Welcome, ladies and djentlemen (excuse the bad, BAD pun), to the fourteenth episode of A Scene In Retrospect! This time around, our social media manager Valentin (he seems to be in every one of these articles these days, doesn’t he?), our Editor-in-Chief Landon and our staff writers Sam and Michael give their two cents on one of the most important releases of the djent scene to date: The Discovery by Born of Osiris. Enjoy!
2011 was one of the best years for metal albums in recent memory; August Burns Red, The Black Dahlia Murder, Mastodon, Protest the Hero, Suicide Silence, and Vildjharta (just to name a few) all had great releases that year. However, I think the most rewarding takeaway from 2011 was Born of Osiris‘ The Discovery. Already being one of the bands that helped shape modern deathcore and progressive metalcore with The New Reign and A Higher Place, I thought I knew what to expect from their third album. Boy was I wrong.
Undoubtedly the most ambitious record in their discography, The Discovery is more creative and stands alone – as a dividing line – between their first two and most recent two albums. The first noticeable change was the switch to seven-string guitars. Guitarists Lee Mckinney (whose skill increased exponentially from A Higher Place) and Jason Richardson utilize this addition in range perfectly in the songwriting, not bludgeoning the listener with the the low-end just because it is available. In fact, The Discovery is overall the most melodic and mellow album in their discography, and, more so than the previous two albums, achieves the celestial/shamanistic/higher consciousness vibe that BoO strive for.
Song composition is another huge reason that The Discovery stands out from the other four. I loved The New Reign and A Higher Place the moment I heard them, but my main complaint about Born of Osiris was their frenetic and ADD song writing. By the time you could start grooving to an awesome riff (of which there are many), the song would change into a different one. The tracks on The Discovery run a bit longer, and it seems like there was more care and thought put into the songwriting process. Longer sections, more solos and technically proficient leads, as well as more tempo variations – which include an increase in slower interlude type moments – really helped shape this release’s identity as a progressive metalcore entry.
Vocalists Joe Buras and Ronnie Canizaro, drummer Cameron Losch, and bassist David da Rocha always provide a consistent performance for BoO and really never leave me anything to complain about. So really, The Discovery came down to the songwriting, and it is simply better accomplished here than on the rest of the band’s discography. At the moment, The Discovery is BoO‘s magnum opus. That’s not to say they won’t release another album that amazes in the same way at some point in the future; it just hasn’t happened yet. Too bad a working relationship with Jason Richardson could not continue on to future albums, because I have a feeling that his input in the writing process is a huge reason The Discovery became what it is.
I have been writing for It Djents since about the start of 2016, and I have compared numerous artists I have covered since then to Born of Osiris. Although the progressive deathcore unit has a number of impactful albums in their catalog, the influence that I hear most often can be traced to BoO’s third record, 2011’s The Discovery. From the meticulous, fast lead work to the disjointed chugs and sing-along synths, The Discovery wrote the book on modern progressive deathcore, and few edits have been made since.
There are few albums that open stronger than The Discovery does with “Follow the Signs” and “Singularity”. When I first heard this record, it was clear that melody would not just be an afterthought; hooks, accessibility and memorability were presented in equal measure with brutality and technicality. The outro to “Follow the Signs”, with then-new presence on the scene Jason Richardson’s stunning arpeggios, dropped my jaw to the floor and earned more replays than I can remember. Joe Buras’ synths wedged “Singularity” tightly into my ears, while his back and forth with vocalist Ronnie Canizaro made for another interesting dynamic that was fresh at the time.
The dual use of unashamed shredding and accessible melodies made The Discovery unique in its identity, but its pacing was also fresh at the time. Before electronic and atmospheric interludes were de rigueur, tracks like “A Solution” and “The Omniscient” gave an epic, almost video game quality to the album that made its title all the more fitting.
The Discovery completely reshaped the way I viewed death metal and deathcore as a 17 year old, and no track accomplished this reimagining more than “Behold”. Building from “XIV”, neoclassical melodies and unbelievably articulate leads built into a series of grooves and hooks that were a perfect climax to Born of Osiris’ 53-minute journey through sci-fi, spirituality, aggression and groove.
As is obvious, The Discovery made a huge impression on me and many artists that followed after. Though its production and some tracks haven’t necessarily aged too well, with the cutting edge moving further and further away, this record set a bar for the progressive deathcore scene that few have hurdled since.
It goes without saying that past a certain age, every avid music listener will be able to clearly identify a number of records that hold some kind of romantic significance to them, and immediately enable them to re-enter a milieu that they once considered home. For me, Born of Osiris‘ very own masterpiece The Discovery falls neatly into that category. Not only does this record seem to have the uncanny ability to spark a profound sense of personal nostalgia, but more importantly, it prompts memories of my first bona fide exposure to the world of technical metal.
As I’m sure you’re already aware, this record has all the makings of something that will temporarily paralyse the naive mind of a fifteen-year-old kid, and this was my experience exactly. What stunned me at the time was the fact that Jason Richardson & co. had been able to create something that had the uncanny effect of both adhering to topical deathcore trends, and simultaneously creating a dazzlingly outside-the-box display of progression and complexity. Youthful prodigy and lead guitarist at the time, Richardson was certainly at the heart of this, showcasing a level of written and performative competence that was virtually unheard of within the genre at the time, and certainly to my ears. In this regard, the mastery at play on closing track “Behold” is undoubtedly the first to come to mind.
Aside from the somewhat obvious topic of guitars, The Discovery also holds a great deal of significance in terms of its synth and keyboard content. Joe Buras’ influence in this area is truly palpable, with an array of symphonic-esque elements cutting nicely through the mix (in addition to several exclusively synthesized tracks), and serving to add a whole new dimension to the record. Not only is this a feature that notably adds to the credentials of this album, but is perhaps more importantly something that has carried forth in abundance into the modern scene, and inspired countless artists; Betraying The Martyrs, Nexilva, and Shadow Of Intent are all prime examples of this.
Aside from being thoroughly impressive in a musical sense, the primary reason for my revering of The Discovery as being so significant, is its irrefutable ability to stand so tall in a genre that is consistently prone to being bland and derivative. This stand-out quality is certainly what drew my attention so effortlessly back in the spring of 2011, and what’s more is the fact that it is seemingly able to fulfill the same task to this very day. For this reason, I truly believe this album to be a timeless treasure, not only within the realms of deathcore and tech-metal, but in the sphere of heavy music in its broadest sense.
Ever since we started our feature A Scene In Retrospect, I was looking forward to the day when we would be finally covering Born of Osiris’ masterpiece The Discovery. This album holds a very special place in my heart, as it was my first encounter with ‘progressive’ music. It was this specific album that opened my eyes and helped me expand my musical horizons to new styles of metal.
Back in 2011, the release of The Discovery literally felt like a breath of fresh air. While I was mostly listening to the ‘standard metalcore/deathcore starterpack 2010’, featuring bands such as Suicide Silence, August Burns Red, Texas In July […], all the time, Born of Osiris hit me hard with The Discovery. Straight from the beginning, I knew that this album would be an amazing journey; “Follow The Signs” is still one of the best album openers of all time, while the follow-ups “Singularity” and “The Ascension” are the perfect examples for how progressive deathcore should sound like: melodic, technical and energetic as fuck. These three songs alone would already make an amazing EP, but it got even better! “Recreate” is still one of my favourite songs of all time. The melodies keep getting stuck in my head, and the guitar solo (which I still can’t nail after all these years) is just out of this world. I could probably continue to talk about how much I love every single track on this album for hours, but that would go beyond the scope of this article. So let’s sum up my feelings for this record real quick:
The Discovery is one of the best progressive deathcore albums of all time (it would be THE best if The Contortionist’s Exoplanet didn’t exist) and I still find every listening session as exciting as my first one. The energy, the mystic synth-interludes and the outstanding guitar work immediately connected with me back in 2011 and still do so in 2017. With the release of The Discovery, Born of Osiris evolved to the kings of modern progressive deathcore. Unfortunately, they lost some of their magic in the last few years, but that doesn’t make The Discovery any less than one of best metal albums of the last ten years.
And that’s it for yet another installment of our A Scene In Retrospect feature! What do you think of this album? Is there a particular record you’d like to see covered this way? Let us know in the comments! See you in fourteen days with a brand-new classic review in tow. Until then, stay safe, and as always…
…thanks for reading!