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I've always liked Origin. I listened to Echoes of Decimation and thought there was a lot of good, in fact much more good than bad, but it was a tough pill to swallow at times. My bone with them was A) too many vocals, B) "tech demo" like sweep patterns that could get a bit tiring. Well Origin seem to have upped their craft and Antithesis is a quite enjoyable listen.
While the band remains unequivocally technical, it's nice to see some occasional subdued playing from Ryan and Turner. The sweeps are still there but there is room left for actual riffs and leads, yes, traditional leads. Don't get me wrong, Origin still rips your face off, but with a little bit more tastefulness than before.
On to individual performances: James Lee I've always thought was a very good vocalist. His range is a strong asset in not becoming formulaic or repetitive and now... he shuts up sometimes! Where on Echoes the vocals were excellent but overdone, I have nothing bad to say about the vocal performance on Antithesis. Lee sounds angry and poised and fits the band's sound very well.
Needless to say, Paul Ryan and Jeremy Turner can play. In fact they play very fast and precisely, but anyone reading this review should know that by now. It's tough to state whether or not they have improved since the last record when you're dealing with a band as technical as Origin, but rather I would say the songwriting has improved. The tracks are a fair bit longer than the usual Origin standard, but they manage to keep things interesting with their note selections and impactful use of rythm.
On to the actual rythm section. I am delighted to say (although this has more to do with the mix than anxything else) that you can hear the bass on this record. Far too often in metal and death metal in particular, the bassist is more of an honorary position and doesn't get its just due in the actual sound, but Mike Flores is an audible member of the band and, well, he can definitely play. Nice little slaps, fills and subtleties definitely add flavor and punch to the record. John Longstreth is technically flawless showing off his pounding prowess to the listener quite handily. My only problem is the constant blasting. I understand blast definitely add the intensity the band necessitates in order to forge through, but I'd enjoy hearing some more compex rythm patterns with a little less redundancy.
The songwriting is the true area in which Origin has improved. Songs are easily differentiable and stagnation is not a problem. The album's opener "The Aftermath" kicks things off nicely with some freakout riffs and remains high octane energy throughout. "Wrath of Vishnu", arguably my favorite track has a nice mid paced break in the middle where Longstreth gets the chance to offer something a little different. "Algorithm" and "Consuming Misery" are also nvery nice pieces of the puzzle as is the epic title track which closes things off. "The Aftermath" may seem like a chore to listen to clocking in at over nine minutes, but the band easily pulls it off and ends the record as intensely as they kick it off.
If you're looking for some good technical death metal I would recommend this over many other bands trying to make it in this genre.