Origin- Omnipresent

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Like most metal bands that have been around since the late 90s, Origin has gone through a fair deal of changes. Not only has the technical death metal group been through lineup changes (especially when it comes to the vocal position), but they have moved from the sheer speed and technical onslaught of their first few releases to a combination of technicality and traditional/brutal death metal. While I certainly have an appreciation for the sheer amount of ability and over the top compositions that made up their earlier albums, I found that Antithesis and Entity had a nice balance between crazy technicality and memorable riffs. Three years later, Origin is back with Omnipresent which is their first with ex-Skinless singer Jason Keyser. Keyser was technically in the band when Entity came out but was unavailable for recording, so this is the first studio effort he appears on. The band has gone through another stylistic shift, as there are more brutal death metal sections than before and overall Omnipresent isn’t quite as in your face about its technical riffs when compared to before. It’s a decent death metal release, but as an Origin album there’s something missing and it feels like these guys have lost a little bit of their identity in their attempt to branch out.

Omnipresent does start off in a fairly familiar fashion, as the opening track “All Things Dead” has the speed and technical, constantly changing riffs that one would expect from Origin. But as you progress through the album, it becomes clear that this is going to be a slightly different experience from the band’s previous releases. Compared to what they’ve done before this material isn’t always as in your face with its technicality. That’s not to say there aren’t crazy moments that don’t match up, but they aren’t the focus on every single song. The instrumental work had transitioned into some traditional death metal styles and brutal death metal’s slower, groove heavy breaks as of the last two records, but I felt like Omnipresent had more of an emphasis on this than ever before. It’s not a bad idea, as it does make the band a bit more accessible to those that may have found the constant technical flourishes a bit too impenetrable. But the problem is that when Origin does slow things down and heads into this territory, they start to lose their identity and the riffs aren’t quite distinguishable enough to differentiate them from so many of the other death metal bands doing the same thing. As a result, you have a slew of technical riffs that grab your attention and then slower ones that blur together. It’s not necessarily bad, as this is still an album I’ve enjoyed spending time with as a whole body of work. But there aren’t the same type of individual moments that stood out like there were on the group’s previous records, which makes it have less of an overall impact.

Jason Keyser’s debut recorded performance with Origin is an impressive one, and he helps to fill out the low end considerably. Mike Flores and Paul Ryan split vocal duties on Entity, and they now contribute backing vocals in between Keyser’s lower growls to add a considerable amount of diversity. The instrumental work may have been a bit hit or miss in my opinion, but this was an area where I thought the group had taken a considerable step forward. They’re able to switch things up so frequently that it works to their advantage, and with three members contributing vocals Origin has the low and high ranges completely covered. With that being said, that doesn’t mean that Keyser is overshadowed though as he delivers truly intense growls that are on par with what he did in Skinless.

I still like what Origin has put together on this release, as there are some moments that were able to wow me as I made my way through. But there wasn’t quite as much happening on Omnipresent that stuck with me, and even after listening to it every day for the past week and a half the guitar work isn’t in my head nearly as much as it was with Antithesis or Entity. I can appreciate the group’s attempt to change things up a bit and explore the brutal death metal side, but they could still add a bit more of their own spin to it. As it stands, this still isn’t a bad death metal album by any means and I’m sure there will be plenty of listeners who will appreciate it, but taken within Origin’s discography I think they have done better and are still in a bit of a transition stage right now.

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