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Origin - Unparalleled Universe Award winner

Unparalleled Universe
by Andrej Romić (Nekrst Fanzine) at 14 August 2017, 10:14 PM

The colossal titans of incredible, brain-smashing technical brutality are back! Ever since their start in 1997, the originally Topeka, Kansas and later Kansas, California, New York-based Technical/Brutal Death Metal quartet has never really stopped even for a moment, and all of their releases managed to prove that fact. From their debut EP in 1998 “A Coming into Existence” and until this very day, they managed to release only full-length albums (excluding the debut EP), which proves that the band doesn’t fuck around too much.

The very first full-length the band released was a self-titled album simply called “Origin” and it was the start of a punishing career that the band couldn’t know for sure, but could’ve only assumed. Working with Relapse Records on most of their albums (on instant classics from the beginning of the millennium in 2000 until 2011) they definitely managed to climb to the top and proudly say they have become one of the pioneers of their highly critically acclaimed genre. Releasing some of the most amazing albums at the very start of their career such as “Informis Infinitas Inhumanitas” -which remains a concrete solid record until this very day – and “Echoes of Decimation”, or one of my personal favorites “Antithesis”, all in addition to “Entity”, “Omnipresent” and finally, the brand new one – “Unparalleled Universe”.

The band has always managed to rise above the current state of cool and kept kicking people in the face with their skull-smashing and blood-chilling sound, which always remained original, creative and super-fast on every single release they have put out. Although this year marks their 20th anniversary as a band, it shows that they still have a lot to produce and I am definitely looking forward to that.

What could this new album hold for us speed-obsessed maniacs? After all those previous albums, can they still surprise us? I am definitely certain about that, and the following will be a presentation of every single song on the new album, which consists of ten tracks total; with one being a cover.

One would think ORIGIN would start off things nicely – but who wants that? Nobody! “Infinitesimal to the Infinite” kicks right off with superb riffs of the best kind, provoked by the legendary Paul Ryan, who has been with the band from the very start, giving it the element they need; and although he has made some previous guest appearances and such, he mostly puts his focus on his main band. The bass is played to perfection by yet another key member Mike Flores, whom you might know from GORGASM and TROGLODYTE. He manages to keep up with the guitarist (which, let’s be honest, is not an easy task), delivering the sharpest licks and making the bass do things no bass would ever want to; nobody wants to be his bass guitar, for they probably don’t survive longer than one concert. Of course, we shall not leave out the phenomenal blast-beat drumming of John Longstreth, who has been in a lot of bands but some of his highlights beyond ORIGIN include CRATOR and UNMERCIFUL, with both of those bands also releasing new albums lately, and I assume that you’ve recognized his drum work from them. Last but not least remains one of my favorite vocalists in the genre, the legendary Jayson Keyser, who apart of being an excellent musician is a really cool guy, supporting lots of causes when touring and just simply being too cool for you. Not counting his work on all the albums with this band, he also delivered the strongest SKINLESS album in my opinion titled “Trample the Weak, Hurdle the Dead”, and is also a member of the previously mentioned CRATOR. The first song on the album certainly sounds promising.

The second song “Accident and Error” - which has a super cool lyric video on Youtube - stoked the shit out of me when it was released, making me want the album even more. Apart from being a super sick song, it features the maddest vocals the vocalist has ever done, the sharpest and cleanest bass licks, and the most audible riffs and drums; it is only the second song but it will surely give you what you need. Although this new album was released through Agonia Records and the band is signed to Nuclear Blast Records, that little collaboration shows that this album is worth picking up in your nearest record store. The artwork is mad, but the music is not even near that word. Apart from being fast, it slows down just to blast you in the face with the amazing atmosphere that needs no introduction. I am slightly reminded of their latest album, but not a lot, which proves that the band takes the time to write original music; still, this music will give you nostalgic vibes of their early years, stoking the hell out of you.

Another track that all of us could’ve heard before the album’s initial drop was “Cascading Failures, Diminishing Returns” and the vocals here sink so low, to a point where hell is across the street. The mostly dominant growl-based brutal hammering vocals, the high-pitched screams that keep agonizing your ears to death, the extra-crispy drumming, everything is perfect, and I mean it. You probably know those extreme try-not-to-head-bang challenges on Youtube, well I am sure any song from this album will outdo any of those. This is madness, and if you don’t slightly move yourself whilst blasting any track from this album, you’re torturing yourself physically, and why would you even do that? The songs are amazing!!!

The third track offers speed and brutality at 70% of it, but the end is the most exciting part because all instruments get toned down, and they slowly fade out until absolute silence kicks in, how brutal is that? Pretty brutal to me! “Mithridatic” must be the track astronauts jam whilst travelling to Mars, because the song itself is incredibly alien themed, and I’m not saying this because I read the lyrics or anything, but the track itself gives you complete creeps and goose bumps, and if the amazing instrumentation isn’t enough, try focusing on the overall atmosphere, which is beyond creepy. Although the lineup of the band changed somewhat throughout the years - and there is no doubt that those members were as much part of the band as the current ones - I think that the current line-up seriously can’t be topped, and although “perfect” doesn’t really exist, I refuse to accept that, because I was just listening to a perfect album, by a perfect band.

Truthslayer” enters with a sick short drum solo and tasty bass lines that are followed by insane vocalizations that keeps beating records in strength and massiveness. Although all tracks vary between the two, three and four-minute marks (except for the 9th track), I still have a feeling they are too short, in a positive way, because I just can’t stand having them end so quickly. You won’t be putting too much focus on the track lengths though, since you’ll be too busy getting brainwashed by speed-of-light-reaching technicality.

We’re past the first half of the album, and I already have a need to say that the wait for me and a friend of mine (and of course every single one of you who has an interest in this band) was definitely worth every single minute. “Invariance Under Transformation” is unlike any song on the album, and instead of focusing itself on speed, it’s more straightforward brutal and crushing. The riffs are chunky and slow, jumping around and giving you a song to headbang to. Of course the start can’t describe the entire song, since it does speed up when needed, but yeah, in general it’s more of a slow-paced song, which is definitely a welcome rest after the first five of them. Around the end the riffs are going crazy, so pay attention, for that’s my favorite part.

Dajjal” is as weird as it can humanly get, and instead of brutality, this one is completely technical, which is a thing that I adore. The vocals are insanely long at the start and the growls make you go for the wall for no apparent reason. As sick the vocals get, the instruments follow as if it was an order. There are also lots of older vibes here, reminding you of the last few albums.

A Burden of Prescience” has a nice little intro, not leaning too much towards Death Metal, and the whole song is really groovy.  What comes next is the last original track on the album (before the cover) and the last one to feature the band’s vocalist before giving the microphone to a special guest. Also, get stoked (if you weren’t already), because this track is a special one; it is nine minutes and fifty-four seconds long! Wow! “Unequivocal” starts off with dominant and epic sounding riff work, which gives you such a mighty feeling, almost putting you in a role of a universe dominating entity. The vocals get super sick right at the start, and the overall atmosphere is extremely spaced out, literally. This track is a nice, but is also sick way to “end” the album with Jayson taking on the role of the vocalist.

Here comes the tenth track, titled “Revolución”, which surely everyone knows is originally performed by BRUJERIA, and is from their second full-length album titled “Raza Odiada”. What’s special about this cover is that the vocals duties are handled by a brutal female called Jessica Pimentel, whom you might know from a show called Orange is the New Black or from her underground(musical) side in bands such as ALEKHINE’S GUN or DESOLATE. The cover starts with a riff that reminds you of the US National Anthem, and is later taken over by sharp drumming and screaming guitar riffs. The vocal lines are brutal growls that savagely performed by Jessica! I could say the cover was good, but I’d be lying – it was destroyed! She nailed it perfectly with her amazing vocal performance.

I was amazed by this album. The overall performance, the precision of every single instrument, all those bizarre vocal performances too… it’s just beyond words. If you’re still unfamiliar with the band by any chance and you like NILE, BRAIN DRILL, HATE ETERNAL or VIRAEMIA, definitely give ORIGIN a thorough listen, although brace yourself for pure awesomeness of the best kind, a kind you have never experienced in your life. So make sure to pick the new album up, it is beyond savage.

Songwriting: 10
Originality: 10
Notability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

1.Infinitesimal to the Infinite
2.Accident and Error
3.Cascading Failures, Diminishing Returns
6.Invariance Under Transformation
8.A Burden of Prescience
10.Revolución (BRUJERIA Cover)
Paul Ryan - Guitars, Vocals
John Longstreth - Drums
Mike Flores - Bass, Vocals
Jason Keyser - Vocals
Record Label: Nuclear Blast Records


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