Omnipresent review by Origin

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  • Released: Jul 4, 2014
  • Sound: 8
  • Lyrics: 8
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8 Superb
  • Users' score: 7 (12 votes)
Origin: Omnipresent

Sound — 8
As the lust for a "harder, better, faster, stronger" display of rock music has been present throughout rock music's lifespan, the metal world would be responsible for the pantheon of bands that have consistently raised that bar of intensity since the '70s. As trailblazing, guitar-shredding heavy metal would later branch off and evolve into meaner and more aggressive adaptations, we would also get to see (and debate) which musicians could besiege their instruments in a flurry of unmatched talent; and while those debates of "who's the best guitarist/bassist/drummer?" and "what's the best guitar solo ever?" will always be ongoing (how boring would it be if they stopped?), all arguments of personal preference are put on hold when the band Origin is recognized. Since the release of their debut self-titled album in 2000, Origin would be known as the most brutal of virtuosos, displaying guitar and drum finesse so skillful that it nearly transcends the physical plane. It wouldn't be until Origin's fourth album, "Antithesis," that the band's talent, which was relatively hidden in the nondescript area of Middle America, would get a well-deserved spotlight; and after continuing the momentum with their equally satisfying fifth album, "Entity," Origin have now released their sixth studio album, "Omnipresent." 

From the early tracks on the album "All Things Dead" and "Thrall:Fulcrum:Apex," Origin show once again that "Omnipresent" will be business as usual - grinding and unrelenting death metal chock full of pneumatic drum-lines and dazzling guitar sweeps and arpeggios; the drumming feels the most relentless in "The Absurdity of What I Am," and the bass commendably matches the spiraling technical guitar riffs tit for tat in "Unattainable Zero." However, Origin notably try out a different pacing throughout the album, and instead of "Omnipresent" traveling at a pedal-to-the-metal pace from front to back in the way Origin's earlier works have traveled, Origin take moments from the blasting and whiplashing power for breaths of sonic clarity. In interlude tracks like "Permanence" and "Continuum," both of which don't take longer than two minutes, Origin let the dust settle from the fury of the previous songs and show off crispy clean guitar talent amidst tranquil synth pads; "Obsolescence" does this as well, though drummer John Longstreth gets compelled to join in as well, much to the delight of the listener. "Redistribution of Filth" also proves to be somewhat of a "black sheep" track, where the first third of the song stays at a constant and tightly-formed thrash tune, which is perhaps the tamest form Origin has ever shown in their music. Sure, this may not be exactly what die-hard Origin fans are asking for, but as the song soon takes a turn into fleeting death metal, then into a more groove-worthy bridge section, the multiple dimensions to the track make it damn interesting.

Lyrics — 8
With touring-vocalist-turned-permanent-vocalist Jason Keyser being an integral writer for "Omnipresent," he has talked about how the album deals exclusively with a dichotomous concept of omnipresence, and the subject matter throughout highlights the reality that while humans have shown cut-throat ambition in the world to build themselves up to be what they are today, they can still be wholly obliterated in an instant - whether by natural forces or by our own callous undoing. Keyser critically points out the insatiable lust for expansion and growth of power right from the start in "All Things Dead" and sensationalizes it to depict the conscious killing of less-than-perfect organisms in order to attain biological perfection, and also sneeringly pulls the veneer to reveal religion being the man-made concept to inspire subservience in "Manifest Desolation" - though Keyser also acknowledges the other side of the coin with that topic, and duly admits that if the idea that the end of life is nothingness, the will of humanity would cease. Keyser also gets admirably angry in "The Absurdity of What I Am," which comes off as an unhinged, self-loathingly self-aware lament of humanity's innate barbarism despite the long timeline of historical accomplishments and advancement. Not only packed with the proper amount of rage, Keyser's lyrics are also well-articulate and intelligent, and shows off an impressive vocabulary as well as poetic tricks that extend beyond the simple AABB rhyme scheme - just the assonance that Keyser packs into "Thrall:Fulcrum:Apex" is a remarkable show of lyrical acrobatics ("assassinate galactic scale, a holocaust with just a single thought").

Overall Impression — 8
The role of Origin being one of the most intense death metal bands around today ends up being tougher than having to be able to perform all of the almost-physically-impossible songs they compose. As they continue to make albums that try to top one another in strength, the unnerving question that must be asked is "when will it reach a breaking point, and how will it be handled?" Origin answer this question by easing up a bit in certain moments after vicious aural onslaughts - like the echo after a giant crack of thunder - in order for those intense moments to have more value. While still showing the incomparable talent that Origin have instrumentally, "Omnipresent" isn't a non-stop hurricane of heaviness; it's a meticulously-made journey that is intriguing both in the energetic parts and the milder parts.

5 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Marcus 90
    I take that back, when listening to this album with an open mind, it really comes across as a great album, they took a risk deviating from their standard tech death, but this album will not please everyone, It's no Antithesis however songs like All Things Dead, Thrall:Fulcrum:Apex and Absurdity Of What I Am, those songs seem to have more of a tech death flavor, with the second song having almost a grind feel to it.
    Yeah, definitely more standard Tech Death this time around. It's not bad. But it's not mind-blowing either. /shrug
    Marcus 90
    It hurts saying this, but i really thought this album was mediocre, it's like they abandoned the trademarks that made them famous, the signature Paul Ryan sweeps i only heard in about two songs on the album, i understand they don't want to repeat the same sound on every album, but this album was really boring, it just seems like more of a brutal death metal effort than a tech death one, was really expecting more from this release it still has some solid songs though, like All things dead and Thrall:Fulcrum:Apex but all in all this is defiantly there worst album yet.
    I wish they would cut out the minute-and-a-half interlude crap they kept doing on here. Continuum and Obsolescence could have been great tracks if they really developed those rather than making them a little thing that just doesn't go anywhere. Otherwise the best track I would say was Redistribution of Filth, but that was extremely not Origin sounding, and in fact was almost a bit grindcorish in nature. In fact, all the best moments of the album were those times when they did not sound like Origin.