‘A Higher Place’- Born of Osiris

A picture-perfect example of why the metal scene is so confused at the moment. Djent/deathcore band Born of Osiris released this record in 2009 and have since gone on to receive fame from a very peculiar brand of fan base. A fan base that doesn’t seem to care an awful lot about the roots of metal and that has very little respect for genre stalwarts. Yet BO (an appropriate acronym for them) and their contemporaries are managing to get on every metal tour and festival you hear about. Yours truly even had the misfortune of seeing this band open for GWAR (on their 30th anniversary tour, no less). That was painful. What is it about this djent movement that is resonating with many people?

Most of the fan base for djent are millennials. As one myself, you can take my word on this. Not surprisingly, the djent scene is about as warm and heartfelt as the average smartphone. This prevents even the slightly positive moments on this record, like the opening instrumental piece “Rebirth” (although it does sound like something out of a videogame) from having any kind of real, substantial bearing on the overall quality of the record. The assumption that BO seem to be making is that the listener will be fooled into buying this new brand of metal that doesn’t pay any homage to what has come before. In order to be a progressive band, you first need to understand and acknowledge what has come before you. Progress doesn’t exist without this understanding. Even the more competent tracks on this record, “Now Arise” and “Exist”, fail to connect to this pretty simple concept. It certainly doesn’t help at all that the guitar sound on this record is mimicking the sound of other Windy City band Disturbed (Who would’ve ever thought that they’d influence anybody?). So, on and on goes everything that’s wrong with this record up to the very end. Is it really any wonder why us so-called “metal elitists” (which really just means that you have standards) unrelentingly mock this music?

The final verdict on this record, unsurprisingly, is very unfavorable. It will receive a score of higher than zero, simply because it attempts to be ambitious. The fact that the band doesn’t know how to appropriately portray themselves or their music can’t be overstated, because it prevents the ambition from carrying any weight. Another complaint: the guttural vocals are among the worst that have ever been put to record. Death metal growls should be menacing and captivating, not obnoxious and agitating. The vast majority of what has been said in this review can be applied to most anything in the djent/deathcore vein of metal. With any luck, this is a scene that will soon pass and be forgotten to history within a few years. It certainly doesn’t have the weight to maintain any substantial legacy. Until that day comes, please guys, just don’t go back on tour with GWAR again. Please? That is the only condition laid on the table. It shouldn’t be that unreasonable of a request.




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