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Origin represent a growing problem with death metal. Lately, it seems that a "good" death metal band pretty much means they have a really fast drummer and throw in as many random tempo changes as possible. "How fast can you blast?", essentially. There's a real lack of soul and creativity in this new wave of death metal, that being said, Origin's "Antithesis" pretty much fits in to this category. That also being said, it's a damn fine album, it's one huge contradiction against my opinion of this new wave of death metal. Trust me, I couldn't be more pleased about this.
There's no way for me to really describe "Antithesis", let alone individual songs. It's pretty much a blur of death metal with the aforementioned "blasty blast" drums and random tempo changes. Sometimes, you can barely fit a dime between the ending of one song and the beginning of another, and if it wasn't for certain vocal lines and completely out- of- nowhere-three-second-bass-solos, the songs would be pretty much indistinguishable from one another. So why am I giving this a positive score? It's a rather strange reason to be honest. I think it was somewhere in the middle of "Algorithm" (this was my third full listen through the album mind you) when something awesome happened. I "got it". Suddenly, the album and I just clicked and I realized that I had blindly purchased a solid fucking slab of too-technical-for-its-own-good death metal.
Despite what I said about the songs be indistinguishable, certain moments on certain songs make it very easy to pick favorites. The first few minutes of opener "The Aftermath" are fucking monstrous, and the lead guitar is memorable, and surprisingly addictive. Also, the entirety of "Wrath of Vishnu" pounds like one giant war drum, and with drums like these it's hard to believe that the it isn't the four armed god himself behind the kit. Really, John Longstreth is pretty damn fast. Unfortunately thats about it. Don't expect the jazz/death drumming of David Gray here folks, what you hear is pretty much what you get. However, the snare is almost completely lost in the extreme fuckery happening in the songs. It's there, but it ever so conspicuously brings intensity to the song, without it being the main attraction, as it is with many other death metal bands. Smart move, Origin.
Unfortunately, about half way through the album begins to drag a bit. "The Appalling" and "The Beyond Within" are pretty much the fillers of the album, with almost nothing to make them distinguishable from the rest of the songs. It's just that same old blur of instruments and brutal vocals. "Void" is also completely useless, albeit a bit interesting, especially if you're in the correct mood. I almost cringed when I saw the nine minute running time of the title track and thought "Great, this is going to be a nine minute version of the song I just got done listening to". Boy, was I wrong. The title track almost makes the entire experience worthwhile with, whats this?! Structure!??!? In an Origin song? Well I'll be god damned. That's right folks, this song moves, sounds, and feels like an epic closing song, and actually makes me wish that it didn't end so soon. And just when I thought I had Origin figured out, it seems I don't know the first thing about them.
I shouldn't like this album, but I do. It just works, there's no other way to put it. I can't say too much about Origin's future however. They're just going to have to keep blasting faster, and change tempos at even more random moments in order to keep the people coming back, until they reach their physical limits. Or, maybe they've got a solid formula, and know how to manipulate it to keep just fresh and interesting enough to make albums like this one, good albums.
The tag-line to this album is "I am become death, the destroyer of worlds". This album isn't exactly a full fledged reaper, and doesn't quite destroy worlds, but it leaves them pretty fucking barren. Why are you still reading this? Go get this album, now!