Published Oct 23, 2015Born of Osiris' 2011 full-length The Discovery is often pegged as the high water mark of the American deathcore outfit's career, a work that reached outside the predictable nature of the subgenre, to great success. Since the departure of guitarist Jason Richardson, whose playing made that record a career highlight, the band have been looking for a new source of virtuosity.
Soul Sphere is a few steps closer in that pursuit than 2013's divisive Tomorrow We Die ∆live ever was, but the prospects didn't look great after "Throw Me in the Jungle" was released as the first single, with the duelling harsh and clean vocals of the chorus section falling flat. While no other track on the record is quite as poor, the call-and-response of harsh to clean vocals leaves much to be desired when coupled with below-average lyricism, as demonstrated on the back half of "Free Fall" and the chorus of "Illuminate."
Without Richardson's skilled lead playing, the keyboards and synths of Joe Buras have once again moved in to pick up the slack in areas where Lee McKinney's guitars are content to merely chug away on singular notes. A lot of the time, Buras' parts are passable — save for the ill-advised EDM influence at the forefront of "The Louder the Sound, the More We All Believe" and the outro of "The Composer" — but they do little to regain the band's once-impressive progressive stature. Coupling McKinney's decidedly more bludgeoning riffs with explosive chorus sections and jarring electronics will be enough to appease some fans, but the rest may be wondering when the band will break free from their increasingly complacent routines. (Sumerian)