Born of Osiris' Tomorrow We Die Alive was going to be a difficult album to write coming off the heels of their extremely well-received 2011 record The Discovery. Difficult to the point that no matter what the band did, the album was almost certainly doomed to be slagged in reviews across the board… because of its predecessor and the pre-conceived notions of what the album should have been. Throw in the fact that the band greatly expounded upon elements of their music present since their 2007 debut The New Reign with the new stuff, and it's the perfect storm of Internet hatred. Doesn't make much sense, does it? Tomorrow We Die Alive is the logical follow-up to The Discovery that simply makes a (pretty hefty) jump in overall sound while maintaining the core of Born of Osiris' established sound.
Let's get it out of the way nice and quick; Tomorrow We Die Alive relies more heavily on keyboard riffing than any other Born of Osiris record has before and it works in the context provided. Songs like "Machine," "Mindful" and "Imaginary Condition," for example, utilize the aforementioned quite a bit… but does it cut down on the presence of the band? Not particularly. Where the main complaint against the record has been the oversimplified chugging and constant rhythmic patterns (because I've done my homework on the reception of the record), it works in the context of the record; why lay down complicated guitars and muddy up the keyboard leads? Or even the reverse of that situation? The name of the game played on Tomorrow We Die Alive is context through and through when it comes to composition.
Just like everything Born of Osiris has ever done, and to draw a comparison between records for argument's sake, each song will leave you with at least a little piece of it stuck in your head. Hitting shuffle on your playlist and having any of the songs come up from the album, it's easy to name which is which. "Illusionist" has a distinct backward snare hit followed up by some extremely melodic guitars and a breathy synthesizer; "The Origin" mimics the common roomy orchestra-choir heard on most of their albums with an ending reminiscent, but far more complex, of the sole introductory synth; "Vengeance" is stuffed to the brim with some impressive, sweeping guitar work that gives way to a trumpet-and-bass breakdown. Regardless of the song, you're going to come away from the record with at least something stuck in your head.
So let's take a quick inventory of the information we've been presented with here: solid musicianship, writing that thinks outside the box and refuses to repeat old material, hooks in every song, capable vocalists with lyrics of the same caliber as their instrumental counterparts… where does this record go wrong? Because it utilizes a simpler approach? Disliking the record based on what preceded it is simply insane. Tomorrow We Die Alive isn't the regurgitation-of-old-material-packaged-and-wrapped album that fans might have been expecting. Instead, Tomorrow We Die Alive is a heavy, catchy record that's rooted in electronica just as much as it is in the modern metal scene, and executed very well.