For Fans Of
January is one hell of a tricky time to release a new LP. The new year’s hangover is a mainstay for the month, and all around the world, listeners slowly, perhaps begrudgingly, are getting ready for another 12 months of the daily grind, whilst still digesting musical output that they missed from the year before. So, to drop a record right now in January, you’d better be sure that you’re ready to make one hell of a lasting impression that will echo throughout the entire year to come. Something that people won’t forget about when it comes times to making their end-of-year lists. Unfortunately for Born Of Osiris, their newest record ‘The Simulation‘, fails to leave any kind of impression; both currently and one that will be more than likely forgotten about by most as the year progresses.
This American progressive-metal outfit has made a vast majority of their musical living chugging the same dropped chords to varying levels of syncopated madness; often compacted with flurried synths flying over the top and faux-philosophical waxing lyrical about the dangers of technology and the human condition. So, it’s a little infuriating to here that this album’s opener, ‘The Accursed‘ – a song that begins with little weight, build-up and zero fan-fair – only gets straight down to half-time business with a collection of riffs that blend seamlessly back into 2017’s samey EP, ‘The Eternal Reign‘. (Oh, and as for that 2017 release, for what was a re-make and update of their first 2007 EP, it still felt dated as hell).
‘Cycles Of Tragedy‘ and ‘Under The Gun‘ follow the same-old formulae of recycled riffs that are near-impossible to untangle from one another, what what may end up being one of the blandest guitar tones you’ll hear from the djent and prog-metal world in 2019. Throw in cheesy, nonsensical lyrics in the former track (“Inside the back and forth, between the emptiness/is the place I long to be, another shot at destiny“) and an infuriating synth lead line in the latter, and you have songs that resemble a metalcore mad-Monday party more than anything that’s the least bit interesting. The forced clean vocals – in these two songs, and the wider album as well – don’t really help matters, either.
Thankfully, there are some moments throughout this record that do manage to pull their head above the murky lake of MIDI drums and guitar tabs to make the listener take real notice. Songs that do indeed cut through the moulding digital veil that BOO try so damned hard to warn us of in their music. (Which is ironic, as that place seems so much more interesting than much of this new record). For one, second track ‘Disconntectome‘ offers some much-needed variation in terms of rhythm and melody, showcasing the incredible precision of drummer Cameron Losche.
‘Silence The Echo‘ offers up a genuinely cool rhythmic spattering, while album closer ‘One Without The Other‘ has some wonderful melodic guitar lines and a strong sense of composition too. Whatever the group was working with on this record’s Side-B, that should’ve been the cornerstone for the rest of the LP to jump off from, such is the strength of the final few tunes in comparison to the mundane rest. That being said, though, this album is also only eight songs long and it just kinds ends. It feels rather short for what it is, like there’s a few now songs missing from the complete experience. Short albums are more than fine, but at least have the good songs to back it up.
Truth be told, Born Of Osiris are a band that seem very happy to stay well within their lane way, and given their musical chops in said chosen style, it’s hard to blame ’em. However, there is always a time to let go of something, and the fact that in 2019 we are still bemoaning metal bands like this trotting out these tired tones, songwriting cues and palm-muted breakdowns should speak volumes (heh) to any reader. It’s all pretty ironic too. For a band that wishes to break the mould with their lyrical and thematic intents, the actual music here never once attempts to do just that.
‘The Simulation’ is one hell of an apt title for this LP given the experiment that was modern prog-metal and djent. However, the proof is in the pudding here: there’s no experimentation to be had. Just another line of progressive metal code lost in a wider machine. For with Born Of Osiris’s latest, there’s nothing really to it. It just simply is. It’s so uneventful and lacking in impact that we’ll happily just slip back on our VR headsets instead of spending even one more minute with this thing. Man, remember when this band was dropping good records like ‘The Discovery’, back when it all felt exiting and invigorated? We sure do.
1. The Accursed
3. Cycles of Tragedy
4. Under the Gun
6. Analogs in a Cell
7. Silence the Echo
8. One Without the Other
‘The Simulation’ is out now via Sumerian Records.