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Born of Osiris

The Simulation [Solid White]

The Simulation [Solid White]

UPC: 817424019958

Format: LP

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Before dropping Born of Osiris' The Simulation on the player, listeners will encounter a surprise in the track list: Nearly four years after the release of the killer Soul Sphere, the assembled eight cuts here total a mere 26 minutes. Is it an album or an EP? According to guitarist Lee Patrick Mckinney, The Simulation is the first of two shorter albums primed for release in 2019. BoO is on Sumerian, the same label as Between the Buried and Me. The latter act prefigured this kind of release in 2018 with Automata I and Automata II, making one wonder if this a mere coincidence or the label's marketing strategy.
While 2015's Soul Sphere and 2013's Tomorrow We Die Alive seemed like direct responses to the musical invention of 2011's breakthrough The Discovery, The Simulation looks back even further, while simultaneously hinting at a ferocious new pathway. Lyrically, the album follows a loose concept that concerns itself with technology's consumption of humanity, delivered with the paranoid musical fury and rage that signifies the band's trademark. In 2017, BoO celebrated the tenth anniversary of their debut EP The New Reign by re-recording and re-titling it The Eternal Reign. The music and production here directly reflect that undertaking, with a raging energy that offers few flourishes -- save for the insane intensity of Joe Buras' keyboards. This is not to say that it is merely "Reign 2.0." Far from it. First single and album-opener "The Accursed," with its manic futurist synth work (that borrows a short moment from Pink Floyd's "One of These Days" in its intro), plays a central role, as does the interplay of Buras' and Ronnie Canizaro's alternating lead vocals, low-tuned bass throb, angular guitar riffs, and hooky refrain. It twists and pummels, fractures and cracks, exhausting itself in less than four minutes. "Disconnectome" follows by canceling out the entire notion of accessibility in three minutes and 17 seconds. Massive churling riffs from Mckinney, synth interludes that traverse the margins, and the employ of a symphonic black metal influence fits seamlessly inside the band's aesthetic, as electronic and cinematic sounds commingle amidst roiling tom-toms and snares. They walk the plank on "Cycles of Tragedy," driven by frantic, menacing polyrhythms that create a foundation under the layering of stringed instruments in BoO's soundworld, with dual leads and a chugging bassline accented by squalling synths and tempered piano effects. Thankfully, the rest of the date lives up to its first three tracks, not least because of the thoroughly enjoyable interplay of Buras' (clean) and Canizaro's (dirty) vocals. "Under the Gun" possesses an infectious hook atop declarative chants and sprawling keyboard interludes supplanted by depth and dimension via guitar fills and vamps. The set's epitome, however, is the massive, cinematic intersection of technical death metal and prog that drives the nearly profound "Silence the Echo," arguably the album's finest cut. The Simulation offers compelling, imaginative songwriting and production, proving that even as BoO look back, they press on, mining their strengths and execution while pursuing new directions. ~ Thom Jurek


1 - Accursed
2 - Disconnectome
3 - Cycles of Tragedy
4 - Under the Gun
5 - Recursion
6 - Analogs in a Cell
7 - Silence the Echo
8 - One Without the Other