The multi-talented music machine from Maryland that is Dan Dankmeyer is back for more with his second release of the year, Origin. A unique brand of progressive metal mixed with djent and melodic death (think Cloudkicker meets Periphery) comes from an enigmatic individual slowly gaining fame in the instrumental metal circles, and it is well deserved given how much effort he puts in.
Since migrating to an 8-string guitar tuned to drop-E on the album X, the need of a bass becomes completely redundant, and each of the underlying djent riffs more than make up for a rhythm section. There are many good moments of synth and layering which add to the atmosphere, especially when the notes echo. The programmed drums do their job perfectly well when in the background, but when attention falls on the cymbals they sound weak and tinny (understandable when not played by a human). Fortunately the attention is mostly placed on the beautiful melodic leads and solos stuffed in the album, reminding me of Scale The Summit at times.
A full hour of music awaits, and it becomes clear that Dan has plenty of ideas to share with the listener; no track is under 5 minutes and three are more than 9 minutes each. As a result, this makes it easy to lose track of time when listening, and I prefer to treat Origin as one long song. The album is great as background music but doesn’t take long before my attention starts to wander. That’s not to say Origin is boring. Dan deserves recognition for writing great music (and artwork and production and distributing it for almost-free), it just lacks a certain ingredient to make it tighter and more memorable. To give him his credit, he has incorporated more climaxes and diversity into the album, making for a very entertaining listen and worthy of the above musical comparisons.
In short, Dan has progressed from his last album, and at his rapid output rate he’ll be onto a winner of an album in no time. Until then, this album is more than worth a try, and if you have a bit of cash going spare then you can pick up the rest of his releases. They’re ‘pay-what-you-want’ so I think the question you should be asking yourselves is: why not?
Originally posted at http://www.deathmetalbaboon.com and http://www.mostlymetal.wordpress.com