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Humble Origins, indeed - 52%

MutantClannfear, August 10th, 2011

I'll be frank: viewing their discography as a whole, I really fucking hate this band. This is one of the main bands that's perverting death metal as a whole, convincing people it's not about how catchy it is or how nice the riffs are - it's about how many goddamn weedle riffs you play, how unoriginal your songwriting can be, and how much of a wimp you are as a musician for attempting to play heavy and relentless music with the most annoying melodies possible, as if "relentlessness" and "melody" were ever supposed to be two parallel goals for any band. I, quite frankly, would love it if all the members of Origin got in a car crash or were otherwise rendered inable to play their music any longer - I hate them that much. That being said, this debut shows signs of a less musically perverted Origin - an Origin that was content with playing inoffensive groovy technical death metal, instead of aspiring to someday kick the tech-death scene en masse in the balls. While wearing spiked cleats.

Origin's origins in Origin are modest enough. The vocals are a mostly a series of rabid, rambling growls, sort of like how Lord Worm would sound if he sucked balls. There are also a few typical castrated tech-death screams, if those are your thing. The music itself mostly operates around the formula of fast, rhythmic chugs (triplets or quintets of sixteenth notes) and Dying Fetus riffs repeated ad infinitum. You've also got quite a few tremolo passages that hearken back to the early works of Nile. None of these riffs are great or particularly memorable: they're fun and innocent, I guess, but they operate around the same formula so often that none of them really stick. Even then, this kind of thing has been done better both in the past and present by bands like Dying Fetus and Henker, respectively.

Even at this early point in Origin's career, it's evident that they are not a band that handles momentum or catchiness effectively. Sure, there are maybe a handful of constant snare-blast riffs that remind me of the godawful shit Origin would go on to create later, but that's not what I mean. This band stays at the same pace throughout this entire album. Yes, it appears that no matter how technically and fast these guys play their instruments, they're still too dumb to know when to put a slow section into their music, or at least stop the endless abuse of the snare drum throughout this release. (No, really, the snare drum beats quite literally never stop, and if the band were going for an anthemic feel in their music, they succeeded, but usually bands write one anthemic song and call it a day. They don't compose a whole album's worth of try-hard catchy anthems.) Throughout this entire release, you ask for the monotony to end, for the album to stick just one slow section in the middle of the compositions...and they never do. They pretentiously go on with their stupid riffs, as if the band was so sure they had composed the best, catchiest riffs ever (which they haven't) that they didn't even consider doing anything else.

Bland guitar tone with no bass...vocals that get old really fast...near-mechanical, soulless death metal... yep, this is an Origin album. It's boring, but unlike their later releases it is not consciously offensive music. If you like pretentious, single-minded death metal, be my guest, but I'd rather give money to the Help Pedophiles Kidnap and Rape Your Children fund than spend money on this.

Mostly mediocre with some flickers of the future - 61%

Noktorn, March 1st, 2009

This is widely regarded to be most fans' least favorite Origin album, and it's understandable because it sounds little like the Origin most are acquainted with. The seeds of the band's modern style are obvious, but they've barely started to sprout and are hardly representational of the vegetation found on albums like 'Echoes Of Decimation'. Lacking much of the intense technicality and spaciness of later works, the band's self-titled debut displays a more traditional variety of brutal death/grind, with just hints of what the band would later become.

Oddly enough, the closest point of reference is probably Fleshgrind; odd because that band is probably the exact opposite of the later Origin style. The music is of a similarly mechanical nature to albums like 'Destined For Defilement', and the breed of technicality on display isn't the showy sweep riffing that would later define the band, but a more restrained and claustrophobic variety, where too-tight blasting drops into abrupt fills every few seconds and the riffs fume in a constrained fret space. It's not nearly as melodic as later works or as open-sounding; the drums form a sort of cage around the rest of the music which forces it into various unnatural shapes. The vocals are somewhat muddled and tentative, adhering to a fairly conventional brutal death high/low structure, but the lows are strained-sounding and the highs are a bit too buried in the mix, making the vocal performance easily the least interesting thing on this CD.

It's surprisingly not very riffy music either; even on the very next album, vocals and guitars especially would come to dominate the soundscape, but here the riffs are mostly very conventional and death/grind oriented, lacking again the spastic technicality and melody of later works for something approximating bands like Oppressor. That underappreciated band is a fairly good reference point for the sound of this CD as a whole; I imagine the band listened to 'Elements Of Corrosion' more than once while cooking up the songs on this LP. Anyway, by far the best material here is in the drum section. While it adheres to that irritatingly fill-laden style pioneered by Pete Sandoval and driven into the ground by Tony Laureano, it excels here when balanced out with the equally intense and fulminating guitar performance, despite the conventionality of the riffs. The drums keep the rest of the somewhat mediocre material interesting, and really acts as a propulsive force through every song.

Origin's first album is hardly anything to write home about; there are some tracks where foot-tapping is appropriate, but nothing evidenced here should really drive any serious death/grind fan crazy. It's a nice historical note, but Origin would go on to do bigger and better things later in their career. If you find it cheap there's no reason not to pick it up, but I wouldn't go out of my way for it.

Origin of the Next Generation Death Metal - 100%

Nuclear5641, September 15th, 2007

They came, they saw, and they conquered.

If that doesn’t tell you much about one of the most-adored, unmitigated, exceptionally singular and accomplished brains in death metal as a whole, then maybe you need a bit more info on who’s who of this quintet from the nether regions of existence. 1998 was the year when the creators of Origin, Mr Paul Ryan and Mr Jeremy Turner hit up an individual intension of framing something that had never been done before, that had never been even thought of, and hell, that can never be imitated by anyone else. Coupling their adept guitar thrashing knack and combining the thus obtained combative fury with Mr John Longstreth’s inexorable aggro-drumming animosity, Mr Mike Flores orgasmic basslines and Mr Mark Manning’s redefined vocalizing technique, Origin had risen up to a standard that’s not merely unthinkable, but unattainable too.

Delivered through this self-titled debut, released in 2000, is an episode of consistent technicality, intricate song-writing and acme musicianship that is very much likely to crush your subliminal senses and leave you begging for more. Unlike most bands in the thrash and death metal era, Origin steer clear of guitar solos and swap it with, well, more wicked dynamic grooves, torrential blast beats and intense time keeping. Quite candidly, the time keeping is so ridiculously profound here, sometimes it’s hard to believe that the instrumentation is not being generated by a fucking software or something. It’s not – that’s a given constant. Origin make no mistakes, and this is what separates them from that ocean of talentless random guitar fretting death metal b(l)ands. What’s even more commendable about this album is the non-goresplattered yet sharply misanthropic lyricism under the subtext of cold-blooded savagery, vicious barbarity and relentlessness atrocity, all in the name of extreme hatred for humanity, lack of sympathy. And like that wasn’t enough, the lyrical verses and song segments have a very tight chemistry between them with respect to hand-in-hand overall rhythm emphasis. No dissonance, only consonance.

Section-wise dissection would be no further from revealing what may seem to be a flawless streak of incessant riff tornado utterly storming down a sonic assault, or something like that. The album opens with Lethal Manipulation clocking in, like the average song length of the album, at 2:26, and all the bolt in the air surges at you in one single neural blow! And then, soaring your way though colossal clusters of decimating riffs, you are greeted by Sociocide, which is a to-be-heard-to-be-believed category song. Maybe a few aeons ago was the last time I heard a death metal gem and fell in love with it in less than an instance…prior to Sociocide. Almost the entire length of the album is constructed in an array of song-writing similar, not similar in terms of structure, but similar in a sense of surface texture, to Sociocide. Pinch harmonics, sweep-picking, accentuated downbeats and the absence of rubatos & sharp key signatures are the highlights of Origin’s death metal brand. But considering that tri-harmonized synthesizer riffs and pinch harmonics are pretty common in (technical) death metal these days, Origin’s way of doing the same again distinguishes them from the lot and gives it a rather longed sense & expressionism. Another bit to be taken heed of is the opening of the song Disease Called Man - a soundclip from the movie The Matrix – Human beings are a disease. You are a plague, a cancer of this planet. And we…are the cure, soon after which all insanity breaks lose and mind-blogging metal discharges in abrupt proportions. The finale, Inner Reflections, comprises a shift of tempo towards the tail end which is unlike any other section the stretch, uniting three different vocal styles appearing throughout the album.

Origin, as mentioned earlier, is a quintet. This is one of the chief reasons for the flawlessness of their music, as every band member can concentrate on his field of instrumentation in it’s entirety, including vocals. Like most fans of this band coin their music, Original death metal underlines the coherently formulated and meaningful work of ingenuity. What was once known as the Utopian grade of musicianship has finally been materialized by that stature of death metallers who have deeply and acutely understood death metal along with it’s very purpose. Suffice it to say, it’s only this stature of death metal that thrusts forward the genre to it’s Herculean extremities, and then some more. Nine songs of implicitly deviated lineament all packed into one CD of rip-roaring Original diatonic digest rising above the mighty forces of the Universe. Melody is out of question, get fucking slaughtered!