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(22 Reviews)

Metal Album Reviews[RSS]

  • Finally, an Origin album where we can hear Mike Flores for–get this–a full 10 seconds! Seriously, that dude is a beast, and it would be nice if they could achieve more separation between the guitars and bass so that we can hear what Mike’s doing beyond a few split-second solos. Anyways, awesome to see Turner back in the band. He has a more dissonant style than Ryan, and it’s nice to have that contrast. Can’t wait to see these dudes live next month.

    Posted on March 1, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • …just give this a listen. If you’re one of those people who think metal is nothing but a bunch of hairy guys wailing away on their instruments, this album will change your mind.

    I’m not normally into this kind of technical death metal. There comes a time when the band just starts to focus too much on speed and not enough on originality or soul (I’m looking at you, Braindrill). But Origin are a band who seem to know where to draw the line.

    There’s all kinds of crazy time shifts and ridiculously fast playing all around (even from the bassist!). But there’s also a surprising amount of melody in these songs, which helps the listener to distinguish one from another. The biggest complaint most people have with death metal is how monotonous it is. This is something Origin seem to have worked on, because every song sounds like them, but they don’t all sound exactly the same. There’s not any Between the Buried and Me-esque experimentation, it’s just precise and speedy playing. I think it’s also worth noting that the production is pretty much perfect for this kind of music. The vocals are back far enough in the mix so that they don’t dominate the songs, and every instrument is audible and balanced.

    If you don’t like tech-death, you might be a little wary. But otherwise, this is some quality music.

    Posted on March 1, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • I had heard of Origin for years as a fan of progressive and death metal music, but haven’t heard any of their back catalog…so this was my first exposure to Origin. I must say, I am extremely impressed, as well as baffled. How do these guys actually play music this intense, fast, and technical? You’d think they’d all have severe tendonitis by now…

    A very intense, super-agressive brand of technical death metal played at light speed is what to expect from Origin. These guys can play….the speed and complexity of this band borders on ludicrous at times. Very talented players, and oddly addictive and hypnotic despite it’s speed. My theory is that they play so fast that it comes back around and slowly echoes in your eardrums after circling the globe, creating an eerily hypnotic somnambulance despite it’s ferocity. (laughs-what?) This and the latest release from Beneath The Massacre have taken up permanent space on my iPod lately, despite the difference in their approaches. Fans of Suffocation would eat this up, everyone else be warned….you’ve got to appreciate hyper-fast, super-progressive playing bordering on the incomprehensible to enjoy this band.

    Posted on March 1, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Oddly enough, when I picked up this album, I expected to be disappointed due to the short number of tracks. But, having played the album all day since, I’ll say thanks to Origin, for limiting this album to just 10 songs…any more would have made would have simply caved my head in. It’s a thermonuclear bomb of brutal technicality because, despite its somewhat condensed size, it packs more than enough of a serious punch.

    Seriously, there isn’t a weak track on here. Not a one. I’m trying to narrow down a couple of songs as exemplars for people to sample, and it’s proving quite a challenge. Regardless, “The Aftermath” immediately sets the mood; absolutely no foreplay, just a sudden, unrelenting crush of exacting riffs, blasting drums, and :36 seconds into the song come the vicious dual screams of the vocalists that I came to know and love on ‘Inhumanitas’. The masterful formula goes on without a pause throughout the album, “Wrath of Vishnu” brings us the insane drumming at its finest, with a break-down that had me screaming in admiration in the car, and “Antithesis”…sweet suffering crap, does that song ever complete an album!

    The only question left is what will our government do to control the proliferation of “Antithesis” and make sure it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands? Replete with references to Dr. Oppenheimer’s famous aphorism after the successful Manhattan Project test (“I am become Death, destroyer of worlds”) ‘Antithesis’ respectfully adopts a nuclear theme by being thermonuclear itself. I can’t wait to listen to this again with “Trinity and Beyond” playing muted in the background.

    Posted on February 28, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • As has become more apparent in recent years, extreme metal bands can come from literally any corner of this toilet earth. In fact, there are so many of them on the market today that it is impossible to keep up with all of them, and the countries they come from. And although it’s safe to say that the countries located to the east of the Atlantic take up the lion’s share of the attention (namely Sweden and other Scandinavian countries), one would be sadly mistaken to overlook or discount the United States just yet. One such case in point is one very special band that hails from Topeka, Kansas (where, by the way, zip codes begin with the numbers 666 — you just can’t get more metal than that!) named Origin. And, in addition to having a locale in the U.S.A.’s heartland, this quintet’s sound could also not be more American because they stay close to home when looking for inspiration. (Their main influences are from the likes of Cephalic Carnage, Dying Fetus, and Suffocation.) As a result, Origin’s renowned death-grind assault is an insanely fast, technical, tight, and brutal one. And, in this day and age, it also sounds fairly novel and refreshing.

    It feels almost redundant to say because any well-versed metalhead will find it obvious, but the musicianship heard on “Antithesis,” Origin’s fifth and newest record, is nothing short of incredible. After nearly a decade of existence, the band is now, finally, firing on all cylinders, and as a result, they sound like an extremely well-oiled machine. John Longstreth cements his status as just about unparalleled by any other drummer on the metal scene today. He drives the beast forward with truly impeccable, explosive, pummeling, lightning fast blast beats that spit sparks and debris like shrapnel. In other words, he is the audio equivalent of The Energizer Bunny…on amphetamines! And while Longstreth’s style of drumming has all the nuance of a two-by-four to the skull, his playing is always impossibly tight and precise, so it manages to retain a certain level of finesse.

    The guitarists are also in fine form here, as their guitar work has never sounded so intricate. It is safe to say they have mastered the art of technical, thrashy riffing, rip-roaring leads, blistering tremolo picking, fluid sweep picking, and occasional pinch harmonics. And not only that, but they’ve also learned how to create guitar solos – and really memorable ones, too. Elsewhere, frontman Paul Ryan turns in a noteworthy performance, as well — his Deicide-worthy array of growls, screams, and bellows is powerful, visceral, vitriolic, and just plain wicked! Finally, the icing on the cake is bassist Mike Flores, whose instrument is much louder in the mix this time around. He comes up with surprisingly interesting and memorable bass parts that make sure the rhythm section is rock solid.

    But instrumental prowess will only get you so far – no matter how friggin’ amazing it is!. Well, that’s not a problem here, either, folks. See, unlike, say, 2005’s disappointing “Echoes of Decimation” (Origin’s last release), this record adds quite a bit of substance to its style. For starters, the arrangements are tempered with some undeniable moments of melody, but it is done in a way as to avoid any annoying Swede-inspired cliches. Furthermore, there is an abundance of honest-to-goodness hooks, fairly accessible song structures (including some actual choruses!), groove, tempo variation (i.e. some breakdowns and other slow/er passages to add texture and contrast), ear-snagging guitar riffs (opposed to just one, long wall of guitar noise), and — get this! — standout tracks and songs with memorable parts.

    Finally, and perhaps most importantly, “Antithesis” possesses one last attribute (which makes it a huge step forward for the band): a little, intangible thing called “feeling.” These ten songs cut deep; they send off wave after wave of furious energy and palpable intensity. The face-ripping set opener, “The Aftermath,” engulfs the listener’s eardrums with a flash flood of frenetic, scalding riffage, grinding, “rat-tat-tat” machine gun blasts, and thunderous rhythms. Some strong bass work (i.e. a grumbling bass bottom and a split-second interlude/solo), a mid-tempo, chugging breakdown, and a nice, Necrophagist-esque clean solo are also tucked into the mix here. “Algorithm” continues down that song’s same path, and, thanks to a brief but wild, shredding guitar solo and nonstop hyper-kinetic, skull-splitting drumming, it completes the album’s beginning one-two punch knockout.

    The next two songs might darn well be the catchiest Origin have ever written. Both of which are backed by irresistibly hooky, crunching, lock-step staccato rhythms that will be almost impossible not to headbang along with. Plus, the former tune, “Consuming Misery,” also has interesting, slap bass lines; and the latter, “Wrath of Vishnu,” features a frantic, pummeling, stop-start drum intro and awesome, ripping, and even borderline wailing guitar solo that gives Nile a run for their money in the bluesy, Middle Eastern-influenced metal department. Next up is “Finite,” a disorienting, head-spinning, uber-fast blur of dissonance reminiscent of Psyopus. “Void,” an futuristic, mildly bone-chilling interlude, is another standout, as is “The Beyond Within,” which begins with a jackhammer-fast rhythm that falls from the sky like a ton of bricks before abruptly doing a 180 degree turn and trafficking in a quiet, restrained passage complete with interesting, slapped bass lines.
    But the set-closing title track is the indisputably biggest highlight to be found on the album. In fact, it is also, by far, Origin’s most intricate, expansive, infectious, and flat-out mind-blowing piece of work to date, and an absolutely must hear. It is a stunning, epically epic, infectious, innovative, nine-and-a-half-minute-long maze through effective groove-oriented parts, haunting ambience, swift guitar sweeps, stellar melodic soloing, and occasional black metal tendencies.

    Let it be known that “Antithesis” isn’t really, well, an “antithesis” per say, because it doesn’t mark a drastic change of sound or direction for Origin. What it certainly does do, though, is deliver on the promise of all of their previous releases. It sounds like the band you’ve always known…but now they are substantially even better than before. As such, it is very much up for debate if this record will gather much attention from anybody who isn’t already a fan. Plus, some listeners (especially first-timers) will find the Kansas-based quintet’s music to be a bit unusual and overwhelming. But regardless of comparisons to previous works, “Antithesis” is, at the very least, an excellent, brutal, exhilarating, and accomplished affair, an early juggernaut for death-grind in 2008, and a great case against writing-off American extreme metal just yet.

    Posted on February 28, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now