posted on 6/2011 By:
Origin has long been one of the few technical death metal acts that actually start with the death before adding the technical. As a result, they have garnered the attention of many fans that would normally just reach for None So Vile or Annihilation of the Wicked again and again. The band reached a career achievement of sorts with 2008’s Antithesis, remarkably writing a collection of great songs while not giving up one iota of the riff tornado. After a (mostly inconsequential) change in the vocal department, the band returns with Entity. The album largely continues the journey they’ve been on for over a decade now, but nonetheless has to be seen as a minor disappointment after the monster they unleashed just three years prior.
The first act of Entity is a whirling cacophony of technical death metal glory – a wonderful combination of drumming virtuosity, sweep-and-tremolo-obsessed leads, and brutal rhythm riffs. Deserving special mention are the brutal groove in “Expulsion of Fury” and the way the circular lead riffs in “Swarm” really do sound like the drone of mechanical bees. These early tracks culminate with the epic “Saliga.” Beginning with a Middle Eastern vibe before moving into some relentless Decapitated force, the song weaves each section into the next in a way that renders it instantly memorable. Most remarkable is the climax: a flurry of razor-sharp Rigor Mortis-by-way-of-Nile leads, going straight for the jugular with a kind of majestic attitude that too many bands mishandle when attempting. The bittersweet side…
…is that this is the only track present that matches the best three or four songs from Antithesis. A short ambient interlude follows, clearly cutting Entity in two, and it is almost immediately apparent that the second half does not build to battle speed in the same way that the first did. First, the atonal stop-start nonsense that dominates “Committed” is a giant distracting turd that should never have made the final cut. Second, the band misses a golden opportunity by not expanding on one of coolest ideas on the album – the swirling intro to “Banishing Illusion” – instead dropping it quickly in favor of a rather bland sub-2-minute track. Luckily the final two tracks get back to what Origin is capable of, even if neither quite reaches the heights of “Saliga.” (Although to be fair, both come pretty damned close.)
And now for the bad news. Entity exhibits one of the most horrid, clicky, front-loaded drum sounds ever (even for the style), drowning out an otherwise decent job at the boards. An album’s production should never be a barrier; it should instead be something that you think about only after the songs have had their intended effect. With Entity however, an adjustment time is needed every time the album starts.
By no means is the production issue a deal-breaker. It can be overcome, and those who do so will find Entity to be yet another good – but not necessarily great – outing from one of tech-death’s better acts. Origin continues to keep in mind that the death metal side is most important, while also finding a good balance between outright wankery and classy expression in the lead guitar department. It might not be their most complete work, but even with the production issues it is miles past what many of their tech-death brethren could hope to conjure up.
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Echoes of Decimation
Informis, Infintas, Inhumanitas