Released: 2013, Sumerian Records
Reviewer: Peter Atkinson
After the occasionally dazzling djenty/tech-death touches of their previous album, 2011’s This Discovery, Chicago’s Born of Osiris take an unfortunate, and disappointing, metalcore turn with their follow up. Though more anthemic, Tomorrow We Die Alive also is more pedestrian and feels kinda lazy, as if the quintet didn’t feel up the challenge of Discovery or its predecessor A Higher Place and decided to take the easy way out.
The dynamism and interplay that were a hallmark of This Discovery are noticeable in their absence on Alive, which instead is rife with thick, turgid and repetitive gut-punch riffing, shuddering tempos and electronic forays that all blend together over the course of the entire album. The acrimonious split with second guitarist Jason Richardson certainly hurts here, because with no one to fill the void Lee McKinney is left to his own devices and demonstrates little flash or flavor, preferring to churn and burn instead.
The bad cop, umm, less bad cop vocal tradeoffs of Ronnie Canizaro (the predominant low-end hollering) and keyboardist Joe Buras (the intrusive higher-pitch screaming) also don't deliver much in the way of variation, attacking from the same front and with the same relative timbre throughout. They were certainly a less annoying tag-team in the past, especially on the far less shrill Discovery, but here, especially with Buras’ grating emo shrieks, they sound frustratingly like just about every other “core” tandem.
Where BOO really seemed to distinguish themselves with A Higher Place and, especially, This Discovery, they slink back to the ranks of the ordinary with Tomorrow. And while this ultimately may garner them higher chart positions when the “core” kids get their mitts on it, anyone who dug the previous albums for what artistry and integrity they presented are gonna feel mighty disappointed, if not betrayed. I know I did.