Review Summary: An eclectic metal album that is astonishing from start to finish. Unbelievibly great songwriting finesse paired with technical ability of each band member makes Origo shine above many recent metal releases.
It is beyond me why certain bands become popular, and I am not necessarily talking about bands that don't appeal to me. Take Opeth for example, a band that I enjoy listening to. While many of Opeth's songs exceed the ten minute mark and display the sense of ever-changing dynamics, their formula (not to say their music is in any way "formulaic") certainly seems like it could never possibly become popular in a mainstream sense or garner a massive fan base the way it has. The only other genres that I can think of which contain lengthy but still easily accessible are blues and jazz, but repetition is a main characteristic of each. The aggressive nature of a band like Opeth seemed to translate well into the rising popularity of American metal. Because of this I am perplexed. Burst, who hail from Sweden, present similar elements contained in progressive music such as Opeth's but present them in a completely different fashion. A much more direct approach is taken by Burst, probably due to their grindcore roots, but they still retain layers and depths and they showcase them in a timely manner. Having the accessibility of American metal and the dynamics of progressive metal leads me to the ultimate question: why hasn't anybody heard of this band!?
With each track on Origo
, Burst are able to craft an individual moods and sounds, showcasing the broad range of influences that the musicians are able to encompass throughout the album, but the influences do not at all sound artifical or forced. The indie rock tinged intro of 'Where the Wave Broke' shatters any expectations involving Burst being a generic metal band. Smoothly transitioning from entrancing palm muted sections with softly sung vocals to a jazzy, clean guitar passage with an uneasy atmosphere, extremely fitting for the distressed screaming of Linus Jägerskog. If you have heard past Burst material, it's obvious that Jägerskog has improved his vocals which now include more of range than before. 'Sever', one of the more punishing tracks on the album along with 'Slave Emotion', sets a striking mood with beautifully arranged acoustic guitar and ghostly vocals. The infinitely layered chorus is absolutely crushing. Space-y tones and samples are the core of 'Sever', undoubtedly making the track a highlight and a song no metal fan should miss. Nonchalant is the perfect adjective to describe 'Flight's End', an excellent track for the bass playing to shine. The jaunty rhythms and fills he plays are executed wonderfully but are never too flashy, restraint is the name of his game.
The atmosphere presented in 'Homebound' is impressively unique and diverse. Almost becoming too much to take in at once, 'Homebound' is excessively layered with strange sounds and reverberated guitar surges. The anticipation that is being poured from the pulsating speakers is indisputably worthy of high acclaim. In many sections throughout the song, quick accelerations are played but die down rather quickly. The drumming stands out the most in the climatic moments of 'Homebound'. I never thought cymbals could create such an alluring quality during the intense crescendos. Being the only instrumental on Origo
, 'It Comes into View' is filled with dreamy soundscapes that is very relaxing compared to the other clean sections that are usually teetering on the edge of sanity. Once again, the bassist is able to utilize subtle fills that add to the entire experience. Simple, harmonized guitar solos, but effective for the mood the guitarist were going for, end the song peacefully.
Seriously, the arrangement of each song is breathtaking. Never becoming pretentious, the dynamics flow through each other with incredible ease. The musicianship is better and tighter than most bands that have their start in this day and age, especially in the metal genre. The only hindrance from perfection that this album contains is the way some of the guitar playing is very similar in different tracks. For example, I recall many uses of harmonized octave chord progressions that sound like they've been lifted from one track and put on another. Also, a couple of the same ideas are used throughout, but all of the instrument playing is still intriguing by the end of Origo
. I cannot wait to see what this always progressing band is capable of in the future. Please, listen to this delightfully original album.