When Born of Osiris released The Discovery in 2011, I was pleasantly surprised. It showed me a more mature band, one that could deliver an incredible album, as each track showed something new and great and had me listening over and over again. That being said, Tomorrow We Die Alive, their latest album, is disappointing. It never reaches the lofty heights of its predecessor, and while it’s in no way a terrible album, I know that the band can do better than this.
The album begins with “Machine,” which sets the tone for pretty much the entire journey. It’s a good opener that showcases both vocalists at their best, with biting guitars and a catchy keyboard. But that’s just it – the track is only good. It’s not better than many tracks from their previous albums, and the entire album follows suit. Thankfully, keyboardist/vocalist Joe Buras is there to keep the keyboard fresh throughout most of the album, which to me is one of the few highlights. “Divergency” follows the opener and spares no time getting into the nitty-gritty breakdowns and unstoppable screams, vocalist Ronnie Canizaro shrieking, “Tomorrow we die alive/ So our feet hit the ground tonight!” Unfortunately, the track is almost ruined with an unnecessary dub-step outro that just doesn’t feel right.
Thankfully, more than just the two opening tracks are worth listening to. “Illusionist” is the closest a TWDA track comes to competing with any of BOO’s work off of The Discovery, and that’s a very good thing. Buras haunts the entire song with his hypnotic keyboard, and the bass pedal seems never-ending. The entire song flows from beginning to end, and one has to wonder why they couldn’t have made the entire album sound like this. Other worthy tracks are “Imaginary Condition” and album closer “Vengeance.” Both feature some of the best guitar work on the album, with “Vengeance” picking up where “Machine” left off on the orchestra introduction. “Imaginary Condition” shows off the alternating vocals between Canizaro and Buras more than most of the other tracks, and only sounds better because of it.
But not everything on this album is worth your listen. The most obvious offenders come in the third and fourth tracks, “Mindful” and “Exhilarate,” respectively. Both tracks begin with melodic synths and instantly dive head first into heavy riffs and impromptu screaming from Canizaro. The two tracks sound literally the same, and are utterly forgettable sans the clean vocals from Buras in “Exhilarate.” Tracks blending into one another is the biggest problem with Tomorrow We Die Alive, with many of the songs not being able to stand on their own. On The Discovery, there was loads and loads of variety, something new and innovative in each track that made it special. With Tomorrow We Die Alive, we get a mashed up amalgam of technical deathcore that doesn’t break any new ground like its predecessor.
What made Born of Osiris such an interesting and listenable band is that they were always pushing for something new, something that we had never heard before. Each of their previous albums had something special, but not Tomorrow We Die Alive. BOO’s third effort suffers from a bad case of being generic, and while my hopes for it were sky-high, the album has mostly disappointed. Not every track is like this, but the mediocre certainly outweighs the awesome. I wanted to love this album, but it stumbles too many times to regain the grace that The Discovery held. Maybe BOO will step up their game again in the future, but for now, Tomorrow We Die Alive is all they have to offer.