Written by: MST on 02/07/2014 04:17:23

Technical death metal maestros Origin return this year with "Omnipresent", their sixth record. In my review of their 2011 album "Entity" I said that a major difference on the album was the change from previous vocalist James Lee to current vocalist Jason Keyser (ex-Skinless). I later discovered that the vocals on "Entity" were in fact done by guitarist Paul Ryan and bassist Mike Flores, and Keyser apparantly only joined the band after the album was recorded. What I'm getting at is that "Omnipresent" is in fact the first album with Keyser, the band's vocalist for the past three years.

The rest of the band remain the same though, so you would expect the album to be another display of mind-bending, impossibly technical yet deliciously catchy tech death metal. And it is, sometimes. "All Things Dead" opens the album in typical Origin style, with John Longstreth's inhuman drumming and the ever-changing riffs and bass lines coming from Ryan and Flores, resulting in a catchy and extremely entertaining death metal sound that avoids the technical wankery that often ruins these types of records. But then "Manifest Desolate" enters the scene with a much simpler template, sounding less technical and really not at all like Origin. You could argue that a song doesn't have to be technical to be good, even for Origin, but the song not being very interesting either is besides the point - it just feels oddly uninspired and unfitting on an Origin record. Add to that the fact that the production on this record sounds a lot less clear cut and more organic, almost to the point that it can be called old school, and things are getting weird.

But "Manifest Desolate" is not the only track with a different Origin sound; "The Absurdity Of What I Am" changes back and forth between blasting deathgrind, Ryan's impressive technical riffing and more traditional death metal structures. This time however, the song doesn't sound uninspired at all and along with the likes of "Source Of Icon O" it actually adds a lot to the likeability of the record. There's less emphasis on the aforementioned mind-bending technicality on these new types of songs and instead, Origin are moving closer to a more 'standard' death metal sound while maintaining their trademark speed. The entire album is a mix of your regular technical Origin insanity and this new Origin sound that focuses on more standard compositions, and while this could potentially be accepted if the album was consistently good, some of it is too hit and miss on this 12-track record.

It actually all kind of makes sense if you've been following Origin on their last couple of records. Where their masterpiece "Antithesis" was hypertechnical all the way through, "Entity" toned the technicality down a notch and made the sound slightly more accessible, as well as adding a bit of grind for good measure. "Omnipresent" is perhaps just natural progression for the band's sound, but I don't really like the new direction all that much. Plenty of bands play quality death metal with hints of technical show-off, but no one play technical death metal the way Origin did six years ago. "Omnipresent" is a decent record from a quality band who can do much better, but it might all just be in the direction the band have chosen to travel from now on.


Download: All Things Dead, Permanence, The Absurdity Of What I Am, Source Of Icon O
For The Fans Of: Nile, Hate Eternal, Deeds of Flesh
Listen: Facebook

Release date 04.07.2014
Agonia Records

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