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Unique Leader
rating icon 8.5 / 10
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01. Realm of Misery
02. The Second Law
03. Paracusia
04. Queen of Sorrow
05. Temporal Punishment
06. Loss (feat. Jason Evans)
07. Terracide Compulsion
08. The Eye of the Swarm (feat. Ben Duerr)
09. War Within Our Walls
10. The Ominous Mind (Jaded Inside)
11. Celer et Audax
12. Echoes
13. Already Lived

If you're looking for something to drown out this year's half-arsed nu-metal revival, deathcore seems an appropriate choice. Much maligned in certain quarters upon its emergence, it has proved itself to be an enduring phenomenon, and there are currently a ludicrous number of great bands operating within its surprisingly pliant parameters. If you like well-produced, brutal metal, you're probably a devotee already, in which case OSIAH's third full-length album should rise immediately to the top of your most-wanted list.

There's no other way to put it: "Loss" is seriously fucking heavy, both in terms of its crushing, state-of-the-art production and in the deeply gnarly and disquieting riffs that provide this British band's destructive framework. Deathcore doesn't always evoke a sense of looming horror, but OSIAH are plainly well-schooled in the grand, the gothic and the grim. The result is songs that salute a well-worn formula while dragging it ever deeper into, let's say, oblivion's slavering maw. It's also significant that OSIAH have long since jettisoned any deathcore cliches from their sound. Songs like "Paracusia" and "Echoes" boast more than a little old-school death metal in their DNA, both in structure and in riffing style, while their inevitable, lobotomized breakdowns are several times more twisted and inventive than the subgenre standard.

As with OSIAH's last album, 2019's "Kingdom Of Lies", "Loss" comes across as a refined body of work by masters of their craft, rather than just another batch of box-ticking songs to help sell some gawdy merch. The best songs here are indecently thrilling: "Temporal Punishment" is a four-minute avalanche of great riffs and unanswerable violence; "The Eye of the Swarm" (featuring SHADOW OF INTENT's Ben Duerr) is a monstrous, multi-riff beat-'em-up with bursts of debilitating, downtempo slurry; the closing "Already Lived" showcases frontman Ricky Lee Roper's monumental gutturals over rolling waves of sinewy, modern death. Best of all, INGESTED vocalist Jason Evans conspires with Roper on the title track's barrage of cutting edge 'core precision, thuggish grooves and profoundly warped, blackened detours.

Like any genre, deathcore has plenty of charlatans cluttering up the marketplace. But it's easy to spot the superior article. OSIAH are rattling forward along their chosen path and making the vast majority of the competition look a bit silly in the process. This is a serious album by serious contenders, and it's heavy enough to squash a Labrador.