Origin - Antithesis
Relapse Records
Brutal Death Perfection
10 songs (42:10)
Release year: 2008
Relapse Records
Reviewed by Goat
Album of the year

BOOM!

That is the sound of a reviewer’s head exploding shortly after he has inserted the new album from Kansas-based Brutal Death machine Origin into his ears. Fine, it has always been a good band, staking out a little patch for itself in the widely incestuous Death Metal garden, but never before has it been this good. Just to tease you a little: this is the fourth Origin album since the band’s formation in 1997. This is the first Origin album to be longer than half an hour, clocking in at over forty-two minutes in length. This is the first Origin album with a nine-minute track on it (yes, you read that correctly). This is the first Origin album that made me gasp in astonishment at what I was hearing.

It’s hard to initially put your finger on just what it is about Antithesis that’s so damn impressive, but the return of original drummer John Longstreth is a good start. Although the album before this, 2005’s Echoes Of Decimation, was good, it ultimately felt like just another band playing Death Metal, albeit doing it very well. Here, something’s changed. A barrier has been broken; the chains of confinement have snapped. Origin has taken a step forward in every way possible, a step forward in technicality, a step forward in brutality, and interestingly a step forward in songwriting prowess. For the first time ever, the tracks here are songs as much as they are constructs of mind-bending brutality. In fact, on a Death Metal level Origin has outclassed another band that up until recently was the unspoken king of technical trainwreck music – yes, Origin now occupies the place that once Cryptopsy held. The difference is that where prime Cryptopsy was much like a train crash, Origin is like being consumed by one of the vast Chthonic space-monsters on the cover – and then being vomited up and eaten again!

That comparison is not made lightly. The level of technicality on show is unbelievable, the speed and skill of not just Longstreth but guitarists Paul Ryan and Jeremy Turner are at a level that most musicians could labour at for years without attaining. We’ve been spoilt in the past few years, us Death Metalheads, with a wide variety of skilful players of the genre releasing some excellent music, so much so that many probably have difficulty with distinguishing one from the other. Well, no longer - Origin now occupies a class of its own in the Death Metal genus.

The opening torrent of The Aftermath crushes without mercy yet allows enough melody to creep in that the experience is a joy – the twisted guitar leads partway through give an epic sense to proceedings that’s never been so vivid. There are no weak or filler tracks whatsoever on Antithesis, and despite the longer running time and individual track length, the music isn’t weaker as a result. Added to this is what might be the perfect production, clear enough for all instruments to shine, with guitars at the front, vocals slightly behind, and the rhythm section bringing up the rear. It melds wonderfully, and those that live for the next Death Metal fix will find more than a syringe’s worth of ecstasy here.

All of the songs deserve time and attention, but it’s the aforementioned nine-minute closing title track that is the ultimate highlight. Far from the ‘three-minute-song-with-six-minutes-of-silence’ that was dreaded, it is in fact the band’s nadir moment to date, the perfect blend of epic brutality and catchiness, with one of the few samples on the album used to perfect effect. Although there have been hints before, it is clear now that Origin is become death, destroyer of worlds, a colossal monster that will obliterate all that stands in its way. There may well be a better album out later in the year, and there may well have been a better one earlier – but Antithesis is enough of a masterpiece for yours truly to enthusiastically declare it Album Of The Bloody Year, in Death Metal terms if not Metal as a whole.

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Goat quoted 94 / 100
Other albums by Origin that we have reviewed:
Origin - Entity reviewed by Goat and quoted 85 / 100
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