Release Date: 11th Jan 2019
Label: Sumerian Records
Genre: Progressive metalcore
Hey, have you heard about that progressive metalcore band from the U.S. releasing a two part album in the space of a year, addressing the relationship between the mind and media? No, not Between The Buried And Me’s Automata, silly! It’s The Simulation, the latest album from Born Of Osiris!
Ok, maybe it’s a bit unfair to start with a negative comparison to something a similar band did last year (it’s just so easy though…), as there are differences to be found. Despite both falling under the progressive metalcore category there is little overlap between the bands’ sounds, with BTBAM leaning more to the progressive side whereas BOO (my favourite acronym) focus more on technicality. Lyrically, BTBAM’s Automata I and II explored the idea of dreams being sold for entertainment, and the effects that would have on the dreamer, whereas Born Of Osiris’ The Simulation takes aim at the impact of social media, and how people (millennials) aren’t living their ‘real’ life. We gotta wake up, man!
Unfortunately, even with the comparisons to other bands being easily dismissed, The Simulation offers very little on its own. Whereas Born Of Osiris were once known for their impressive virtuosity tied to their deathcore origins, brilliantly displayed on their second album The Discovery, the band began to shift focus away from the technical proficiency, despite this being the attraction for many of their fans. Dialling back the complex solos and riffs and introducing more keys and synths over their last few albums, the band are a long way from their ‘technical deathcore’ roots, resembling an electronicore sound. Yes there have been numerous cases of metal bands incorporating keys successfully, but this doesn’t seem to be the case with The Simulation, as the merging of sounds falls flat.
Opening track and single ‘The Accursed’ launches into a synth pattern played over chugging guitars in unison with the kick drum – somewhat of a gimmick back in the mid-2000s, so all the more confusing it’s still happening almost ten years later. Furthermore, the ‘heavy’ elements are lacking in any bite or aggression, as if the clinical approach to production has left the tracks sterile and lifeless. A calculated ironic criticism of those who are left lifeless due a dependency on social media/technology? Hmm, maybe not.
Luckily second track ‘Disconnectome’ reassures listeners that the band are still capable of writing advanced metal, even evoking comparisons to modern trashers Sylosis, showing off the band’s proficiency without resorting to boastful shredding/soloing. However this is short lived, and the guitars return to providing chugs under keyboard lead passages. ‘Under The Gun’ is the band’s attempt at creating a radio friendly metal track, but when compared to the rest of Born Of Osiris’ material, it comes across as calculated, forced, and unfortunately not very good. An unnecessary interlude track gives way to yet more chugging, although this time accompanied by lead guitar instead of lead keyboard (ah, just like the good old days).
Maybe it’s unfair to criticise an album that is part one of two, but then The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring is still a good film on its own. The band’s virtuosity hasn’t faded, and on numerous occasions throughout The Simulation they have demonstrated good songwriting, but it feels like Born Of Osiris are trying to move in a new direction to stay relevant. Unfortunately, it sounds like they’ve gone the wrong way.
Recommended Track: Disconnectome