Since 2009, when A Higher Place was released, Born of Osiris has been able to release a new album every two years. Soul Sphere will be their newest discharge, and fourth full-length album. I have been a consistent listener of BOO since their EP Rosecrance (2006), so it's been a positive experience to watch their progression as they've found their sound. Not all their albums have been great, as some are without a doubt stronger than others. One observance is certain, though, each album has some fantastic tracks that have an ability to carry their music to the masses.
This five member band from Illinois has had limited lineup changes since their signing to Sumerian Records, which I believe has aided them in gaining the popularity they have achieved. Many individuals label them as deathcore, and this may be due to their multiple performances on different Warped Tours, or the fact that Metal Archives has removed the band from their site. Call it what you want, but to me, they sound fairly metal.
As I do with all the music I reviews, I put in a significant amount of time listening to the album. After 25 plays, I feel I have a good understanding of Soul Sphere. The fact that it took 25 listens is discouraging. The album is not their strongest, and it did require effort to examine and unearth the jewels that lie within. The result is, I'm really split on this album. It's very rewarding at points, and unexpectedly disappointing at others.
The progression from album to album is very clear and well founded. The band knows what they are doing, and has consistently grown between releases. Now that we have arrived at Soul Sphere, the progression has changed. There are segments that are beautifully melodic and excellently incorporate complementing riffs. Some good examples of this are on "Resilience", which has excellent guitar work, and good flow. There are some repeating chorus segments, and they really make it work and it sounds naturally binding and excellent. "River of Time" is one of my favorites. The repetitive chorus is easy to get used to when it's done well, and the melodic lead guitar pulls you through to the end leaving you with a satisfied experience.
The other side of their progression doesn't seem to work so well. After a few listens to the album, it's apparent there's a strong repetitive theme lyrically which turns out to be a more standard form of composition. A chorus-like attribute is in almost every song, and similar to what I mentioned above, sometimes it's executed perfectly and sounds great. The areas where it doesn't work, it fails miserably. Songs like their opening track "Free Fall" just sounds cheesy. Their closing track "Warlords" is also fairly weak. The repetitive chorus is not very creative, and it gets boring pretty quick. "Throw Me In The Jungle" is the worst song on the album, and sounds like a heavy version of Linkin Park. Enough said.
Overall, I was disappointed. There are some excellent well-formulated tracks, and it makes me wonder why the others that fell below par couldn't have been just as good. The band certainly has a direction, and if they continue on this journey of progression, I hope they put in the effort as they did on their superior tracks and make a flawless album. The tracks that did stand out, revived the album, and if you're a fan of BOO, its definitely worth the purchase.