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Three years after releasing their sophomore release, our good friends Origin stepped into the studio once again to create more monotonous death metal to pander to people who like that sort of thing. And if you're one of those people, congratulations! This release has been specially crafted for you...either that, or this band is still standing mouth agape, refusing to take any criticism or suggestions to heart. Either way, it works for the fans, but I still can't really enjoy this stuff.
Now, mind you, Origin have stepped up their game a bit in terms of what they do. I doubt any band using this constant 200-BPM formula could create anything great, but the band's material has gone from egregious to simply a bit boring. I guess the best thing this could be compared to the worst moments of Nile's early days, if you took away the Egyptian tinge and added a ton of weedly-wank passages. The band are no longer constantly using 6/8 blasts (though they still use them way too fucking much), and the technical acrobatic riffs feel like they had a few iotas of thought put into their construction, instead of feeling as if they were specifically created to prevent any emotional evocation (which is the case for Origin's last two albums), which is good. They've also stopped recycling riffs between songs, or at the very least they've given their riffs hints of personality by trying to stick bits of memorable material into their songs. Overall, the only feeling I'm getting from any of these riffs (and only every third riff or so at that) is eerie anticipation, but hey, I'll take whatever I can get with these guys. A couple riffs I'd like to call to attention are 1:24 in "Staring from the Abyss", 1:16 in "The Burner", and 3:06 in "Debased Humanity". Even these riffs aren't great, but they're little reminders that this band is completely capable of creating decent technical death metal if they weren't so thick-skulled.
As I've stated before, the riffs are improving, and though I'd prefer something that stepped out of 6/8 time signature a bit more often, this release is passable, if not predictable and bland. But the release still has a few big flaws in addition to the intrinsic one-sidedness of their music. For one, the guitars clusterfuck over almost everything in the production, choking not only the vocals and drums, but the bass. This really hurts the music, because pretty much all technical death metal relies solely on bass to give the weedly, high-pitched music some low end. Remove aforementioned low end, and you end up with releases like this - mechanical, flat death metal that has nothing at all in terms of layers. Secondly, the bass drum should have been waaay higher in the mix, and blasted at rhythmically along with the 6/8 riffs, because if I'm going to sit through monochromatic blast riffs for a whole album, they might as well be catchy. Finally, the vocals are still ridiculously under par for a death metal band on this level of renown. I can tolerate a one-demo band with a vocalist who uses Swedish-accented bark growls and weak raspy shrieks with no variation or originality, but for fuck's sake, Origin, you're signed to Relapse, one of the biggest metal labels on Earth. Have some respect for yourself and kick this fuck out.
Origin are apparently trying to take baby-steps away from mediocrity. Shame that their choice of genre inherently prevents their music from avoiding that level of quality.
That's what came to my mind 3 seconds after I pushed the play button to listen to "Echoes of Decimation" for the first time. No prologue on this review, in accordance to the lack of introductions this album's got.
If you've ever listened to a song of Origin, you should already know what this album's about. Insane double bass beats, gravity blasts, sick riffs, basslines that will cause a vertigo at least, sciene fiction themed lyrics and insane vocals. The production is great as expected, and every instrument is 100% audible, so the heavy element never really decreases. I think that on vinyl it might be a once in a lifetime experience.
This album is fucking enjoyable. At 26 minutes, it doesn't get boring. Also, during those 26 minutes, this band plays 50 times more notes than a common band would play in 50 minutes - or more. The songs are mostly about mass destruction and all that pleasant sci-fi stuff. The intensity is so great that sometimes you might feel that those guys are not giving you enough space to breathe. And that's what makes this album awesome.
You can listen to it any given time and it will do its job. What is it? I have concluded that every time I listen to this album, before the end of the self-titled track I already find myself thinking all the more quickly and precisely. Maybe that is because the music is just that: godlike speed riffs and incredibly precise drumming, with extremely complex themes and structures.
What this album lacks is variation. Every song is distinct, yet all seem to share a common DNA, which defines 85% of the songs' identity. But, I already told you that it's only 26 minutes. You won't notice.
Overall, if you like brutal, technical death metal with intricate themes, you already know what to do. This is one of the best bands out there. Dig!
Is it just me or is the vocal production on this record really dry? It's really far in the front, and it might just be the kind of blunt, static performance of James Lee, but honestly I think they missed putting reverb on it or something. Actually, now that I'm listening to it again, it might be the whole production: everything's right in fucking front, lined up like a Revolutionary War-era army. The problem with this? There's absolutely nothing behind it: you hear this CD once and you've heard absolutely everything there is to hear on it. It's enjoyable in a dumb way but I can't listen to it without thinking that there should be more going on.
The thing that makes Origin kind of better than the million and a half bands they've spawned (seeing this style back in 2005 is kind of weird since every tech death band sounds like this now) is that they have some restraint; I mean, 'Echoes Of Decimation' is well under a half hour long, and frankly, who wants to listen to more than that? It's basically EP-length which is about as long as I can tolerate listening to something like this, and the songs are compact enough that you don't realize you've been listening to basically just three riffs the whole time. More bands should follow this ideal.
Origin is known for playing really fast and... playing really fast, I guess, but the most gripping moments of this album are when they get out of the 'fast death/grind' box a little bit and experiment with rhythm a bit or let the guitarists do some of their weird, spacey arpeggios or quirky tremolo riffs. I would like this album a lot more if they'd exploit the curious sense of melody to its fullest potential- go a bit more in a Morbius direction rather than the rather straightforward 'Fleshgrind on crack' sound they've mastered, but this doesn't result in as many sales to Relapse kids so I guess it doesn't really matter.
The crucial problem, though, is just that not much happens. The quirky melodies are neat but they all sound kind of the same, Lee's vocals get really grating a couple tracks in since they're just a random bark with no really interesting implementation in the tracks, and everything just seems like sort of a competition with itself- these aren't songs so much as tech demos of what the band can do. It's pretty technical though not really crazy compared to what's become the standard five years later, so it doesn't really even have that envelope-pushing quality to fall back on; it's just kind of static instead and doesn't really draw my attention.
The best song on the album is 'Staring From The Abyss', probably because it's an actual song with a cohesive flow and structure and some really great riffs. This is something Origin would sort of figure out on the next album, but ultimately 'Echoes Of Decimation' is just an amusing diversion to throw on every six months and reminisce back to a time when stuff like this was novel.
It begins. There is no warning; before you can even hope to adjust Origin commence their brutal death metal attack. This is speed transcending speed, aggression transcending aggression. 'Holy fucking fuck, what the hell is this?!" is an accurate summation of thoughts that occur just prior to your brain being blasted straight out of your ears and into a steaming puddle on the floor. Origin push music so far that this sounds like something coming out of the heart of a supernova rather than a band of mere people; though (presumably) stemming from the brain of man, it sounds both totally inhuman and evisceratingly cutting-edge. This is stupidly fast and wildly chaotic, and yet at the same time is so precisely constructed and controlled that it just thrashes the everloving FUCK out of you, constantly, without respite or regret. Consider the boundaries well and truly pushed.
It may be somewhat of a cliche, but this music in places really DOES resemble an artillery barrage; the stuttering blastbeats and precise, threshing, palm-muted riffage synchronising into tiny micromoments of sheer pulverising force that repeat with fluttering rapidity and a sheer power I couldn't possibly hope to convey in mere words. The effect is that of an enormous battery of huge guns going off at a rate which would flatten a city in seconds, and the eventual impact of the music as it strikes your ears and overwhelms your mind is precisely analogous to the explosive force of the shells as they strike home, leaving your sensibilities a shattered and slag-encrusted wasteland. Except that these shells are balls of nuclear fire, fired from the surface of a dying star in planet-annihilating spasms. In other places, the freakish dissonance and anti-melodic chromaticism of what would otherwise be standard open-strummed tremolo riffing approaches alien-like levels of indecipherable catchiness; issuing from pure nothingness, a grating assault that bows to no known musical formula yet resolves itself into weird melody somehow constructed of nothing but the purest strains of atonality. Chaos is extended by the sudden squalling eruptions of high-end arpeggio and scale runs that burst from the churning maelstrom of riffs before diving swiftly below the water; stabbing out at you like the thrashings of a lunatic, or as blasting flashes of light and sound seeming to come from absolutely nowhere you can adequately pinpoint.
This is simply a brutal beating; chaotic, wild and relentless, yet simultaneously exactingly ordered and precise. As with all boundary-crossing music, it's these fundamental paradoxes that truly create the grating yet somehow resolved internal conflict necessary to - putting it bluntly - fuck your shit up. When music pulls simultaneously in two different directions, you will be pulled apart. When your ears tell you that you hear the alien sounds of psychotically angular confusion, but your body revels in the precision of intricate rhythmic interplay between instruments and voice, the overall effect on the mind is to be overwhelmed with the sensation of power.
Then, out of nowhere, and with no noticeable change whatsoever, you suddenly discern that the relentless beating has resolved itself into a sublime neoclassical melodic construct; sweeping upwards with a savage and imperious grace before collapsing in on itself, the sound of beauty both born of and subsumed into a chaotic storm of blankly violent nihilism. The progression between the dissonant and consonant has never been blended so seamlessly; Origin reveal that discernible order is nothing more than chaos arranged into convenient mathematical intervals in a way that is truly interesting and profound. Either intentionally or (probably) unintentionally, by pushing their music this far Origin reveal something about what music is, and how thin the line is between structure and complete randomness. But Hell, even the more conventionally 'death metal' moments on this album are still executed with a savagery and energy that lifts the music into a statement in extremity which is difficult to match. Even if you have no stomach for the pretentious over-analysis I'm spewing out like some half-baked literary critic, and you get or want nothing out of this but some kick-ass fast brutal death metal, this will do the job with unpaid overtime. You will be raped, fucked up, dismembered and dumped in the garbage like a piece of worthless trash, guaranteed. If you have any appreciation for brutality at all you will be compelled to headbang yourself into a state of drooling idiocy.
One of the key things that makes this music so absolutely devastating is Origin's impeccable grasp of the concept of aggression in music. Whilst many other extraordinarily brutal bands such as Devourment or Brodequin create music of such weight that it becomes vast and sagging under its own extraordinary heaviness, here Origin utilise the concepts of silence and motion like seasoned masters, enlivening their sound no end. Rather than a wobbling mass collapsing towards non-music under the weight of its sheer brutality, we instead have something taut, lean and ferocious.
Vocals - be they guttural grunts or strangled shrieks - are roaring and bitingly enunciated, rather than gurgling rattles seeping ponderously up from a vast pit of filth. Guitars are energetic rather than simply chaotic, riffs leaping ever upwards and forwards, not collapsing back into the music and dissolving in the weight of their own entropy. Indeed, these riffs bear a lot in common with thrash in the way that they strive for the sensation of whiplash-inducing motion at all times; brutality arises as a result of the lightspeed punishment inflicted by a storm of raging and percussive attack, rather than as a means to an end in itself. The explosive manner in which arpeggios leap free and dive back into the music bring to mind not the crushing weight of a blunt object, but rather the searing flash of a precisely directed cutting laser. The forceful chugging of the riffing combines both tiny moments of space AND a constant barrage of sound to create something that incorporates an excellent combination of heaviness and energetic rhythm, all sped up to a level where you can barely understand what is hitting you. Rather than detuning musical modes into deep and sagging rumbles, Origin stretch the boundaries of music by attacking it with a claw hammer, battering conventional melodies and deliveries into something misshapen and deranged.
The genre of brutal death metal has long been metal's most fecund and innovative pasture, being one of the few areas in our favourite music where bands are still able and willing to push right to the boundaries of where music can go and what it can do, and often opening entirely new avenues of progression and insight in the process. "Echoes of Decimation" is another proud addition of this list. If rays of pure light were really FUCKING heavy, then this is what they would sound like.
This band has been getting really popular over the last few years, what with so many other technical Death Metal bands rising to the surface all the sudden. Origin put a bit of a new twist on the standard formula, writing songs at half the usual duration but with double the brutality - a clever scheme indeed, and Origin are obviously skillful entrepreneurs at their craft. Echoes of Decimation, their third full length album, is not a newfound classic by any means, but it does supply an entertaining voyage into spacey, ethereal brutality that you'll go back to again and again, since this album is less than a half hour, built specially for repeated plays in the first place.
Origin's formula is tight and very brutal, with cascades of rolling, rumbling riffs coming at you like a hurricane, while the drums pound away in a complex, involving whirlwind of heavy, driving beats that will blow your mind. The bass is crunching away all the while, and the vocals are the expected gruff roar/growl; not exactly anything new, but the vocalist does what he does very well, so I have no qualms with it. The lyrics are decent, and there are quite a lot of them, too - it's a rare moment on Echoes of Decimation that the vocalist is not spewing aural terror through your headset, and especially since all of the songs are so short here. This isn't so much of a problem for me, but the music could have a bit more space to breathe, really - at least make the songs longer for some extended instrumental breaks. The sound this band utilizes is not derivative of Necrophagist or Suffocation or Nile, which makes Echoes a fine breath of fresh air for the seasoned Death Metal purist.
Being such a short and to the point album, there isn't much space for fillers, and every song is more or less on the same level of quality. I have to say the best one is "Staring from the Abyss" with it's crushing, spacey rhythms and pulsating drum beats, followed by the longer and more dense title track, and also the kinetic "The Burner," which cooks up a raging storm of crushing weight that will not fail to please. There aren't any bad tracks here though, and this is an overall solid album, so I can safely recommend it to anyone who has a taste for modern Death Metal. You won't regret it.
Originally written for http://www.metalcrypt.com
Brutal death metal is all about the extreme musical performance; precise delivery, technical mastery, and over the top speed, often effortlessly breaking all traditional music barriers without looking back. If that was all it took to make a perfect album, Origin would be perfect. Too bad it takes variation, feeling, and a good vocal performance too. ‘Echoes of Decimation’ has all of the former. Nobody in this band is going to be accused of poor musicianship, ever. They have created one of the tightest sounding albums in recent memory. If only the song writing stayed fresh throughout (which should have been easy, seeing as it is less than 30 minutes long.)
My main complaint with this album would have to be the vocals. No, not the way the sound, I believe he did a very good job. He just never shuts up. Ever. Seriously, I have a hard time finding a single bar of music on this album that does not feature some sort of grunt, scream, squeal, or roar. He basically writes a short novel every time he starts a new song. That would be ok if the songs were 6-8 minutes long, but when they average under three minutes, he ends up cramming them into every second available. Not only that, his patterns are reused from song to song.
The guitar writing on this album is fairly impressive for the most part. A mix of catchy brutality and dissonance similar to Krisiun and Dying Fetus. They never slows down for even a second. But after the first few songs, you start to get the feeling that you’ve heard it all before. Not a lot of variation overall. Bass is just as tight as the guitars but rarely does it do anything but follow them.
The drumming here is fairly standard for brutal death metal, very fast and precise. Some purists may say that his triggered snare and kick drums are cheating, but to keep up the speeds he maintains and sound good it is almost impossible without them. Not highly technical as far as most death metal, but solid.
The overall mix and production is quite good, even by today’s standards. This is what all death metal bands should hope to achieve.
In conclusion, this album is worth a listen a couple of times but I wouldn’t buy it. More or less ruined by vocals.
I like death metal, of all sorts, especially brutal death metal and grind. Now, I don't like death metal exclusively but it is my favorite genre of music. Especially when the artists display musical technicality as well as originality. Origin fall more in the technicality part than the originality part, but more importantly, they're relentlessly awesome.
I got this album yesterday and I can't stop listening to it, it's amazing, short, but amazing. In 26 minutes these guys accomplish more than most bands could in an hour, really. The songs are to the point, fast , and brutal as fuck. Thats why they're short.
The singing done by James Lee and the guitar players is intense to say the very least. The lyrics? Very original, not the usual blood and guts stuff here, they actually mean something.
The guitar players are the most amazing things I've heard in a long time, they somehow manage to weave an intense amount of sweep picking into riffs that remain brutal and don't ever get pretentious. The bass? Like many metal bands it can be very hard if not impossible to hear, but it's back there, subliminally pounding away.
The drumming? Possibly the best part of the album. It's insane! Almost to insane in fact, I would think that this guy is some animatronic drumming robot, except animatronic robots can't move that fast.
One of my favorite moments in this album is in the song Debased Humanity, towards the end the vocals take a break and let the guitars really shine, like the sun. They're playing this insane, brutal riff with a ton of sweep picking while the drummer is just gravity blasting away, the snare sounds like some jackhammer ripping open the earth as the sweep picked screams from the underworld come blasting out.
This album is amazing. You should buy it. Don't be worried that it's only 26 minutes long (thats it's only flaw, aside from relentless brutality). It still warrants at least one listen.
Death/grind has always been hit and miss with me. There's stuff like Nile, which I absolutely love, and then there's stuff like Obituary, which I can't stand in the least. Fortunately, I do like Origin, a lot.
This album is just 26 minutes. However, in those 26 minutes, your asshole will be ripped out and fed back in through your eye-sockets. Origin is by far some of the most intense stuff I've heard in a long while. While, it lacks the certain panache of Dark Angel's excellent "Darkness Descends" (by far the most intense album ever released), the songs here are all very good at showing just what an incredible band Origin is.
The guitars are fast, the drums are faster, the vocals are brutal. Can't say much about the bass, as you can't really hear it, but everything else is incredible. As a matter of fact, some of the songs are rather catchy. The lyrics are well thought out, as opposed to the general "RIP OUT YOUR LUNGS AND BLEED THEM ON THE CHAMBER FLOOR" of death/grind.
As for the songs themselves, wow, no letdowns here. It starts with Reciprocal, a testament to just how awesome Origin is. Other great songs are The Burner (a feast of incredible drumming), Cloning the Stillborn (Excellent lyrics), and Starring From the Abyss (A headbanging masterpiece). The songs all sound very similar, but yet, they're all different enough for it to count. This is very hard to achieve in death/grind, but Origin succeeds very well.
And so the problems. There aren't really any distinct things wrong with Origin. Some songs are definitely worse than others, but none so vile that they take anything away. Overall, it's a very very good release (musically and technically).
It's short, and it's brutal. At 26 minutes, those who aren't really fans of the genre may want to be wary about this one. However, when looking at most death/grind, that isn't terribly short. If you like death/grind, and don't mind the somewhat short length, definitely check this one out.
Is what you will feel like after you have been mercilessly pummelled by this death metal monstrosity.
Are you finding yourself wanting something with the technicality and skills of Necrophagist, but are a brutal-head who's tired of their neoclassical wankery and want something to pummel your ears as well? Look no further.
There really is just not much to say about this, but a lot to say about it at the same time. This is not only a pure holocaust of noise, but it is executed with the precision and skill of almost nothing before. This band could probably take a shit through the eye of a needle.
No wasting time with samples or war drums at the beginning, almost instananeously "Reciprocal" blasts out of your sound system at the precise speed and volume of a 747 at full power. This song has the more technical influence in it, just wait for the sweeping of the guitar with James's intense (for lack of a better word) screams over it.
Intense? I don't think there is a word to adequately describe the sheer insanely monstrous, chaotic violence found on this CD, topped off with vocal mastery, James Lee doesn't just mumble and fart his growls (Mortician anyone?), he bellows, he roars like a tortured bull, the ear-piercing shrieks are almost unmatched, and it absolutely doesn't stop.
The highlight of the album is "The Burner" (which is available for download on their official site), the vocals and guitar mastery setting the standard for modern death metal, and that is saying something.
I was told that their drummer has only been playing for 4 years, but with the rabid mix of gravity blasts and technicality, this man is already up there with the likes of Portnoy.
Even the lyrics are above-quality, with thought-out lyrics about spawns, cloning, the apocalypse and human errors and atrocities, instead of just the usual gore/death.
The only potential problem with this CD is that it is all over too quickly, clocking in at just over 26 minutes. However, come the title track, you will be more than satisfied with the disc, and you will have many more spins, that is a promise and a guarantee.
The demented spawn of Necrophagist, Sadistik Exekution and Decapitated is upon us, and you had better watch out. NOT for the faint of heart.
Origin has continued to bring variety to what many would consider monotonous. With several replacements, the Topeka grind heads serve up what one would expect from Origin, but something new. The only noticeably difference would be the lack of Longstrength's frantic grinding beats. Have no fear though. James King does a superb job filling a mighty big shoe. As a matter of fact, King's drumming, while less technically impressive (but not by much) makes a difference in the band's sound. Unlike Longstrength, King doesn't necessarily mimic the guitars note for note. He still shells out fast and pounding beats, but I honestly thing it makes the music more listenable. As for the music in general, this is probably the band's best effort. The arpeggios and each song is still very much like a jack hammer pounding away at your skull, but its seems less repetitive. There are no sound clips opening songs and you can definitely tell that Origin worked hard on making this album the way it is. Also, this album is back by a much better production than in past efforts. As is every Origin album, this one takes a few listens to really enjoy, but less than the last two.
That's probably what you're going to say when you first pop this bad boy in (Or any other type explitive). This album without a doubt, is one of the most brutal albums of the year.
Fans of "III" will rejoice on this album as all technicality and intensness is maintained while new styles were added to the fold. But also keep in mind they've also gone through line-up changes, and the remaining members probably wanted to add some more freshness to their material. But old fans shouldn't be too disappointed at all with this album.
The production is much better than "III", so much so that you can hear the guitar parts very clear. The bass is again is still kinda low in the mix, but now it is a little more audible, as needed to be because Mike Flores is a great bass player.
The guitars are amazing, and is as good as something you would hear from Necrophagist. Paul and Clint incorporated quite a bit of guitar sweeps on this album, and at some points what seems somewhat like a melody line like in the song "Staring into the Abyss".
The vocal aspect of the album is flawless, utterly flawless. James' vocals are just as tight and ferocious as "III" and in some parts better. The screams are eardrum-piercing and the growls are brutal as hell.
One thing I was worried about on this album were the drums. Before the album came out, I didn't thinks the drums were going to be as good as John Longstreth's on "III." But, Origin surprised me again as they keep on doing as the newcomer James King steps up to the plate to fill some big shoes. James' blasts as just as good as John's and I believe James does more gravity blasts on this album than John did on "III"
For any newbies to Origin, keep in mind this album requires a few spins to really grasp what this album is about. For old-school fans of Origin, you will thoroughly enjoy this "Blasterpeice" and put it proudly beside your other Origin albums. Support this killer band (and all Death metal) by seeing them live, and you will come out feeling like you've had the shit beat out of you.
Go and pick this album up, right now. Yes, right now dipshit!