Omnipresent Review

artist: Origin date: 07/14/2014 category: compact discs
Origin: Omnipresent
Released: Jul 4, 2014
Genre: Technical Brutal Death Metal
Label: Agonia Records, Nuclear Blast
Number Of Tracks: 13
Continuing to showcase the cream of the crop tech death metal talent, Origin also strike a healthy balance of energy and atmosphere in "Omnipresent."
 Sound: 8
 Lyrics: 8
 Overall Impression: 8
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overall: 8
Omnipresent Featured review by: UG Team, on july 14, 2014
2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Sound: 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. // 8

Lyrics: 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"). // 8

Overall Impression: 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. // 8

- Sam Mendez (c) 2014

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