Sunderland deathcore fiends, Osiah, are the most fearsome band in England. Anybody who heard 2019’s Kingdom of Lies will appreciate their ability to combine slam and brutal death metal (BDM) into a melting pot that gets nastier with time. Now ripping through their third album with a new drummer and bassist, the northerners carry the weight of expectation for the new generation of UK extreme metal bands. But can they live up to the pressure?
As you’d expect, they come racing out of the blocks like dope fiends shooting up a rival gang with no concern for how many innocent bystanders perish in the ensuing carnage. ‘The Second Law’ will shake you like a hairdryer to the face in the way they use blast beats and granite-plated riffs to back up Ricky Lee Roper’s mighty insistence that “I will not die on my knees!” The guitar patterns often venture into the type of chugging triplet attacks synonymous with deathcore, but ‘Paracusia’ is more like Prong’s Cleansing record fed through a blender with Brand of Sacrifice. It also reminds you that Fear Factory were the originators of this ultra-precise combination of fast chugs and drum triggers with Demanufacture. Nevertheless, the grinding breakdown at the end is worthy of Carnifex’s ‘World War X’ anthem from 2019.
The relentless will to bludgeon is the one thing that defines this album, which is a positive and a negative. ‘Queen of Sorrow’ is a reminder that Osiah are a death metal band at heart, with their 250bpm blast beats powering through your stereo speakers like a shockwave. The neo-classical shred riffs on ‘Terracide Compulsion’ are a triumph of rhythm and intensity, just as the inventive chord shapes used in the verses of ‘The Eye of the Swarm’ will raise your eyes with their dissonant bite and guest vocals from Shadow of Intent’s Ben Duerr. New drummer, Noah Plant, sounds like he’s been playing with guitarists, Andy Mallaby and Chris Keepin, for the last decade. You won’t find a tighter extreme metal band in Britain besides Ingested. Indeed, Jason Evans of the Mancunian metal heroes also provides guest vocals, this time on the title track. “You take it for granted, the will to survive,” scream he and Roper in the chorus. This is heavy shit!
Only one thing spoils the listening experience on Loss – the length of the album. Few deathcore/BDM records can hold your attention beyond thirty minutes, and Osiah are no exception. Thirteen tracks of double-kick drums, guitar chugs, hysterical screams and guttural malevolence are perfect for an EP or short album, but forty-eight minutes of this violent assault become tedious. This is a shame because ‘Celer Et Audax’ is a beast of a song near the end, like The Acacia Strain at their heaviest. Unfortunately, the endurance needed to make it this far becomes harder with each repeat listen. The band should have saved the last three songs for a future EP release. Even current single, ‘The Ominous Mind (Jaded Inside)’ leaves you… uh, jaded, by the time you get to track ten. Osiah needed their mixer and masterer, Christian Donaldson of Cryptopsy, or somebody at Unique Leader Records, to advise them to hold back some of the tracks for the next record. Maybe next time they will be more economical.
As a contribution to the deathcore/slam scene, Osiah will win plenty of new fans. They crush you into submission and demonstrate a high level of technical ability. Seldom do they degenerate into a formulaic caricature of the worse aspects of BDM, but even they cannot reach the heights their talent demands on this record. Loss is good, but it could have been better at a shorter running time.
Release Date: 07/05/2021
Record Label: Unique Leader Records
Standout tracks: The Second Law, Terracide Compulsion, Celer Et Audax
Suggested Further Listening: Brand of Sacrifice – Lifeblood (2021), Ingested – Where Only Gods May Tread (2020), Bonecarver – Evil (2021)