It’s entirely reasonable to say that Origin are the most important thing in the entire state of Kansas, but for anyone who has been to Kansas, the declaration isn’t all that that impressive. Their work, however, speaks for itself. Three years ago, Entity absolutely wiped the floor with some of the most abrasive, technical, and impressive music the group has ever produced, and expectations for Omnipresent are naturally quite high. And they have been met. This album satisfies like few other albums this year have; it’s customarily mind-blowing and predictably grin-inducing and everything the metal world dreamed it would be, but despite the lack of surprises, it’s still inexplicably riveting. This intrepid foursome has got all the brains, heart, and courage one could ever ask for, and they’ve whipped up a monster of a whirlwind. Where it will land you is anyone’s guess.
Not a single moment on Omnipresent has been taken for granted. A band of this calibre could easily slack off and throw a few duds into an album and still expect great press, but Origin clearly have no intentions of releasing unfinished work. Take for instance the already released “Manifest Desolate”, which pairs scarring riffage at high speed with a rolling death waltz, and sandwiched in between the two there’s a groove permeated with a completely unprecedented yet somehow infectious vocal line consisting only of a harsh, wordless bark and some screams. It’s bonkers. ‘Unrestrained’ doesn’t do this music justice. It’s flat out obscene and will probably give me cancer later in life, but I’m going to be dosing it pretty much daily for the rest of the month at least.
Probably the most impressive aspect of this album, one that’s always been a strength of this band, is how incredibly diverse it is – every stop has been pulled out and there are no restraints whatsoever on the song-writing. Tracks range from a minute long to just under five and fall everywhere between spacey shred guitar solos and hard-hitting grindcore. No two songs have the same structure, yet they’re all unified in sound. It’s very clear, for instance, that the sweep-picking arpeggio manifesto of “Permanence” and the Napalm Death nod of the grin-inducing “Redistribution of Filth” are being performed (spectacularly, I might add) by the same band.
Just as with 2011’s Entity, Origin have decided to do the morally correct thing and have their album Mastered by the Black Wizard of Oz and best metal producer on the face of the planet, Colin Marston. This time, he’s mixed the album as well, and as anyone familiar with the man’s work has already guessed, the consequence of this choice is that album sounds fucking impeccable. Not only does Paul Ryan’s guitar work sound more punishing, intense, and knife-edge unstable than ever, but the bass packs more punch than a siege cannon. The blistering riffs and absolutely massive breakdown of “Unattainable Zero” allows Mike Flores to punch out marrow-liquefying basslines that solidify his presence on the album. Overall, there is of course a drum and guitar dominance and the two instruments play off of each other brilliantly, with blast beats and unbelievably fast cymbal work backing the absolutely unhinged riffing. The drums have also apparently been piped directly from the recording room into headphones live each time you listen to the album – their sound and depth is immaculate. And the most important Marston touch remains; despite this being an insane brutal death release, I could listen to it all day, because it’s not ridiculously loud and it is actually quite dynamic.
I could list a dozen extreme metal bands to try to describe how “The Absurdity of What I Am” or “Malthusian Collapse” sound, but I think it’s more apt to describe their effects on the listener. Few albums not written by Revocation have been this impressive, diverse and fun since the last (and hopefully not “last” last) Fair to Midland offering. Origin’s brand of brutal death metal might seem a world away from the anthemic, joyous, and brilliantly melodic prog rock of Fair to Midland, and boy is it, but Omnipresent and Arrows and Anchors share one extremely important attribute: their ability to make me grin and sing along and giggle with perverse glee over just how good they are. No matter how many times I hurt my neck or am forced to walk around in public grinning like a psychopath, I’m going to keep listening to this because it’s so habit forming that it makes cocaine look like kale.
Omnipresent is this year’s best brutal death release. Last year Wormed pushed the envelope with ridiculously catchy forward-thinking slam, but 2014 belongs to Origin for just being Origin and releasing yet another characteristically insane, unparalleled brutal death album. In a year of often-disappointingly gray and uninteresting brutal and technical releases, Omnipresent bucks the trend, flooding the scene with glorious color and walking blood-red all over its peers. One can only hope that other bands will dust themselves off and follow the golden path of Topeka’s finest.