“Masturbatory” is a great term to employ for mediocre tech-death. A major connotation of that word is pornography, which causes regular viewers to chase a high ever more filthy than the last. Eventually, so-called “regular” videos aren’t enough and something more extreme is needed, and those niches are filled by people who have surely disappointed their parents to the point of utter despair. Unlike pornography, tech-death isn’t a grave symbol of moral rot; my comparison here refers to the need for something ever more extreme, more difficult, and more seemingly impossible than experienced before. This brings us to America’s Origin, one of tech-death’s darlings. 2014’s Omnipresent was good, if not a bit forgettable; Kronos would greatly disagree with me on this, I’m sure. One thing we could agree on was the stunning amount of technical skill displayed by guitarist Paul Ryan and his nearly virtuosic crew, but is this warrant to care?

In terms of sound, little has changed in the Origin camp since Antithesis. The excessive hyper-blasting, the tandem bass and lead guitar sweeps and taps, the switch to chunkier riffs before going back into hyper-technicality; it’s all here in fine enough form. Of course it’s more restrained than Brain Drill (really, what isn’t?), but Origin still traffics in very clinical chaos. I never get the feeling that Ryan is going to flub a single note of a riff or lead, nor do I ever hang on the edge of my seat thinking that maybe, just this time, John Longstreth might lag behind or even lose the beat for a millisecond. This is controlled demolition as opposed to early Wormed’s runaway Hellfire missiles.

The most interesting ten minutes on Unparalleled Universe comes in the form of “Unequivocal.” It houses a latent sense of consonant melody, which is not something Origin is often given to. There’s something more concrete, more interesting, more human going on here than on the rest of Unparalleled Universe, and it’s the space-y Hate Eternal type chorus riff that hammers this home to my ears. While still technical, it’s more tremolo-heavy than sweep-, tap-, or arpeggio-heavy, making the transition to what sounds like Origin’s take on Dethklok-styled melodic death metal not just fitting but practically necessary. Ryan’s guitar is the clear focal point, almost in spite of Longstreth’s fill-heavy window dressing, culminating in a soaring and wholly consonant lead that sounds much brighter and hopeful than Hate Eternal’s gut-punch closer leads. The effect of this finale is, unfortunately, almost nullified by a so-so cover of Brujeria’s “Revolucion” rudely stumbling in immediately after. As if to add irritation to injury, “Revolucion” circa 2017 predictably uses samples of President Donald J. Trump because one wholly unnecessary Brujeria song unflatteringly referencing the forty-fifth President isn’t enough. The Hendrix ripoff “Star-Spangled Banner” butchery in the beginning is a bit lame as well.

There are other compelling moments on Unparalleled Universe, but fans will expect those, devour them, and impugn my rating below while detractors or the ambivalent will go about their merry way. I’m in the ambivalent camp, and “Burden of Prescience” is illustrative as to why. Basic and uninspiring Florida-style tremolo riffing is made “tech-death” by an arbitrary sweep flourish at the end of each repetition and incessantly technical drumming that verges on overplaying. Later, a decent slam riff rears its head and Longstreth essentially does an extended drum solo over it and then heads full-bore into blasting over that riff played via tremolo instead of palm-muted chords, nuking its effectiveness entirely. Origin embraces the groove later, but the surprise contrast has been revealed, fell flat, and then gets introduced again, rendering the whole enterprise not very compelling.

Like most of their other work, Origin’s latest doesn’t do much for me. Their technicality is bland compared to Cryptopsy, and their brutality is nowhere near early Decapitated or Hate Eternal. They do have their niche, but it simply isn’t one I care for. “But why would you review this album?” would be a valid question, probably asked by people who yearned for a much higher rating. Does it really matter what any of us say, though? Would it make a difference in anyone’s enjoyment of Unparalleled Universe had I given it 1.5 points higher? This is competent death metal that leaves me cold, but will doubtlessly please others.


Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 9| Format Reviewed: 256 kbps mp3
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Websites: facebook.com/Origin
Release Dates: Releases Worldwide : June 30th, 2017

Share →
  • Me

    Entity was the only album I bought from them because of Expulsion of Fury but the rest of the album did nothing for me. I tend to like their singles though. Like Brain Drill they’re more fun to watch than listen to.

  • Brent Johnson

    Spot on review. I want to like these guys more but tend to start tuning them out. Can’t deny the talent but it’s like wankery for it’s own sake.

    • KBien13

      Agreed. I always pick up whatever new album these guys release and am amazed at what they’re capable of…..for 3-4 songs. Then it all seems to get a bit redundant.

      • Brent Johnson

        When it comes to tech death, Obscura is my go to.

        • Drew Music

          Indeed, Earthbourne Evolution is probably my single favorite tech death song. That bass… That bass!!!

          • Ferrous Beuller

            Isn’t that Beyond Creation?

          • Drew Music

            Holy shit you’re right, that’s how much I’m into tech death. I’m pretty sure I do like Obscura, but Beyond Creation is definitely the band I was thinking of. Oh well, back to my ANCST in shame I go.

          • Ferrous Beuller

            Don’t worry – Beyond Creation are a better band, anyway…

            YEAH, I SAID IT.

            Cosmogenesis and Omnivium are cool records, though.

          • Jeff Manteiga

            Taking it you weren’t a huge fan of Akroasis?

          • Ferrous Beuller

            I didn’t hate It, but it sacrificed song writing for progression, which resulted in a lack of cohesion. Also, I thought it sounded flat as hell.

          • Thatguy

            And it’s true. Beyond Creation are so much better.

          • Meriyas

            I saw Beyond Creation live in Brisbane and they were incredible! The Aura is definitely one of my favourite albums of all time.

          • Bryan Natusch

            That generic snoozfest of a band?

          • Drew Music

            Having taken to the interwebz in order to understand my failure, I saw the cover for Omnivium and immediately remembered constantly making the same mistake when Earthborn Evolution was new to me. I may never learn, but I guess at least I’m consistent?

          • [not a Dr]
          • Drew Music

            I’ll take it.

        • GWW

          GOROD!

  • Jason

    Should I cross them off my “must-see” list for Summer Slaughter this year?

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      Only after you see them.

      • Jason

        So they’re worth seeing? Otherwise I’d just be going for Black Dahlia and Dying Fetus.

        • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

          I have never seen them, but I would go see them just to see if they’re able to pull off live the stuff the do on records.

    • Scourge

      Absolutely not! The only reason I like these guys is because they happened to be playing before someone else I went to see and they absolutely killed it live!

  • Drew Music

    Tech death is usually music for guitarists by guitarists, masturbatory is pretty spot on. I might love going to Noodle Town, myself, but I’m never all that thrilled about watching/hearing others do it.
    Just like tech death.

  • Joshua Walker

    I origin-ally didn’t want to give this a listen, but I figured I should give it a try. I like it*, but not near as much as Antithesis.

    *I may never listen to it again.

    • Kill The King

      I’m thinking I laughed way too hard at that pun.

  • rumour_control

    Sigh.

    • Hideous destructor

      Yes, Sigh are good.

  • welyyt

    I love tech death, but for some reason, the constant, hyper-fast blastbeating doesn’t do anything for me, and it makes the songs blur together.

    The single is alright though, and these I love these 360 visualizer videos: they’re completely useless and aesthetically unappealing.

  • Wes Allen

    Paul Ryan–Speaker of the House and guitarist extraordinaire.

    • Stark__Raving__Mad

      Paul Ryan (not that one)

      • Reese Burns

        You’re a Jim Sterling fan, I take it?

    • Kronos

      He should guest on the next Scott Walker album.

  • But is it brutal enough?

  • Martin Duhaime

    Sometimes, I like to be overwhelmed by a wall of unstoppable blast beats, screams, guitar and bass work. I like when it’s loud (yeah, I know about the DR score thing: lowest = bad) and almost one-dimensional. Still, I think Origin is a good band to floor you with intensity. For me, It helps take away stress and pressure that’s been accumulating over multiple hard days’ work.

    Personally, I enjoy very much their records. I just pressed “buy” to get this latest plate, and I think I’m gonna enjoy it very much, and even more as I’ve seen their play-through You Tube video; these guys play fast, and they seem to be good at playing their instruments, I mean in terms of virtuosity.

    Like we say in French: “All tastes are within nature” (Tous les goûts sont dans la nature).

    Cheers.

  • IndignantN00b

    I keep expecting these guys to fall off–their last 3 were all excellent to my ears, and there aren’t many bands that nail 4 in a row. That said, they stand heads above most other tech death and I’m excited to give this a listen tonight. Artificial Brain aside, there hasn’t been much tech this year to sate me.

    Don’t like the cover tho. Looks too similar to the new Suffo cover, which is also bland.

    • Brent Johnson

      Do you listen to any djent? Look up Divitius and see what you think.

      • IndignantN00b

        Aside from Meshuggah, not really, but I’ll give it a listen!

  • Scourge

    I demand a Kronos rebuttal!

    • We’ll activate the Kronos Signal forthwith.

    • Kronos

      3.0, Brutal enough.

  • KBien13

    I really got into these guys around Antithesis and Entity but haven’t really cared for much after. This brand of metal does tend to get monotonous to my earballs. I generally end up reaching for one of Soreption’s albums when I need a tech-death fix these days. They seem to care as much about the song-writing as they do about the technicality which is something I sadly can’t say for many in the genre.

    • Death_Black_Metal_Fanatic

      Couldn’t agree more. I heard Antithesis, liked it, bought it. Then when Entity came out I bought it, listened to it, and thought “yeah I don’t think I’m into this style anymore”. If you’re into hyper fast tech-death, this is definitely one of the better bands out there. I guess I just lost my taste for that genre very quickly.

  • Tym((e)))

    Thank you Scourge!! Would love to know Kronos’ thougths on the new Origin. 4.5 on Ominpresent, which was absolutely warranted as that record kicked ass. Please give us your thoughts, Kronos!!!!!

  • “But why would you review this album?”
    i would hope that people don’t ask this question. if enjoying an album was one of the criteria for writing a review, all of them might be invalidated.

    amazing review! i loved Antithesis and Entity, and consider them to be the Origin crown jewels. the rest, as they say, can safely be flushed.

    • JeremyZero

      It is a little weird for someone who clearly isn’t in to the band or genre as a whole to do the review. Kind of guarantees you are going to get a “meh” at best.

      • Christopher

        I can get behind it for genres, but not for individual bands. “I like this band” should never factor into whether or not someone writes a review. Perhaps an inherent negative bias can be just as bad, but I trust the reviewers here to write reviews based on the album itself, as opposed to the band.

  • Tym((e)))

    KRONOS!!!!! Please give us your thoughts on the new Origin!! Omnipresent kicked ass!! 4.5 for sure. Kinda crazy you didn’t get this review in light of your previous rating anyway but….no hate here. Diabolus is great, just don’t think this record is 2.5. No way…….

    • Flyingguillotine

      Agreed on Omnipresent… I love that album.

  • One More Thing

    I’ve noticed that brutal music seems to me more about a state of being rather than a per song basis. Nothing is surprising when you’ve got the full picture in the first 30 seconds. As I still retain some ADHD from my childhood, it’s harder for me to appreciate this stuff. Artificial Brain, Wormed, Fleshgod Apocalypse, all these are great to my ears, but Origin leaves me bored midway through each track. Great write up, Diabolus!

    • Andrew Fawcett

      Funny enough, that’s why Origin is my tech-death of choice. They widdly-wee as much as anyone else, but unlike the rest, they’re not afraid to actually ride out a riff. Techy stuff suffers too greatly from said ADD, imo.

  • Felchmeister777

    Soulless, forgettable wank. The sooner this tired, misguided sub-genre fucks off, the better…

    • Bryan Natusch

      The sooner you do too.

      • Felchmeister777

        Suck my arse flaps you greasy twat…

        • Eldritch Elitist

          You should probably get that looked at.

    • Planex

      Just embrace the wank. It’s a lot like power metal in a way.

      • Name’s Dalton

        Flagged

  • PanzerFistDominatrix

    The pornography metaphor is fun though obviously untrue. No, if you buy Hustler you don’t necessarily end up watching Japanese tentacle-and-scat-rape to get hard. I started wanking to pretty girls getting (brain)drilled and I still do.

  • AndySynn

    Solid enough album (and band) but no match for the new Decrepit Birth.

  • Flyingguillotine

    Omnipresent is my favorite album of their’s. I feel the need to listen to this one several more times before I can decide where it places. But I do agree “Unequivocal” is the song that stood out upon initial listen.

  • GWW

    I don’t get the porn and beating off analog in music. WHo is beating off? The listener? The guitarist? There doesn’t seem to b the least bit of sexuality in Tech Death. It’s showing off chops, chops worship, vanity and pride of technique maybe, but SEX!? I don’t see it at all. You can’t even fuck to Origin.

    • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

      It’s about needing more and more extremity over time. You read too much into the sex thing, you dirty dog.

      • You could have just responded: “I am.” LOL!

    • Lone Biker of the Apocalypse

      You sure can – but I’d imagine you’re really, really sore afterwards.

  • Kill The King

    Are you sure those niches are filled by only those kind of people?

  • John Mosley

    The very point of this album is wankery for its own sake. This is their schtick. I’ve never been so disappointed in such a bullshit low rating on this site before. Damn.

  • 12tonehead

    Excellent review that made me realize how more ambiguous I about this band than I want to admit (cognitive bias, yes). That one phrase “Basic and uninspiring Florida-style tremolo riffing is made “tech-death by an arbitrary sweep flourish at the end of each repetition and incessantly technical drumming that verges on overplaying”.nailed the essence of why ultimately Origin never stays too long in my rotation despite initial excitement. Well done and thanks for the very well written review.

  • Bryan Natusch

    This is what the music scene has become. A bunch of entitled spoiled pricks. Everyone is a music critic but probably can’t play a damn note of it.
    I don’t care if you don’t like it, but when you start disrespecting someones art-fuck you!

    • Lone Biker of the Apocalypse

      One could argue that writing a music review is an artistic expression, (just look at that creative pornography metaphor!) so by criticizing this review, you yourself are disrespecting someone’s art.

      Hmmmm…

      • Name’s Dalton

        Round and around we go… until the whole damn thing collapses in on itself.

    • El_Cuervo

      Dear Mr. Bryan Natusch,

      Thanks for your complaint. As you know, customer satisfaction lies at the heart of what we do here at Angry Metal Guy. We treat any criticisms or recommendations with the utmost sincerity and shall consider your comments carefully. Your issue shall be assigned to one of our specially trained customer satisfaction team who will get back to in 7-10 working days.

      Our deepest apologies and best regards,
      El Cuervo, Customer Satisfaction Line Manager

    • mtlman1990

      Waa burger and french cries. If you want a safe space as an artist, don’t release it to the public.

    • Nukenado

      Art is made to be judged by the public. A piece of art deserves to be disrespected by subjective opinion if it wants subjective praise. To judge a piece of art is different from judging the artist, and thus the art should not have the protection from attacks a person has.

  • Dion Ka

    Personally love the new record just because of the fast technicality. I don’t mind the songs blending together. I enjoy the experience of the whole album origin album just like the last one. It’s no easy listening but i like it.

  • Just a thought, did you check out or get into the Crator album that came out toward the end of last year? Similar to Origin but Longstreth dials back the drumming a bit, the guitars are a little skronkier but more straightforward and with Colin Marston’s crazy bass playing all over it. Like a darker, murkier version of Origin and I like it a lot.

    • Name’s Dalton

      It’s really good!

  • Here’s Johnny

    Nope.

    Best since Antithesis(which is essential DM listening)…i knew this review would be a waste of time from the start. Nice to see you admit so at the end.

  • Count_Breznak

    Better than Omnipresent, but there is that Archspire album approaching…..

  • Chase Emory

    Not a single mention of the production. Origin, one of the few bands in metal that still has decent dynamics! Omnipresent was more squashed than Antithesis and Entity, but this is a return to form with all the tracks being DR 9 or DR 10.

    Hail Space

  • Nukenado

    I enjoy a guitar wankfest as much as I do impossible Japanese cartoon porn…
    So this sound right up my alley!
    That said, this doesn’t quite live up to the listening exprience I got from listening to Cryptopsy… I’ll stick to that for my tech death days, but this is alright. It’s not just the guitars that sound good, the band’s competetent. Like the review said, it just leaves you cold, and that’s fine.

    But… I still want to ask the question…
    Why did you review the album? Kronos is still alive and kicking, and he reviewed the last album… Doesn’t AMG have a rule of having the same reviewer review a band’s work?

    • Kronos was unavailable for part of the summer so we had to delegate to another reviewer. He’s back now and will be reviewing much tech-death.

      • Nukenado

        Oh… that explains it. Hoping for more BRVTALITY now he’s back.

  • Smart US

    uhh this review is more brutal than the album! as a big fan of Origin I also struggle to get them post-Antithesis. Composition wise that early Napalm Death grind-core just does not work for me. Someone once labeled band Beneath the Massacre as having punk influences…really – they are hard to spot – Origin has very much of punk / hard core… and empty chug riffing. i’d say they go with the flow and this is easier to dance to than proper technical death metal… the chorus at the end of the CD is like “my kindergarten first tonal chord progression”

    my most fav band of late in this genre is Omnihilty – the compositions are tight – albums are tight and uniform and of course Beneath the Massacre.

    Origin is 5/10 for me.

  • Unequivocal is such a terrible song and sticks out like a sore thumb… like a discarded B track from Ashes of the Wake….