Osiris is a quaint five piece hailing from here in Salt Lake City if I'm not mistaken, and has released the 9 tracker called Nefarious Realm. Some of the performers have been in the local circuit for quite some time, and is lead by guitarist Nate Lambros. Also in the line-up is Buddy Morgan (Vocals, Keyboards), Tony Kohler (lead guitars), Zack Houskeeper (bass) and Wesly Peirce on drums.
I have to say that I was fairly impressed with the small clip I had heard on their website many months ago, and even saw them live shortly after. I was looking forward to getting a hard copy of the album, and it took a while to get a copy of it (thanks Nate!), but alas it arrived, and I'm finally getting to it!
After giving Nefarious Realm a few good spins, I was able to make some fairly easy assessments about the material. For one, the song writing is definitely above average, and as a whole, is really, really catchy on some of the tracks. However, the production is a bit weak, with the bass guitar pretty much buried, or at least unnoticeable possibly due to Zack's particular tone. The drums are also a bit low in the mix as well, and sound like they are in the back ground, rather than up front with the rest of the instruments. The instrumentation itself can be a bit jumbled on the rhythms at some points too, with some noticeable tempo fluxuations. Also, Wesly seems to stick to playing a lot of quarter notes on his hi-hat all the way through certain songs, when it would actually be more beneficial to the song if he was alternating a bit more between the ride and hi-hat, and even playing in half time to the rhythm guitars, rather than following them with the hit-hat a majority of the time. Some solid, basic, half time attacks would have really made the songs stand out that much more when it come to certain drum parts. Buddy's vocal tracks, when doubled, can almost clash at times because the tracks were not recorded in synch/time with each other when laid down on tape, and can even sometimes sound strained, as if having difficulty reaching certain notes, but they are very sparse and are few and far between on the album.
One other thing that I noticed and liked is the feel of the music, which is very laid back with a very somber and emotional tone, but still has plenty of punch and feel. There are a large mix of bands that come to mind when listening to this, such as Blue Oyster Cult and the Moody Blues, but also early neo-progressive rock artists such as Marillion, IQ and Eloy. Personally, I love that combination! Some of the songs that carry this album's weight really well are Time Stands Still, with its analog keyboard melodies (I LOVE analog keys!) and steady, subtle chord progressions of the guitar. Buddy's vocal harmonies at the end of the song are even reminiscent of Mike Patton (Faith No More, Mr. Bungle) on the Real Thing, with the softness and flow. This song, even though it's short, is my absolute favorite on Nefarious Realm, and with a good budgeted production, would be a potential radio hit in my opinion. It's that catchy! Then, there is the chunky, metal-tinged tracks Pleasure & Pain and Discretion, which has some real aggression in the guitars, but still stays under control, allowing the songs to unfold with more ambiance. The vocal harmonies on Probably are definitely Buddy's best on the album with some killer hooks, and are absolutely top notch.
To sum this one up, it's an above average release, and is well worth checking out. I'm actually quite impressed and really like what's going on here! Production aside, I can hear a fair amount of potential coming out the songs on this album, and with a little elbow grease and the tightening up of a few loose bolts, these guys could really do something amazing on the next round. For one, if they add more of the analog keyboard leads in a few more songs, work out some of the shaky vocal lines, and orchestrate the drums a bit more, I could easily see a few minor labels being interested, since the songs writing is their strongest point already. I'm definitely looking forward to hearing more in the future!
For more information on Osiris
Â© 2004 Dustin Mitchell, UtahMetal.com
Osiris images Â© 2004 Osiris
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2. Enter the Realm
3. Time Stands Still
4. Pleasure and Pain
5. My Design
8. And Now
9. Dying to Live