Echoes of Decimation
posted on 2/2005 By:
As opposed to clichés as I am, I cannot help but say that Origin and I have a special love-hate relationship that stretches back to their self-titled Relapse debut, and continues up to full-length number three, Echoes of Decimation. As a drummer I was completely sucked into the fantastically technical, effortlessly competent, and thoroughly unique percussion work of John Longstreth (who has since been replaced on Echoes by the near-equally talented James King, ex-guitarist and current drummer for Unmerciful). However, as a person who appreciates well-rounded musicianship it wasn’t long before the sterile, atonal (but always tight) guitar work and constant tri-vocal attack had me taking prolonged breaks from their music. Nevertheless, I was intrigued by the unadulterated aggression and rhythmic fluency and found myself anxiously awaiting Informis Infinitas Inhumanitas. Here their song writing took a needed step in the right direction and I found myself enjoying not only the dizzying percussion but also their more frequent use of technical and somewhat melodic guitar work (all of which comes off sounding like a well-tuned swarm of bees or harmonizing chainsaws) and better song structure in general. These latter developments have, for the most part, carried over onto Echoes of Decimation, but not without a noticeable amount of sterility and lack of musical diversity that are my main source of criticism regarding Origin’s sound. Needless to say, they have again upped the ante in the world of brutality, technicality, and speed, further developing their unique grind/death metal vision.
Anticipate no introductory sound clips or ambient effects here; opening track “Reciprocal” blasts off with ultra-fast blast beats and guitar work that keeps pace, immediately keying the listener into the fact that there will be no foot-tapping or playing of air-guitar along with this beast—it’s just too damn fast. As I hinted above, technical musicianship abounds and, coupled with a delightfully clear recording that allows most every instrumental nuance to come through, Origin effortlessly demonstrates their playing abilities. However, I never doubted those abilities for a second. What I have come to doubt is Origin’s desire to introduce any level of variety or range in their music beyond the ‘go, go, go, fast, fast, fast’ approach. Five out of nine tracks on Echoes of Decimation are under two minutes and thirty seconds long which, given Origin’s habit of linking together multiple parts at breakneck speeds and packaging them into relatively short spans of time, should give you a good indication of how at least half of the album plays out. Numerous sections of the album display Origin's instrumentally superb musical prowess and are capable of holding together some excellent tracks, but to a noticeable degree the exploration and creativity found on Informis Infinitas Inhumanitas has been exchanged in favor of (unbelievably) more speed than on earlier releases. The songwriting brings to mind Carnal Forge-style song structures transposed onto Origin’s sound; four or five really catchy parts bottled into a short burst of energy. I can foresee there being people out there who, like me, will have a problem with this movement towards shorter and faster songs, but there will also be plenty of people who welcome the subtle but noticeable change. Either way it’s all done very, very well.
If you enjoy either of Origin’s previous releases, especially Informis Infinitas Inhumanitas, chances are you’ll find enough on Echoes of Decimation to wet your appetite to a satisfactory degree. Due to its pulse-raising and frantic nature, making it through the twenty-six minute album in one sitting may induce some sort of anxiety disorder, but taken in small doses there are numerous golden moments that make for a solid release. Being that this is their third full-length album, I am more concerned about the direction of future releases than I am about their current efforts. The sound Origin has completely immersed themselves in has the potential to grow stagnant in the near future, and I’m sure there are some out there (myself not included) who feel this prophecy has already come to pass.
Register to post comments.
Informis, Infintas, Inhumanitas