Sound — 9
"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.
Lyrics — 8
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.
Overall Impression — 9
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.