Review: “Chronos” by Osiah

Returning to the tried, tested and proven, Osiah have once again used the services of Andy Mallaby to record and produce this new EP “Chronos” before being mixed and mastered by Christian Donaldson (The Agonist, Congnizance, Ingested). That pairing were at the helm for the Northern Deathcore brutes last burnt offering “Loss“, a colossal and well received thirteen track record that dropped in 2021. However while some things remain the same, some things must change and this new record marks the first with new drummer Danny Yates (Abhorrent Decimation, Enslavement, Tribe of Ghosts, King Leviathan, ex-Guttural Carnage) on board. The real curiosity is the note from Unique Leader Records attached to the piece which reads “The sprawling, nightmarish EP… With some huge curveballs and deliberate side steps from their usual sound, Osiah have created a stand alone offering that truly showcases their musical depth and maturity“. Paint us intrigued.

Make no mistake, what Osiah have given us with “Chronos” is not by any means a stop gap release. It’s half an album at just short of 25 minutes of new material across 5 fresh cuts, no introduction pieces, no interludes and very much all psycho killer, no waste of time filler. For a band with their roots in Deathcore and Death Metal who already have a decade of destruction under their belts, Osiah have enhanced their reputation for creating swirling, dark and brooding atmospherics with the opening of “Momento Mori” alone. Permeating that with the bands more traditional bludgeoning sounds of blast beats and savage riffs finds them in familiar incendiary territory, creating serious heat and packing a brutal punch but it’s the staccato riff breaks of a downtempo finale that really takes the cake. A finer opening cut one would struggle to find. “Elder King” was the pre-release single that re-decorated the mosh pit with blood, sweat and spilled beer and is as powerful now as it was when it first entered the fray. Ricky Lee Ropers vocals are nothing short of pure dynamite, his contrasting demonic growls and shriller voices give the throat splitting impression of multiple vocals when there is only one while Yates kit work is just as impressive. If anything Osiah have begun to sound like they have transcended Deathcore to become a hybrid beast of the Blackened Death Metal variety. The leads of “The Golden Throne” that provide a trail of breadcrumbs to a huge breakdown section, providing a sinister and menacing atmospheric sub plot to which you could be forgiven for thinking you had awoken in hell. Its a powerhouse cut that would grace an album from Harbinger to Thy Art Is Murder should it have been written by them, which is testament to the qualities on display in terms of musicianship.

Then come the curve balls. the first of which is “Seeds of Despair“, a brutal downtempo Deathcore cut that finds Roper spilling his guts with vocal that stretches from the depths of Slam territory to the harsh spoken word. The ground trembles beneath the feet at the sheer horror of this one, its the ultimate skull crushing Deathcore cut with all the elements of savagery you would expect from something of that nature and feels like a throwback to the bands rich past rather than something from the present. The seven minute finale that is “Hues Refract” the second of those. It offers up some melancholic notions with an expended introduction that then build into a clean vocal passage at the 140 second mark with the band bordering on ambient in their textural approach. That comes crashing down at the half way point when the guitars kick in properly and Osiah break into an expansive Progressive Death Metal cut. The clean vocals from Roper are a dull ache that exposes self reflection in a shattered mirror while the dark and vibrant leads offer the strength to drive home the message. Although undeniably stunning, this final piece doesn’t sound like Osiah in any way, shape or form and in isolation only the most diehard of fans would be able to pin it on the band. It’s certainly not one for purists although you have to credit the band for experimenting and pulling out of the bag something of this epic grandeur, it might just be that on the first spin you wonder exactly what or who you’ve just heard [8/10]

Track Listing

1. Momento Mori
2. Elder King
3. The Golden Throne
4. Seeds of Despair
5. Hues Refract

Chronos” by Osiah is out 3rd February 2023 via Unique Leader Records and is available over at bandcamp.

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