Summer is fast approaching—for those who have four seasons, anyway. That means all of the deathcore in the whole world is about to flood the markets and beat down the public just as the blazing Southern sun beats down pasty nerds such as I. English quintet Osiah opted to join the front lines of that inevitable invasion of breakdowns and br00tality with their sophomore album, Kingdom of Lies. This will also be their first outing signed onto Unique Leader. Most of you could guess what to expect from that fact alone, but let’s break it down anyway, shall we?
Osiah base their particular brand of deathcore on a—ahem—core of downtempo beatdowns and technical tremolo picking, bolstered by atmospheric background effects and a wide array of vocal expulsions. Breakdowns (which are totally different than beatdowns, by the way) litter every remaining square millimeter of space on Kingdom of Lies. Stylistically, Osiah‘s music draws little from the djent gene pool, instead siphoning tropes from the likes of A New Era of Corruption-era Whitechapel (which is, admittedly, slightly djent-y) and more brutal bands such as Dyscarnate or Ingested. Osiah are also not here to change the game in deathcore, preferring to exact as much destruction as inhumanly possible with already established methodologies.
The first thing I noticed about Kingdom of Lies is that vocalist and founding member Ricky Lee Roper is a demon on the mic. Issuing forth rafter-rattling shrieks alongside potent growls and smile-inducing squeals right from the onset of opener “Return to the Old World” to the very last second of closer “The Eastern Star (Convolvus)” Ricky makes a fine frontman despite adopting a generic tone. After that the most obvious defining quality of this record is that the songwriting quality is scattershot. On the aptly named “Ascension,” Chris Keepin and Rownan Tennet dispense far more interesting, fun and cohesive riffs than they do on “The March.” The breakdowns are more fervent and impactful on tracks like “Hellborn” and “Reflections of a Monster” than they are on “Awakening” or “The Eastern Star (Convolvulus),” while Robbie Dinnen feels more energetic behind the kit on “Red Hue upon a Lunar Equinox”1 than on “The Western Star.” Therefore, I have a metric shit ton of fun demolishing my spine one moment but the next moment doesn’t guarantee me the same opportunity, making for an awkward listening experience.
Regardless of the song quality, there is nothing remarkable or unpredictable about Kingdom of Lies. You turn it on, get pummeled for forty minutes and move on. Nothing sticks. The slams on “Abbatoir” get lost in my brain amongst hordes of superior examples by better crews. “Telluric Necromancy” in its entirety passed by without so much as a wink of recognition from me; I missed it every single time I spun the thing. Additionally, and in stereotypical deathcore fashion, I can’t always tell if Andy Mallaby’s bass is responsible for that crunchy heft I hear or it it’s a case of Fat Tone Syndrome. His work is definitely present, as there are occasional breaks in the onslaught for him to noodle for a second, but often I find myself questioning its impact thanks to a fairly compressed and loud mix.
In all fairness, this is a decent modern deathcore record. Sure, it’s a breakdown-fest, but those are fun every now and then and you can do far worse than Kingdom of Lies. I can’t rightfully ignore the spotty songwriting, and I would be remiss not to lament the buried bass, but from a casual listener’s perspective this should suffice. In short, if you’re a fan of the style, you should find plenty to like about Osiah. If not, you can probably go on your merry way.