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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.