Released: Aug 20, 2013
Genre: Progressive Deathcore, Progressive Metal
Label: Sumerian Records
Number Of Tracks: 11
At times "Tomorrow We Die Alive"'s space-age deathcore chugs have more meaning in Morse code than they do music.
Tomorrow We Die Alive
UG Team, on august 30, 2013 6 of 8 people found this review helpful
Sound: There's been a mistake somewhere along the line; Chicago's Born of Osiris don't sound like they were born of anything. Their futuristic deathcore is a precise machination, surely an execution of code drawn up in a laboratory somewhere. I say this because production is absolutely vital to their assault. Luckily, they have experience behind the mixing desk and on third-full length "Tomorrow We Die Alive" they're flanked by a team of six top engineers, who between them have produced almost every breakdown in the last half decade, from Attack Attack! to The Devil Wears Prada.
Polished to perfection and up to the eyeballs in Pro Tools tricks, this is their best sounding work to date. "Machine" raises the curtain with orchestral overtures, smoothly handing the baton from violin to guitar to synth, and finally back to guitar with a big bass boom as the riffing cogs begin to spin. It's window dressing at its finest, and it's mighty entertaining on first listen. Lee McKinney's lead guitar is technically spotless, like liquid as it seeps between the cracks of the drums and rhythm playing.
However, once you've oohed and aahed at the fireworks what you're left with is the substance digitally clipped chugs which probably have more meaning in Morse code than they do music. Differentiation between many tracks rests almost entirely on production and the flavour of the synthesised backdrop. For example, "Divergency" is sci-fi with a crude dubstep ending, while "Aeon III" appropriates Eastern instrumentation and "Illusionist" glistens with frosty reverb. Strangest of all, though, is "Absolution," highly melodic excursion which delicately toes the line between progressive showmanship and the sweetness and innocence of a Disney movie. It should be reiterated that each of these songs is fitted with the same basic package of riffs and vocal patterns brutal deathcore and metalcore convention when the decoration is stripped back. // 6
Lyrics: The lyrics are highly stylized, describing seismic movements in space, time and society to name but a few items on the agenda. "Aeon III" wins the prize for ambition ("Surrender to the Gods as you flow through the river of the sky") while "Exhilarate," one of the more personal tracks, is a resolution to stay humble. For all its emotion, however, it still manages to place the words construct and deconstruct next to each other in a sentence. Vocalist Ronnie Canizaro is on good form after a moderate showing on 2011's "The Discovery," but he is not blessed with a voice that can command a great deal of attention over the sounds which are flailing, skidding and going off all around him. // 6
Overall Impression: This album is not fundamentally different from Born of Osiris' first two efforts, but the greater role of synthesizers and samplers serves as a distraction from the band's core sound rather than a refreshing compliment to it. There is interesting detail to be picked out after ten or more listens, but not everyone will get that far, and those who don't cannot be blamed for giving up. "Tomorrow We Die Alive" is a beautifully executed album, and boasts as accomplished a production job as you'll hear from a metal band this year, but the songwriting lacks that little bit of soul needed to pull it north of average.
Tomorrow We Die Alive
J.Millzzzz, on september 09, 2013 1 of 4 people found this review helpful
Sound: "It's just not the same without Jason Richardson." That's what YouTube comments were all saying back when lead guitarist Jason Richardson left the band. And it was backed up too. Videos were put up of shows from all over where the bands remaining guitarist and founding member Lee McKinney simply couldn't play some of the things Jason was playing. So there was a lot of doubt around the bands up and coming fourth studio album. Their previous effort, "The Discovery" was a complete shred-fest loaded with guitar solos, and soaring leads. Then the band released the first single, "Machine." And except for a mediocre sweep pattern, there was no shredding. Then the second single, "Divergency," was released. Once again, no shredding. Many fans were starting to wonder if the band was going to take a step back for this album. But they were wrong. This album has amazing use of keyboards and synth parts, as well as a surprise amount of shredding from Lee. I was pleasantly surprised by how technical and well written these songs are. Songs like "Mindful" and "Illusionist" have incredible lead sections, where songs like Absolution are incredibly melodic, and seem to be completely new ground for Born, almost using clean vocals. // 9
Lyrics: Being a guitarist, I've never paid much attention to lyrics. But you can tell vocalist Ronnie Canizaro, and vocalist/keyboardist Joe Buras match the bands musical complexity with lyrical complexity. Instead of the usual lyrical approach of modern bands (talking about break-ups, or loss of friends) Born has always chose to discuss deeper concepts, with a very thoughtful, almost philosophical approach to their lyrics. Ronnie's vocals are the same nice deep low growls as usual. The big difference is Joe's high range scream. It almost seems to be raspy singing at some points on the album. During the chorus of the song "Absolution" there is a clear melody in the vocal line. Overall Ronnie's got done what he needed to do, and Joe went above and beyond his usual. // 8
Overall Impression: This album could be considered a combination of Periphery, After The Burial, and Whitechapel. It's got Periphery's Technicality and melody, with the riffing of after the burial, and the brutality of any deathcore band. Every member of the band does their job on this album. Cameron Losch pounds away on the drums at an incredible speed, while Lee McKinney and Joe Buras's melodies soar all throughout the album. Joe and Ronnie do a great job on vocals. My only problem is bassist David Darocha is hidden away in the mix, although that seems to be the case with most metal bands these days. Stand-out tracks are, "Absolution," "Mindful," and "Illusionist," for their incredible use of synths and guitar. I'm going to pick this album up tomorrow, and if it were stolen, I would instantly replace it. // 9