Tomorrow We Die Alive review by Born of Osiris

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  • Released: Aug 20, 2013
  • Sound: 6
  • Lyrics: 6
  • Overall Impression: 6
  • Reviewer's score: 6 Neat
  • Users' score: 6.2 (88 votes)
Born of Osiris: Tomorrow We Die Alive
5

Sound — 6
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.

Lyrics — 6
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.

Overall Impression — 6
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.

72 comments sorted by best / new / date

    EpiExplorer
    Wow, how can they call themselves progressive with open string noobness like this.
    jaybrink10101
    I'll say it - sometimes I want to throttle Epi, but in this he's totally right. It's untalented and quite a lot of noodling. As far as I can tell, watching this band write would be agonizing for anyone who has even a few good chops. That and Epi gets props for his advocacy of Akerfeldt and Devin Townsend.
    Yakisobayum567
    They aren't really progressive for the genre there in in my opinion, a lot of bands these days add these kind of effects it seems like The Devil Wears Prada and Veil of Maya
    Iommianity
    Any time I hear a breakdown with one note and the same rhythms as everyone else, I always picture the same conversation: "Hey bro, we need a section to really tie the song together, and make the pit go nuts. Do you have any riffs?" "Bro I was actually thinking, what if our drummer did the same back beat as in every other song, and we chugged open strings? That way, we don't need any semblance of melody, rhythm, any kind of riff, or anything." "You're a god damn genius, bro."
    malahk
    you know normally id agree with the narrow mindednss thing, but with this album he's totally right, all BoO does is change the patterns, but it's still just chugging and chugging and chugging... it's totally exasperating at this point, in my head the synth guy comes up with something cool, and the guitarists just go "cool, we'll play this on top of that synth" and they chug and chug, then they just repeat the whole process a bunch of times and bam! new BoO album...
    metalman245
    I have tabbed the entire album for you guys: 00--000--00000-000-00000-00-00000-----00000-0-0-000 -0
    mr.sexytime
    0h0p0 Idk how you hammer and pull off to open but lee mckiney does
    ironman316
    If you actually push down between the tuners and the nut, that's basically the same thing. And if you push down between MY tuners and nut(s), you're gonna have a bad time.
    KerNeL_KLuTcH
    nah that would be 0b1r0 like in the Iron man intro. hammering on/pulling off open would be like plucking with your fretting hand or some shit.
    Black Hazard
    Will be waiting to see your cover of Vengeance, oh great guitar shredder. Can you teach me how to do the sweeping in Mindful and The Origin? How about all those 0-0-0 riffs in Source Field?
    iktpq666
    Why do reviews of metal albums talk about immaculate production quality as if it's a bad thing?
    crazysam23_Atax
    Because if you make the production too digital, you lose the character of the instruments; and it becomes very electronic-sounding. You need to hear the quality of the guitar itself; that's very important when it comes to Metal or Hardcore.
    DreamGate
    The name Born of osiris has almost lost the connection it had with the music. TNR was a album where I would listen to the song and their name would ring through my mind. It had a unique vibe around it. The discovery was a good album where I grew a little scared of what they would become with this album. Good album. But its just one of 'those' album. It dosent carry that uniqueness they had.
    Bazz22
    I didn't really dig this release. I really enjoyed The New Reign and The Discovery, but this didn't do it for me, personally.
    vppark2
    Yeah, I miss Jason
    BwareDWare94
    That's funny, because All Shall Perish sucked once they lost Richardson, too. ASP was sooooo disappointing when I saw them live. Nothing even remotely comparable to how Awaken the Dreamers sounded. On topic, I think The New Reign was fun and brutal. On A Higher Place, they sounded like a band that wasn't really sure what they were doing. The Discovery was much better...and now this. And last but not least, I heard that the reason they lost Jason was because he was taking it much more seriously than the rest of them wanted to.
    AntsOfTheSky666
    thats funny, because Jason was in ASP for like a week. he didnt really contribute anything. and yea, this new BOO sucks. they were good with Jason, but they were also good on their first album. they seem to either put out good shit, or horrible crap like this.
    Fuzorz
    This is really similar to the case of other deathcore giants All shall Perish. Their first two albums kicked ass, then things started getting stale, much due to changing members. I guess deathcore isn't really a genre where a band can get "better".
    thePTOD
    Jason actually didn't write anything in ASP. Awaken the Dreamers had Chris Storey and Ben Oren on guitars. Jason was only a touring member for about a year or so. On topic, I like this album. It's not meant to be The Discovery. That doesn't mean people can't like any of their previous albums more, in fact this definitely isn't my favorite release, but I like most of the songs on the album. Could they have pushed the envelope a bit more? Sure. But for now I'm pretty content with this.
    BwareDWare94
    Ah shit, I'd forgotten about Storey. Richardson was the initial replacement, right?
    thePTOD
    Yeah, but then he left for some reason. Maybe to join BOO, idk exactly how that worked out.
    BwareDWare94
    Narrow minded? He's spot on. It causes most of the songs to sound way too similar. This band, considering all their decorative nonsense, could really use a chord pattern here and there instead of, "Um...pm after pm, sound good to you?"
    Jimmy-G
    Machine has to be one of the dullest songs I've listened to in quite a while. Yeah the sweep section is cool but every other part of the song is so bland.
    vppark2
    This was a fair release, but I think choosing Joey Sturgis to produce was the wrong move.
    strat07
    8/10 from me Solid album, sounds almost the same as The Discovery which i dont mind... a bit overproduced but there is alot of beauty in it!
    Zan595
    I love the idea of what they're trying to do...I just don't think it's executed well. This band has just never stood out to me.
    BwareDWare94
    Exactly what A Higher Place suffered from, imo. I'm starting to think Born of Osiris has a habit of releasing rough drafts, and then the polished work. Wait two years, they'll do this album, but better.
    daheck1210
    He was kicked out because he was "acting like a parent" about the rest of the member's steady drug use. BoO was quoted saying that they brought him in for The Discovery to add the shredding element. And now his talent is being wasted in Chelsea Grin.
    CushlaH
    for me the discovery was one of my favorite albums ever so any new material im initially skeptical about. I was suprised by the new vocals sounding alot cleaner and i actually liked the change.however the lyrics are somewhat lacking for me,not as much depth and slightly repetitive.
    m4ss3 m/
    This album was probably the biggest disappointment ever for me. It was way too repeative and just simply boring. Where are all the hooks and shredding The Discovery had?
    maximushyrule
    this album kicked ass! it was waaaaayy better than discovery for me. i love the futuristic synths they have. in terms of core, this is reaaaally good compared some of the other bands out there. dont know why everybody hated it. it was freakin awesome!
    nightscream33
    I was disappointed. It was just more chuggy nonsense that plagues most of the mainstream metalcore (including deathcore) and hardcore releases, and the bands that subsequently copy them. I appreciate a good rhythmic pattern as much as the next guy, but this was boring, and a shame after hearing the guitar parts on earlier albums. It doesn't have to be technical all of the time, but put some effort and work into it.
    joeyreece
    I still prefer it over most similar things but it's definitely a huge disappointment. Lacks the innovation that was shown on The Discovery. The constant chugging gets too much when that's all they want you to hear, you really need to digest this album for a bit to decide it's actually not a load of consumerist bullshit, because behind all the over accentuated binary riffs there's some fairly cool ideas. Just not as cool as I hoped with the progressive-touched direction The Discovery was going in. Overall I'll give it a 7, it's good, but not as good as it could and should be. ~Also just want to point out how ridiculously overdone the production of this is compared to how underdone the new reign is. I can't even listen to that album and I don't know how they still acknowledge that it happened
    Skyvalve2012
    Was actualy excited for this, now I'm not so sure.
    arisebanduk
    i wouldnt pay attention to ug reviews you have to remember that at the end of the day its just some narrowminded elitist sitting at a computer, what he or she thinks doesnt at all effect you
    edgeyyz
    I have to disagree, I've noticed that the UG reviewers rating is *normally* not too far from the average from user votes. Like it is with this one. There are obviously a bunch of exceptions, but everything said in this review sounds like fair criticism and not nit-picking.
    guitarplaya070
    Sounds pretty cool to me... You can 'slam' them all you want for not sweeping the whole song, but to me that's just as boring as a 5 minute long breakdown...
    reignofrock
    Apparently their 'good' guitarist left because everyone else was on Oxy or something along those lines.. Shame, last record was great.
    Scarr777
    5.8? Really? What a crap review... Everybody keeps comparing this release to "The Discovery" when you simply can't. I'ts two entirely different mindsets for the band. Not to mention member losses. Go listen to New CG if you want Jason, considering they turned into a near BOO clone once they got him. Either way, Lee kicked some serious ass on this album by NOT making things overly stupid by meaningless shredding and scales turning into more scales followed by more scales for the sake of doing even more scales. The fact the album was wrote in a new focus on the synth work was a big plus in my opinion. New era of BOO, new style of songwriting. Should be more a 7.8- 8/10. But I guess people are too closed minded for any sort of change these days, and everything BOO ever does should be exactly like "The Discovery".
    Yakisobayum567
    Shredding was the only thing that made The Discovery INTERESTING, like, they actually have good talent! You don't get lead work like that in many bands in there scene!I haven't listened to it yet, but what you said is really backing me down from ever listening to it at all.
    EpiExplorer
    ''Lee kicked some serious ass on this album by NOT making things overly stupid'' This came AFTER listening to an album that is essentially a string of 0's on a tab.
    malahk
    "I'ts (sic) two entirely different mindsets for the band" no, shut up, you don't even know, you're just saying that because you can... so from "NOT making things overly stupid by meaningless shredding and scales turning into more scales followed by more scales for the sake of doing even more scales." to playing the same 2-3 notes again and again throughout the whole album is progression? you know, you don't even have to know your way around a fretboard to chug for hours on end... at least on the discovery they experimented a lot with different cool melodies... "The fact the album was wrote in a new focus on the synth work was a big plus in my opinion" are you really this stupid? you do know that the synths are The Discovery's strongest point, if not THE saving grace? that album has much more focus on synths than this piece of crap.
    Black Hazard
    People saying this is just chugging are either full of shit or just completely tone deaf. There's plenty of cool technical leads on here, in every song just about. The Discovery had near just as much "chugging", you need to go back and listen to it if you think otherwise. Besides, the guitar is not the only instrument in this band, they have a keyboard player and they utilize him, he plays leads all the time while the guitar will back him up with a rhythm section. Keyboard critics man, they don't know anything...
    Bazz22
    It's not the rhythm sections themselves that people are taking issue with. It's the absolute over-saturation of them. Every song on this album seems to follow the same format of Synth->Chugs->Pseudo-technical leads->Repeat. I'm not trying to dismiss your opinion, as we are all entitled to have one, but I simply disagree with you.
    ewolf5150
    I don't understand the hate for this album. I've been a fan since the new reign and I think this album us great. Everyone puts the discovery on some pedastal of greatness, yeah it was good but just more chuggy digital pro tools ridden born. I was over that album pretty quick. Every born album is worth a buy IMO
    BwareDWare94
    It's because everything is completely unnecessary. I don't recall a single riff or lead part from this album off the top of my head. Not in a fond way, anyhow, whereas on The Discovery the intro from "Singularity" sticks out, in my mind. It was simple and to the point--it conveyed emotion. That's what this band is missing 99% of the time. They're pure gold when they get it right; it's just unfortunate that it doesn't happen more often.
    arisebanduk
    this is an awesome album with an awesome sound! and its incredibly well produced, btw sturgis uses cubase not protools.
    Cavalcade
    If the production is the best thing about this album, I'm sure you'd love Robin Thicke and Nicki Minaj. Their production is spotless.
    iamalexd
    I've listened to their last 3 albums hundreds of times and I can't even make it through this one twice. so disappointing. it sounds like all b-sides from the discovery that they just spent 2 and a half years mixing and adding synths
    Steveohh1
    Yes Jason Richardson left because they don't take music serious enough for his own taste. So he joins Chelsea Grin??? What a load of shit. I think he was just too much of a nerd for them.
    grizzzzly_adams
    I have been away from the metal-core(ish) scene for a while... & this doesn't sound like something I haven't already heard before, but the synth sounds cool. I will not be purchasing this.. Shit, I won't even illegally download this.
    justfoldedflags
    I'd really like to see a solo album from the keyboardist, his vocals are far far better than the main fella, plus I think the singing is from him too
    Cavalcade
    I really wanted to like this album, but I agree with most of the review. There are some cool keyboard parts, but Skrillex has plenty of those. This is basically C5: The Album, Featuring G5.
    kafirr
    am i the only one that thinks a higher place was their best release to date?
    BwareDWare94
    Yes. That album made the band sound like they didn't know what they were doing. It lacked direction. It just...was.
    salamander121
    I thought the album was solid... but just lacked that something that their first two albums had. Well written review for once as well!