, cheesy lyrics and repetitive mosh. Born Of Osiris clearly have the potential to deliver another stellar record, and it’s possible that more time in the studio between releases, combined with some soul searching, might finally put true ascension within their reach.

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1. The Other Half of Me

2. Throw Me in the Jungle

3. Free Fall

4. Illuminate

5. The Sleeping and the Dead

6. Tidebinder

7. Resilience

8. Goddess of the Dawn

9. The Louder the Sound, the More We All Believe

10. Warlords

11. River of Time

12. The Composer