Review: “Angel or Alien” by Born Of Osiris

Back in March when single “White Nile” appeared seemingly out of nowhere alongside an Erez Bader directed music video, it seemed obvious that there was more to follow and that Chicago Illinois Progressive Metal powerhouse Born Of Osiris were keeping their cards close to their collective chests and holding something back. We had to wait a further two months for the news of the album with the release of the music video for the title track appearing in May to whet our appetites and that’s exactly what it did. Mixed by Jeff Dunne (Emmure, Ice Nine Kills, Crystal Lake) and with engineering coming from Josh Strock, the bands sixth album sees them stick with label home Sumerian Records, but there has been one notable change; bassist Nick Rossi gains a couple of strings becoming the second guitarist on this one, so no doubt a new bassist will be announced prior to any touring activities.

The follow up to 2019’s “The Simulation” starts out with the bouncy DJent hook laden “Poster Child” underpinned with rich electronics that offers a sizeable mid-tempo syncopated  chugging affair, with tongue in cheek lyrics while also having some distinctly Metalcore leanings. The palette cleansing electronics and saxophone part that finishes off the cut make for a left field moment before the band dive headlong into the heavier cut in “White Nile” which sees Ronnie Canizaro offering up some of his fiercest vocals to date. Lee McKinney’s rich leads are mesmerising and immediate comparisons with recent works by Veil of Maya are run wild. “Waves” brings more introspective and personal lyrics from Canizaro and some icy synth moments which bring chills; the clean vocal moments from Joe Buras however don’t really work here, detracting from the intensity of the cut, which is otherwise a really solid offering. Changing approach with “Oathbreaker” which is loaded with juddering riffs and DJent bounce takes things up a notch and while the “Bleigh!” moment is perfectly executed, its the Chester Bennington mimicking unclean vocal parts that offer a welcome curve ball in a thunderous tune. That same mimicking is used in “Love Story” and gives the song an unnerving sense of familiarity, especially as the climbing leads sounds very Killswitch Engage. The one-two punch of the staccato riffage is fearfully addictive and if you’re not mainlining the album by this stage then something is seriously wrong. The experimentation continues into “Threat Of Your Presence” which offers up the Groove Metal vibes of Lamb Of God in a punchy brute of a track that ensures that the band aren’t over reliant on any one element. The best vocal combination comes with “Crossface” which has some seriously sinister and creepy synths with an almost echo style so that the Buras’s shriller vocal parts sound like the inner voice of Canizaro’s schizophrenia. Once again a bouncy and highly energetic affair, it sounds like it belongs on the soundtrack to something like Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight Rises”, such is the level of darkness within the lyrics.

Echobreather” is then a DJent battering ram with vibrant synths until a mid-track drop off and build back up that is perfectly executed; the issue at this point becomes one of the duration of the record rather than the abundance and strength of the material, which is so obvious throughout. At 55 minutes it becomes something of an endurance due to sensory overload; too much of a good thing becomes hard to take in once you cross saturation point and sadly this album suffers from that. It means that there are some cuts here that in isolation sound great but in the context of the album, they get a bit lost. Part of that is down to the fact that for all it’s intricacies and nuances, the tracks are very texturally similar, each one loaded with electronic underpinning, bouncy DJent riffs and ferocious, intense vocals. Picture eating the finest chocolate cake that money can buy; a couple of slices is great, but once you get to the third, you want to put it away and save it for later. It’s actually not something that gets you on the first few spins necessarily but over multiple spins it gets progressively more apparent. “Lost Souls” has the finest of the solos from McKinney, a real sumptuous piece during what is otherwise the one weak point in the album as it doesn’t stand out from the pack. The driven “In For The Kill” punches back heavier before “Truth and Denial” crushes all as arguably the heaviest track on the record, a real gut punch of an affair that pushes up towards Deathcore levels with synths bordering on the symphonic and DJent riffs that are so abrasive they take the skin off at 20 yards. If you hadn’t guest it there are a number of references to films, video games and books in the song titles, however the curious thing is that those references aren’t built upon too much in the lyrics. So if “Shadowmourne” means nothing to you, in World Of Warcraft it is a legendary two-handed axe. It has nothing to do with the track itself, a rich Progressive Metalcore number that has the wrap around from the opening track of the saxophone part and while it comes off as a little bit cheesy in a Born Of Osiris does Miami Vice kind of way, it works when it probably shouldn’t. An amazing album with a lot to offer, if only they’d cut it down a bit then it might have greater impact; sometimes less in in fact more [8/10]

Track listing

  1. Poster Child
  2. White Nile
  3. Angel or Alien
  4. Waves
  5. Oathbreaker
  6. Threat Of Your Presence
  7. Love Story
  8. Crossface
  9. Echobreather
  10. Lost Souls
  11. In For The Kill
  12. You Are The Narrative
  13. Truth and Denial
  14. Shadowmourne

Angel or Alien” by Born Of Osiris is out 2nd July via Sumerian Records

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