Osyron – Foundations
Release Date: 10/07/2020
Running Time: 28:41
Review by Beth Jones
After a pretty productive bank holiday weekend, Rick decided to hit me up with something new that he thought I would like, as part of my quest to write more reviews. The first of these is our subject here, Canadian Symphonic Metal band, Osyron. Based in Calgary, Alberta, the group see themselves as ‘bridging the gap between traditional European metal and the music of their homegrown contemporaries’.
Starting out in Ontario, they originally went by the name Morbid Theory, releasing two demos (Chaos Breed in 2006 and Harbinger in 2010). The band saw some changes in line-up, scenery, and identity, and, after moving to Alberta in 2012, Osyron was born.
Their upcoming release, “Foundations”, although only 5 tracks in duration, is just about scraping album length, owing to the progressive nature of their compositions and the story that it takes you through. It is a view on Canadian history, spanning topics from the country’s colonization, to the mistreatment and recognition of indigenous tribes, and the country’s participation in global warfare. This hard hitting and melancholy theme is stark from the off.
Starting with dark symphonic chords and the pounding of drums, Osyron take us through colonisation in the first track ‘The Cross’. It’s pounding beats and droning root chords suggest the regimented power of an oppressor, and the helplessness of the indigenous people; ‘They would learn to live like us, Or they would learn to die by the cross.’
The second track ‘Ignite’, tells the story of Canada’s roll in WWI, explored from a Canadian and UK perspective. Again, lyrically, it’s hard hitting. Musically it explores differentiation in rhythm, emulating the chaotic nature of battle, as well as pulsing beats and chanting war cries that suggest the regimented and indoctrinated nature of war. The use of drums here also cleverly suggests the sounds of a battlefield.
A contrast in pace and instrumentation to the first two tracks, ‘Battle of The Thames’, starts acoustically, with just voice and guitar, at a much slower pace, but in keeping with the melancholy that drifts beautifully throughout this record. It has almost a folk, lilting feel, and would not be out of place performed atop a craggy cliff on a Celtic shoreline. Halfway through, we are treated to a far away guitar solo, which almost sounds like a distant violin, adding more to the feeling of a ‘folk’ route. I may be wrong, but I think I can hear a mandolin in there too at some points. This track gathers layered momentum as it progresses, and reaches a climax with an excellent guitar solo, pulling things back from folk, to symphonic metal.
The penultimate track, ‘The Ones Below’, marks a sudden change in pace, starting with a fully loaded groove riff, the sort you would expect from a well-oiled groove metal band. However, this is intertwined with the ethereal sounds of strings. The reason for the more upbeat nature of this track – it is a celebration of the generations past and how their sacrifice is now being recognised. The raising of a glass to the ones below ‘We drink not in our sorrow… For our sisters and brothers’.
However, you still feel that this isn’t enough… That more can be done… A theme that is explored in the final, and title track, on this record. An epic composition and by far my favourite, it’s musically full, symphonic, and heavy in its minor key. For me, lyrically it is the most tortured track on the album. The chorus lines ‘Wild lies, of white crimes, I, can no longer bear…And hear them cry, throughout the night, Why? Have our wrongs taken their rights?’ are very stark, powerful, and thought provoking. And the change up in rhythm towards the end spark thoughts of final painful realisation and desperation to put right wrongs. Very deep and pretty moving.
Musically, this record is symphonic and proggy in all the right places, and if you like bands such as Nightwish, Symphony X, Dream Theater, Kamelot, and Wintersun, you’re going to like this. But in my opinion, the ace card here is the lyrics, and the way that every member of the band has explored and interpreted the subject matter. They all had a hand in writing the tracks, for the first time in their history, and I think that it has really worked very well. I might not have known Osyron before hearing this record, but I definitely intend to get to know them more now.
1. The Cross
3. Battle of The Thames
4. The Ones Below
Krzysztof Stalmach (Guitar)
Cody Anstey (Drums)
Bobby Harley (Guitar)
Tyler Corbett (Bass)
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