Okay, so I know I suck at contributing to this site. I haven’t written anything for NCS in quite some time. But, every so often, a piece of media comes along in some form, whether it be a movie, a TV show, or in this case, a piece of music, that changes your life. It has an effect on you that you can’t quite explain, but you can’t stop listening to it. It grabs you, holds on, and doesn’t let go, making you think and reflect on where you are in your life.
For me, Chicago metal band Born of Osiris‘ new album The Discovery, set to drop on March 22nd, did just that. I’ve now listened to it six times in less than 24 hours and I believe that it is not only the best album of the year, or the past two years, but I am not afraid to say that it is now my favorite album of all time. (more after the jump, including a song . . .)
I’ve always thought Born of Osiris was a good band with a ton of potential. Their first album, The New Reign, was a fun, interesting mix of progressive deathcore sounds with keyboards mixed in, but it had no cohesion, no purpose. It didn’t separate itself enough from the rest of the pack to be called anything more then “above average.”
Their second album, A Higher Place, was a huge disappointment. I thought they took a big step back, and many of the songs sounded exactly the same, with no flair and no fun. It was just kind of, well, boring. So, with the new album, BOO needed to step it up big time. They were on the brink of becoming lost in the seas of metal bands that have worn out their welcome.
The Discovery proves that they aren’t lost at all. Rather, they have propelled themselves to the top of what the world of metal has to offer. From the second I began listening to this album, it became exceedingly apparent that after eight years, these guys have finally found their sound and they know it. Throughout the album, there is such confidence and conviction evident in each song, and not only that, each and every song is unique, varied, explosive, memorable, catchy, technical, and beautiful in its own way, which is something that is damn near impossible to achieve. This album is an extremely ambitious endeavor, but one that pays off in all respects.
One of the major noticeable differences between this album and their others is the huge step up in technicality. This album is extremely tight all the way through, and it’s as if these guys finally grew up as musicians realizing their full potential. The addition of guitarist Jason Richardson has added several incredible sweeps in songs like “Singularity,” “The Ascension,” “Dissimulation,” and especially at the end of “Follow The Signs.” At the same time, the album is not overly technical. It has an incredibly balanced mix of beauty and complexity that I have rarely heard. Songs like “Shaping The Masterpiece” and “Recreate” are technical and heavy as fuck while songs like “Singularity” are gorgeous, with perfect use of catchy, yet intricate keyboards.
There are also three or four breaks through the album of short interludes that are all masterful and spine-tingling, because after you listen to the album all the way through you realize that, like everything else, they were there for a purpose. They allow you to stop and reflect on what you’re hearing, appreciating even more each song as its own work of art. Some of the breaks are techno-infused hip-hop beats verging on dubstep, but much more carefully put together. Others, like “A Solution”, show off vocalist Ronnie Canizaro‘s clean vocals in a moment of blissful meditation. The guy has a surprisingly great voice, but don’t worry, there are no breaks of clean singing in any other song.
The lyrical themes in this album are dark, haunting, and intelligent, blending together to form a cohesive story. They speak of humanity’s responsibility to itself to heal the pain it has caused and end the destruction we cause to one another. For example, “Follow The Signs” states that “we are the victims but we are also the crime and the only one who can judge us is the earth in time.” These kind of intelligent rhymes, with a whole story behind them, permeate the album, adding a level of sophistication I’m not sure I’ve ever heard.
The highlight of the album is “Dissimulation”, which combines every aspect of the album into one song that tells the story of “The Discovery”: Blast-beats, djent-like guitar structure, beautiful, catchy keyboards, amazing sweeps, and poetic lyrics, all while being heavy as fuck. This is everything I’ve ever wanted in a metal song. And let me just say, the guitar solo in the middle of this song is just godly.
As Ronnie says during the song, “release the demons inside of us. We need to analyze our identities.” This would be the one line of the album that I would pick to describe its purpose and I believe it to be the message that BOO is trying to convey. If we step back, and look at ourselves and everything we’ve done in our lives, even the things that haunt us to no end, we can come to a new discovery and not only heal ourselves but heal others, as well creating a community that this world seems to struggle mightily in creating.
This album will change you if you let it. So, I want everyone reading this to take off their little elitist death metal caps for one second, open their minds, forget the crowd that may be associated with Born of Osiris, forget their previous albums, and lie down, close your eyes, and experience the beauty of death metal.
This is why I listen to this genre of music. Because in its darkness, there lies a serenity that cannot be found in any other genre of music. This album demonstrates that better than any other I have heard. It is a masterpiece, a stroke of genius, a work of art, and as close to perfect as this type of music can come. I don’t care what comes out later this year, this is my album of the year, and perhaps the next year too. It doesn’t get better than this, so get ready, for “a new journey awaits you.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: The Discovery will be released March 22 on Sumerian. Here’s the track that has become IntoTheDarkness’ favorite — “Dissimulation”:[audio:https://www.nocleansinging.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/09-born_of_osiris-dissimulation.mp3|titles=Born of Osiris – Dissimulation]