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There's only so much someone can develop on an instrument. The widely-held belief is that it takes 10,000 hours of practice time to become a world-class master at any particular skill. However, listening to Origin's Antithesis CD, it sounds like they've already hit their peak. The scary part is, since this album's release more than a year ago, the musicians in Origin have gotten BETTER, as witnessed in their countless live shows. This blows my musician's mind, because it shouldn't be possible, given the level of technical mastery on this album.
As for the album itself, it stands as the current high-water mark for the mixture of brutal heaviness with instrumental proficiency. Obviously, being Origin, none of the tracks are slow, but they do feature some very headbangable melodies and are catchy in their own right, if not exactly whistleable. Every cut on this album is designed to punish your ears at any volume, though your first instinct is to turn it up since you can't get enough.
The production is perfect for what this band needs: dirty and supercompressed. The guitars are a tit-bit muddy when Paul Ryan and Jeremy Turner are chugging along, but that's part of the Origin aesthetic, and when it comes down to it, you can hear each individual note in the sweeps somehow. Bassist Mike Flores is, simply put, a beast. He reminds me of Jeff Hughell from Brain Drill in that the bass is played like no human should be able to. If there were a hypothetical pool of bassists, he'd be one of the few pissed-off piranhas in a school of goldfish. John Longstreth. Dude. Holy fuckballs. He's pushed the boundaries MUCH further than any other release he's put out there to date with his new double-stroke kick method, and he's had over a year to perfect it, as evident in his pushing the bpm of their songs to well over 300 live. Ergo, I'm literally scared to listen to the new Origin CD when it debuts, since, as quoted on John Longstreth's own website, it's "going to blow Antithesis away". FUCK ME.
One thing I've never been attracted to in the realm of death metal are the stereotypical growled vocals, but James Lee is actually a bit of an exception to my rule. His voice perfectly fits the band and its meaty aesthetic, serving the sound of the music without disrupting the flow, even syncopating his vocal rhythm to match Longstreth's drumming every so often, adding a nice touch of meter to a "melody" instrument.
I wish I COULD give this album less than 100, because I know the new CD will only be better, but there's no way I could let Origin's (current) masterpiece escape with less than a perfect score. I would not change a single part on this album, as it was the best these musicians could do at the time. However, time will prove that if there can be a peak in the limits of brutality and technicality in death metal, it will be Origin's NEXT release. However, until then, I compel you to get out there and add this unrelenting album to your collection.