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Ever since hearing Origin back in the late 90’s, they have always been a band I’ve kept an eye on. The reason is quite simple - they’re a very good band! One of the strongest points of interest for most people from day 1 was the very extreme and impressive drumming of John Longstreth, one of metal’s more intense and innovative players. In addition, their early work pushed new boundaries, and turned many heads due to the fresh sound and nature of the work they purveyed.
Their fourth full length “Antithesis” sees Longstreth return to the fold after a 1 album and multi-year hiatus from the band. Origin haven’t done a bad album, so this one was very unlikely to suck. Straight away all the trademarks are there, lots of blasting and up tempo sections, and a decent amount of the sweep picking they love to implement into their structures. Although, they seem to have not utilised the sweep quite as much as on previous releases – and I think this works in their favour, as whilst having trademarks or keeping a certain sound or thing within your music is important – it’s good to not become predictable and monotonous.
There does seem to be a slight step back in extremity on this album however, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, is simply isn’t. The songs seem to be composed more maturely and with care, and are most enjoyable. There seems to be more sections you can really sit back and appreciate, which is nice. Intensity is still featured quite heavily, as is the Origin way – but this album shows their ability as songs writers is still growing. Track 4 “Wrath of Vishnu” is one of my favourite tracks on the cd, with some excellent riff work and a very cool section around the middle of the track featuring slower riffage but tastily smothered in a blanket of double kicking. Song 8 “ubiquitous” is probably my other favourite track, with some excellent writing and sections especially after the 3:20 mark that are just simply awesome.
Vocalist James Lee is a powerful singer, and applies his vocals in very appropriate sections and has some solid phrasing. But he’s not really gone anywhere new on this album, he seems to be quite happy with the way he does things and hasn’t evolved much since joining the band in their highly praised 2nd full length “Informis Infinitas Inhumanitas”. But this isn’t a bad thing, his performance is strong and completely suitable. Lyrically it’s a mish-mash of apocalyptic themes, comments on the human psyche and in some ways an apathetic analysis of the human condition and our tenacity to destroy ourselves and things of that ilk.
The artwork and layout keeps with the sci-fi and space type themes, and I am glad to say that I think the cover itself is a step up from their previous album “Echoes of Decimation” – which was a bit on the amateur side. The booklet itself has a snazzy little fold out section in the middle, which is kinda cool. It’s nice to see metal bands do something special with their booklets sometimes, cos so many have the standard set-up – which is completely fine, it’s just nice when bands put some extra thought into layouts.
Basically the album is really, really good. It doesn’t have a weak track, has standout riffage and doesn’t just all seem like one big song as is the case with many bands who kind of have “their own” sound. It is well played, well executed and pretty much great all round. The only criticism I have is the production. It sounds a little washy at times – don’t get me wrong, all the levels are there (despite the bass seeming slightly hidden), it just doesn’t seem quite as smooth as my ears would like.
But this is a minor issue, and shouldn’t put anyone off pursuing what is a quality release from a great modern metal band.