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Friday 2 July 2021

Reviews: Born Of Osiris, Sun Crow, Unmother, Jake Wallace (Reviews By Matt Bladen)

Born Of Osiris - Angel Or Alien (Sumerian Records)

No this is definitely a Born Of Osiris record not the new project from everyone's favourite UFO obsessive Tom Delonge. Angel Or Alien is the sixth full length from Illinois progressive metal(core) act Born Of Osiris who have managed to ride the stormy seas of the djent tag well, constantly delivering impressive records, full of technical ferocity but also melodic fluidity they balance both well filling their music with colossal breakdowns, virtuoso riffage and of course guttural vocals. Their previous record in 2019 The Simulation Theory I had issues with the co-vocals of Ronnie Canizaro and Joe Buras, Buras' especially annoying, he is a key member of the band however due to his wild  keyboards and synthesizers separating Born Of Osiris from the progressive metalcore pack. 

The record clocks in at a mighty 55 minutes across 14 tracks and frankly that is enough, the relentless onslaught of this band's music, makes it difficult to ever get into a groove of concentration. I will say they have added a few strings to their bow with additions of sax and twitching electronics, but mostly it's Born Of Osiris doing what they've done, progressive metalcore with lots of technique. Fans will lap it up and musically I do too, I just still think the dual vocalist thing isn't needed and 14 tracks is probably too many. 6/10

Sun Crow - Quest For Oblivion (Ripple Music)

There's always something a little downbeat about music from Seattle, Washington. The city was the birthplace grunge with Alice In Chains and Soundgarden both hailing from Seattle (while Nirvana came from the Aberdeen in Washington State). This downcast state of mind may come from the fact that Seattle has one of the highest amount of rainfall and snow in America. Although at the moment the state is in a deadly heatwave so that moisture must be sorely missed. Still I digress, but Sun Crow's debut album certainly has a downtuned, cynical sound to it, beneath the layers of mind-expanding psych heavy. 

Taking more from Soundgarden than AIC, this Seattle troupes' debut was initially released in 2020 through bandcamp but has now been snapped up by Ripple Music, meaning that many more will be able to hear this slice of molten rock forged in the fires of the grimy city. Charles Wilson is the vocalist on this record (since been replaced by Todd Lucas) but as with most bands of this style the voice is usually layered with reverb and delivers shamanic enchantments over a thundering, often serpentine rhythm section of Keith Hastreiter (drums) and Brian Steel (bass) with the slithering Fell Across The Sky part Monster Magnet, part Black Sabbath, though Hypersonic is the most Sabbath song here. 

They give Nothing Behind some punk rock riffage where Ben Nechanicky gets a chance to unleash some wild primal guitar playing. Musically I heard a lot of Wales own Lacertilia in Sun Crow as well as some early Soundgarden (pre-Badmotorfinger) with a lot of the songs filled with reckless abandon. They may come from a city that creates music on a downer but the filth and fury of it's live scene has made Sun Crow a take no shit psych/stoner rock hybrid, a great acquisition for Ripple Music. 8/10

Unmother - Lay Down The Sun (Self Released)

Sprung upon me through the wonder of the internet, Lay Down The Sun is the debut album from mysterious black metal collective Unmother based in London. Unmother's members all perform under pseudonyms sound engineer Azoso provides the guitar and vocals, multi-instrumentalist Declwa plays guitar and bass and Venla is the lead vocalist. The drums were recorded by Krzysztof Klingbein. All have plenty of experience in other bands (and genres) which they bring to this record, making for an experimental feel rather than traditional black metal, it means that influence wise I can hear touches of Anaal Nathrakh, when they veer into crushing industrial, some Akercocke when the record really gets nasty and also the groove and uncompromising attitude of the Hellenic black metal scene. 

The band are firmly against any racist or fascist ideologies and this is reflected in the concepts dealt with by their music, the overall theme being the dystopia we find ourselves in at the moment. Because of this the record sounds very dissonant, the production is claustrophobic with the riffs encroaching on your psyche and the squawked vocals of Declwa, filtered through an echo as Azoso come in with some spectral wails. This is all just on the blistering first track Corridor Of Marrow, we get a bit more 'traditional' with Empress but this too has, weird shifts into synths and 'otherworldly'. 

The drumming and guitar work is very good throughout the record, the experimental sound to lends itself to songs such as the the title track however the vocals may just be a a little too atonal for some. They even throw in a cover of Blow The House Down originally by Siouxsie & the Banshees to really mess with your mind even further. Lay Down The Sun is a musical trip trough a fractured collective mindset, pushed to the edge by an oppressive world. 7/10 

Jake Wallace - Lacuna (Black Tragick Records)

If you're aware of Belfast native Jake Wallace, you'll know he's the lead riff purveyor of occult doom metal band Elder Druid. However outside of his doom metal mire, Jake also dabbles with acoustic and electronic music, so with a lot of free time due to lockdown, he set about rediscovering the side of his musical output that lay dormant since 2011. Lacuna is the five track EP that has come out of these sessions, Wallace writing all of the music and playing acoustic guitar, piano, bass and synthesiser as Daniel Zanker Ovalle mixed and mastered the record. 

The idea behind this EP is one of ambiance and feel, creating soundscapes that have a stripped back musical style but a huge amount of depth. Starting off with the desolate, post-apocalyptic Western-vibe of Elysian the following two tracks Berceuse and the title track are more akin to a film soundtrack, the orchestrated synths met with beautiful piano on both, reminding me of Ang Lee scores while Empyrean and Yatra bring back the emotive acoustic guitar. No doom riffs but folksy explorations, and another side to this talented musician. 7/10 

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