ORIGIN’S ANTITHESIS: SUPER TECHNICAL DEATH METAL YOU CAN ACTUALLY LISTEN TO
Here’s the reason I’m so often turned off by super-technical death metal: the bands just get lost up their own asshole showing off how amazingly skilled they are as musicians, and forget to, y’know, write a fucking song. Even if your lead singer can make his voice sound like the most bowel-blasting bloody diarrhea ever, at the end of the day, the ability to play really complicated shit on your instrument really, really fast isn’t that impressive if what you just played made no impression on the listener. In other words: just because you seem “tough” doesn’t necessarily make you any less ridiculous than Yngwie of DeVille or whatever other EVH wanna-be you’re so ready to ridicule.
What make Antithesis, the latest offering from Origin, so friggin’ good, then, is the fact that songs are really memorable – and, yeah, the band can play the fuckin’ shit out of their instruments.
In the May 2008 issue of Decibel, guitarist Paul Ryan admits that his playing is so full of sweep picking that someone needs to “get a dustpan.” But Ryan allows a certain amount of hookiness and melody to remain; on the best songs on Antithesis – “The Aftermath,” “Wrath of Vishnu,” and “Finite” all come to mind – it almost sounds like Ryan and his band mates have taken standard death metal riffs and played them as shredtastic single notes instead of thick meaty power chords. It’s the equivalent of sticking a playing card or baseball card in the spokes of your bicycle wheel rather than just letting it all blend together into one spinning metallic glean. That’s fucking brutal and impressive.
And then there’s the nine minute-plus title track that closes out the album. Holy crap, is this song a beast. It’s just relentless, a rabid dog that wants to tear your fucking jugular out. As you would expect from a epic of such size, the song is constantly shifting, evolving, and introducing new riffs – but each riff is somehow more memorable (and more pummeling) than the one that came just before it. The song is, in and of itself, a reason to own this album – ’cause as good as the rest of the disc is, it blows away every other song you’ve heard up to this point, every other song Origin has ever written, and maybe every other tech-death song you’ve heard in recent memory. The bad news is that this is the song every other Origin song will be judged against from now until the end of time; the good news, it’s the song all of their peers will now be judged against as well.
So basically, everyone is completely fucked.
(four out of five horns)