Reviewed: [February, 2019]
Released: [2019, Sumerian Records]
Reviewer: Peter Atkinson
The Simulation is apparently the first part of a two-album set from Born Of Osiris (BOO), not unlike what their label mates Between The Buried And Me (BTBAM) have done not once, but twice – with last year’s Automata I and II and in 2011/2012 with The Parallax I and II. And as such, it makes for an intriguing introduction for something that will perhaps – and hopefully – be played out in greater depth and detail on part two, a la The Parallax.
The set up would seem to be about the same. The Parallax kicked off with a three-track, 30-minute EP and was followed by a 72-minute finale 18 months later. The Simulation, with seven full songs and a segue, clocks in at an efficient 26 minutes, as it steers clear of BTBAM’s progressive indulgences and epic song lengths. But BOO still cram quite a bit into those 26 minutes, shifting between metal/deathcore, djent, tech death and black metal – all played against the symphonic/electronic drapery of Joe Buras’ ample synths – backing The Simulation’s theme of technological addiction and the ever-thinner line between actual and virtual reality.
The keyboards are especially pronounced as The Simulation opens, with Buras pushing beyond the usual chirps, bleeps and swells to ride right along with, if not overtake, the surging riffs of guitarist Lee McKinney on the muscular “The Accursed” and “Cycles Of Tragedy” or the black metal sprints of “Disconnectome.” There’s a bit of old school Nocturnus or Dimmu Borgir in this approach, and in the case of “Accursed” and “Cycles” it helps elevate rather ordinary deathcore to something more substantial and satisfying. For the more melodic “Under The Gun,” it accentuates the grandiosity and catchiness.
With the short ambient segue “Recursion” after the midway point, however, Buras takes a backseat and yields to McKinney and the rhythm section of Nick Rossi and Cameron Losch on the far-more technically inclined “Analogs In a Cell” and “Silence The Echo.” This is where the band really get their djent on, as McKinney unleashes his flighty finger work over a shuddering, stutter-step bottom end.
Yet just when it seems like The Simulation is set to go out with on an especially turbulent, bombastic note, Buras muscles his way back in for the more progressive-minded finale “One Without The Other.” Here again, BOO echo BTBAM on the song’s constant motion, abrupt swings of mood and majestic, even epic scale – though in a much more concise 3:52. And if this is where things are headed on part two, all the better.