Review Summary: Origin release another solid slab of unabashed technical brutality.
So far 2014 has been a terrific year for death metal. We got a new Behemoth
record, adding another chapter to their already freakishly consistent discography; Dead Congregation
’s sophomore release, which stands to be one of the best homages to old-school death metal of the last few years; new albums from death veterans Incantation
, which pummel you with hellish riffs and a morose doom feel comparable to slowly sinking into a vat of metallic quicksand; and now Origin
are here with their sixth full-length – Omnipresent
– serving as the technical death metal go-to LP for the summer, and possibly the rest of the year. Clearly the first half of this year has had no shortage of brutality. Suffice it to say, Lucifer would be proud.
This leaves one to wonder how Omnipresent
fares in relation to its outshining competition, and the answer is much better than its preceding albums. Origin have built upon their style of relentless riff-barrages topped with unintelligible growls by throwing more sweeps and arpeggios than you could ask for into the boiling, discordant stew that is their songwriting. It still sounds like an Origin album, except every knob is turned to the max. The riffs are faster, the breaks are heavier, the melodies (as few as there are) are catchier and more memorable, and the songwriting in general is the tightest it’s ever been. If you felt there were a few loose screws on the quasi-experimental Entity
or the relentless technical onslaught that was Antithesis
, this may be the record to assure you that Origin are a forced to be reckoned within the confines of technical death metal, and on top of that, one of the few acts in the genre still relevant today.
The riffs on Omnipresent
are brutal death through and through, but unlike their earlier non-stop aural beat down LPs, Origin decided to change things up once in a while. A handful of tracks hover around the one-minute mark, such as “Thrall:Fulcrum:Apex,” which contains a massive chugged riff juxtaposed between a couple of the fastest, grindiest riffs of their career. On the other end of the spectrum, “Continuum” serves as an interlude of sorts – a sweeping melodic guitar passage layered with ominous synths that ease you into a false sense of security before plunging you back into the grimy brutality that makes up the rest of the album. The production has a large part in this atmosphere, as it provides the beefy, sharp-as-a-chainsaw guitar tone to match the dense, menacing nature of the riffs themselves. Jason Keyser of Skinless
is in charge of the vocal duties on this album, and frankly is the most fitting and versatile vocalist Origin has ever had. The bass and drums are perfectly mixed, each having their respective highlight moments: passages in “Malthusian Collapse” and “Unattainable Zero” give room for audible bass lines and sweeps, and the drum standouts include… well, the entire album.
Although they are no Suffocation
, Origin have carved themselves their own little niche in modern technical death metal by consistently and triennially yielding merciless cacophony in the form of unabashed aural brutality. They had no intention to break new ground on Omnipresent
, since there’s hardly any new ground to break. The genre has been done to death (no pun intended). Thankfully Origin are self-aware enough to stick to what they know, and that is how they prevail as one of the few remaining masters of their craft.