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Slowly sprinting towards decency - 60%

MutantClannfear, August 18th, 2011

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.