Osyron – Kingsbane Deluxe Edition (Remixed/Remastered)
Release Date: 14/05/2021
Running Time: 72:00
Review by Beth Jones
2020 was one hell of a year, right? But amongst the horror of the global pandemic, some superb things happened. One of these was my discovery of a Prog/Power/Symphonic Metal band from Calgary, Canada, by the name of Osyron. Their “Foundations” album blew me away and was one of my favourite records of that unforgettable year. So, when “Kingsbane”, their new release, landed with us, I was all over it. Now, I say new, but this is actually a remastered and remixed ‘Deluxe Edition’ of their 2017 sophomore album (original recordings were with former drummer Trevor Cobb) and three bonus tracks to add to the original release.
Their music is driven by themes of war, revolution, and patriotism, but not so much in the sense of shiny patriotic heroes, more from the melancholic view of the destruction and horror that these acts invariably bring. This theme was explored brilliantly in the lyrics of “Foundations”, as it is here on this release. But, essentially listening to their journey, as a band, out of order as I am now, it’s interesting to see where their sound started, and how it progressed to the release of “Foundations”.
For me, “Kingsbane” is slightly rawer and more chaotic, which almost makes it feel heavier than “Foundations”. It’s full of thrash rhythms, and crunching riffs, that were still present on their later release, but were more delicately approached. That’s not a bad thing at all, because it shows a progression and honing of their skills, which is commendable. The sound here is still immense and powerful, and the running constant is definitely the Prog elements, which make their sound exciting and unexpected.
Every track on this record is of epic proportion, each having anthemic orchestration, scale, and catchiness, that really draw you into the passion and feeling. Reed Alton’s storytelling is superb throughout, with crisp, clean vocals that capture the essence of the themes. Tonally, he reminds me a little of Opeth’s Mikael Åkerfeldt (‘Burden’ is a track that springs to mind), and, in certain places, Bruce Dickinson. The strong vocals are backed up by the superb musicianship of the rest of the band. The technical prowess, togetherness, and feeling that they deliver as a group is extremely impressive. If you like guitar solos, there’s an abundance of them, too!
They’re also very clever at using rhythms, and particular drumbeats, to emulate the sounds of battlefields. It’s not necessarily obvious at first, but if you listen carefully, you’ll hear it. Check out 10 seconds in to ‘Kingmaker’ in particular, and you’ll see what I mean. This, incidentally, is a stunning track. It’s a little over 10 minutes in length, mostly instrumental, and what would have been the end of the album on it’s original release. What a way to finish an album is all I can say! It’s electrically exciting and ticks all the boxes. Guitar solos – yup, bags of them. Strong rhythms and melodies – you bet. Pace, power, and ferocity – hell yes. Peaks and troughs – all managed perfectly. Emotion – flooded with it! Also, tuba!
A brief word about the bonus tracks, in particular the acoustic rework of ‘Razor’s Wind’. I’m a big old sucker for acoustic anyway, having spent a good while in a folk band. And I actually prefer this acoustic version, because, while the original does start off with similar acoustic sounds, I think the fully acoustic version makes for a more mysterious listen.
All in all, yet another brilliant record from this thrilling band. I’m excited to keep following their progression, to see where they go next.
‘Viper Queen’ (Official Video)
01. From Ashes
02. To War
03. Razor’s Wind
04. Viper Queen
07. Empire Of Dust
09. Razor’s Wind (Acoustic) (Bonus Track)
10. Griefmaker (Re-recorded) (Bonus Track)
11. Viper Queen (Re-recorded) (Bonus Track)
Reed Alton – Vocals
Krzysztof Stalmach – Guitar
Bobby Harley – Guitar
Tyler Corbett – Bass
Cody Anstey – Drums
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