Technical Tuesday

Technical Tuesday Four – The Origin Chronicles

This marks the fourth edition of Technical Tuesday, and also the first that I had to really search my brain for a clever title.

One band pretty much dominated the entire listening selection, making this week somewhat unfair on which band would be the victor, but the question of the album remains. For me, Origin is one of those bands I can listen to all day and never get tired of.

Origin – Origin The self-titled album showcased a band destined for either the metal hall of fame or the recycle bin, depending on the view of the listener. Origin started a line of love-it or hate-it records from Origin, and you can obviously see which side I am on. I enjoy the thickness of this record, the earthier and fiercer, yet more robotic sound, as compared to the more cosmic production in later albums. Released in 2000, I bought this album without ever hearing a song on it. I think it was my first technical death metal album, and it changed my life forever. This album doesn’t have many of the weedly-deedly moments the band has later become famous for, but instead a relentlessly rigid jackhammer of riffs and a wrecking ball of a drum set. In addition, the vocals sound absolutely barbaric. Origin definitely qualifies as a technical classic – I need to get on top of the writing that!

Origin – Informis Infinitas Inhumanitas A staple in the catalog, 2002’s III started to attract a lot of attention for the band. I was a little bit late in purchasing this record, but I had the song “Portal” from the Relapse Contaminated sampler. The aforementioned song is absolutely one of the best technical death metal songs of all time, and if you are a tech fan and haven’t heard it yet you should hop on over to youtube right now. (Have you listened to it yet? You shouldn’t have kept reading if you haven’t…) The re-recording of “Mental Torment” shows the band adding a bit more of the cosmic delivery, but the other tracks showcase Origin’s evolution towards the technical highrise throne they now sit upon. “Emptineeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeesssssss….”

Origin – Echoes of Decimation Perhaps I just wasn’t paying enough attention to the metal media at the time, but it seemed like critics and fans didn’t receive this album as well as the others. In 2005’s Echoes of Decimation  Origin  took to the cosmic/space sound, integrating it with the weedly squeaks and shrieks, to achieve the sound of an alien race bent on the destruction of Earth and enslavement of mankind. I really dig on the songs “Amoeba,” “The Burner,” and “Reciprocal” which all tech out quite suitably. I am a big fan of Echoes of Decimation, even if other people don’t seem to be.

Origin – Antithesis Antithesis, at least in the opinions of the critics and fans, is Origin’s swansong (at least for the time being). Everything came together perfectly on this 2008 album – the tech parts were over the top, and balanced by some (just barely) scaled down headbanging riffs; the songs had dynamic, memorable structures, even amongst high flying sweeps; and the production sounded like that creature from the album cover came from the void beyond. And is imminently headed for your house. I really enjoy “The Wrath of Vishnu” from Antithesis, and also the title track.  I remember seeing this high on numerous year end lists, including Decibel’s.

Origin – Entity I think Entity didn’t get the respect it deserved simply because it wasn’t Antithesis. Such is the curse of the great, I suppose. I bought this album the day it was released, and had absolutely unreasonable expectations for it… and I was not let down. The voice of Origin changed (James Lee was not on this recording), but Entity showcased shorter songs, with all the tech dissonance and weedles. I especially enjoyed the piercing guitar shrieks of “Committed,” which sound like the highest notes ever played in the history of music, and the dynamic song structure of “Saligia.” Rather than scaling back on technicality, it seemed like the band shortened song length, allowing for more blasting, and more sweeps. Excellent work – I should have put this higher on my best of 2011 charts.

Face of Oblivion – The Embers of Man Face of Oblivion features the vocals talents of James Lee, formerly of Origin, and seemed necessary to cap off my Origin day. Staff writer Inexorable Rotting doesn’t seem to agree with my opinion that Embers of Man fits snugly into the Origin catalog… I will let you decide for yourself. The Embers of Man shows a splattering of Origin, a splattering of Antithesis, and a big helping of brutal death metal, ala Fleshgrind. Songs like “Lecherous Indignities” slow the pace down, and even let melody creep into the lead guitar. Very Origin, yes, but also lots of other things.

Cephalic Carnage – Xenosapien Cephalic Carnage is another band that consistently puts out great albums. I have the band listed as grindcore, but their technical prowess is undeniable. Xenosapien was released in 2007, two years after my favorite album by the band (2005’s Anomalies). The band suffered from the aforementioned curse of the great here, as Anomalies is one of my favorite albums of all time. In contrast, Xenosapien is more technical, and in general, more alien. This is still a great album and definitely worth your time – Cephalic Carnage is always worth your money, especially live.

Spawn of Possession – Cabinet My recent project at work has been writing about cabinets. For 8 hours a day. For the last 15 days. Anyway, on this fateful Technical Tuesday, I completed cabinets, and sought to commemorate the event with Cabinet by Spawn of Possession. I really enjoyed the band’s latest release, Incurso, but Cabinet also brings the tech quite thoroughly. I really dig on the whole possession theme in the music. My favorite tracks from this album are “Spawn of Possession” and “A Presence Inexplicable” for those weird little haunting guitar bleeps.

Cephalic Carnage – Exploiting Dysfunction Cephalic Carnage refers to their music as “Rocky Mountain Hydrogrind,” and I think Exploiting Dysfunction really showcases that. The band’s second full length, released in 2000, is filled with drugged out grind madness, as well as some seriously technical moments in songs like “Rehab.” The riffs bounce around like someone in a straight-jacket in the asylum… on acid. I have been a fan of this band since high school, and I will continue to buy their albums on the day of release because Cephalic Carnage never ceases to evolve and impress.

 

Alright, the competitors are all weighed in and ready for the fight. So who is this week’s champion?

 

Origin’s Echoes of Decimation! Why? For me, this is typically the last Origin album I reach for, even though its better tech-death than 99% of the bands in the genre are putting out. I suppose the band’s other material overshadows Echoes of Decimation. However, on this listen I remembered that this album is top tier death metal, and definitely deserves more of my attention, especially songs like “Reciprocal.” What are your thoughts on this week’s champion? Or you favorite album? Or even your weekly Technical Tuesday pick from your own collection? Feel free to leave a comment and help celebrate Technical Tuesday!

 

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2 thoughts on “Technical Tuesday Four – The Origin Chronicles”

  1. I totally agree with EOD being an unsung hero. As you said, the only reason people don’t appreciate it more simply is because it is not ‘Antithesis.’

    Still no Origin in Face of Oblivion? It’s definitely different, but really, nothing? I could see the Beyond Creation comparison, minus the prog side. When I first read that, I misread it, and I thought you were saying that James Lee fronted Beyond Creation in reality. Now how awesome would THAT be?

  2. “For me, this is typically the last Origin album I reach for, even though its better tech-death than 99% of the bands in the genre are putting out. However, on this listen I remembered that this album is top tier death metal, and definitely deserves more of my attention, especially songs like ‘Reciprocal’.”

    Completely agreed. ‘Echoes Of Decimation’ is the unsung hero of Origin’s discography. When Origin’s brought up in casual conversation with other metalheads in my neck of the woods, it’s always either about ‘Informis Infinitas Inhumanitas’ or ‘Antithesis’. Seems like a lot of people just sort of pushed EOD aside as ‘that album before Antithesis’ which is a crying shame because it deserves so much more appreciation. I love the track ‘Designed To Expire’ too.

    Outside of James Lee, I don’t really hear any Origin in Face Of Oblivion. I don’t think that’s such a bad thing though; if anything, they remind of a slower, groovier Minnesotan Beyond Creation with James Lee fronting, which is pretty awesome if you ask me.

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