Review by Jeff Maki
On its fourth album, Soul Sphere, the Chicago quintet Born of Osiris might now become what many have been saying since the band’s inception: the next big thing. I recently saw the band live on the 2015 Summer Slaughter Tour (read review), a show (and most likely) a tour it easly could have headlined. The kids are eating up Born of Osiris’ (or BoO, as their affectionately known) djent style, made up of polyrhythmic guitars colliding with orchestral electronics (or video game music) and extreme vocals. While many critics have been hailing the band for its intricacies and complex music, it seems to have taken a step in another direction with Soul Sphere. While its hallmark attributes remain intact, Born of Osiris has taken the first baby step in leaving the former class of experimental djent bands behind and is entering more mainstream musical territory with bigger choruses and more memorable songs. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
Both “Throw Me in the Jungle” and “Resilience” were released prior to the album, and each song represents what I described above. The virtuoso guitar work, electronics and blast beats of “Resilience” represent the darker, old side of Born of Osiris, while “Throw Me in the Jungle” (a live standout, by the way) is the lighter and more accessible side—cleaner vocals, more melody. Album opener “Free Fall” is another standout, a pissed-off anthem for lost teens, while songs like “Goddess of the Dawn” and “Illuminate” are sprinkled with Swedish metal influences and lots of electronics. I’m really liking tracks like “Sleeping with the Dead” and “Warlords,” as both stand out well from the rest of Soul Sphere’s songs. It’s only a minor gripe, but the album could have been cut by three tracks and I don’t think anyone would have missed them.
Soul Sphere is an album intended to take the listener on a journey, and if they can get through the sameness of several of the middle tracks, I think BoO fans will be more than satisfied. It doesn’t matter if Born of Osiris fits in better with Meshuggah or Between the Buried and Me, or Of Mice & Men and Emmure. We need more of the extreme bands to break the surface, challenge their fans and get people to notice. Born of Osiris has done this with Soul Sphere.
(October 23, 2015, Sumerian Records)