I’ll preface this review by informing listeners that there’s nothing wrong with their ears or how their brain processes sound and information; upon first impression, you’re not going to catch-all of the riffs and bits that Origin will throw your way on Unparalleled Universe (Nuclear Blast/Agonia). And that’s totally fine. Origin clearly wanted it to be this way. That or they’ve tapped into the musical sensibilities of a far more advanced alien race.
I’m starting to really consider the latter.
The mission statement on Unparalleled Universe is to create the busiest Death Metal album of the year and to definitively prove that drummer John Longstreth is not a human being. If Longstreth is a real person then how come his heart didn’t explode from sheer exhaustion on ‘Accident and Error’ or ‘Mithridatic?’ I am no physician, but it cannot do the human body well to furiously blast beat or rain double-kick fire with the same vigor as Longstreth does.
And this lightning storm of incessant beats, guitars and grunts carries on throughout all ten of Unparalleled Universe’s cuts. There are fleeting moments of temporary relief on ‘Cascading Failures, Diminishing Returns’ and ‘Burden of Prescience’ but those are served just to make the loud stuff seem even more imposing. ‘Burden of Prescience’ has windows for bassist Mike Flores to break through the mix and guitarist Paul Ryan to lay down some leads, but it’s all in service of a breakdown the size of a Cadillac Escalade.
‘Unequivocal’s near ten minute runtime also allows for tempos other than redline. Those moments, as brief as they are, permit for truly tasteful leads and even some blackened shoegaze licks. But ever the worker, Longstreth, all the while sits in the background abusing his drum pedals.
Origin is the type of band whom detractors will see their greatest strength as a weakness. A seasoned Death Metal fan hears intricate musicianship, but the layman will just say it’s the same song over and over. To them I say you are not quite ready yet, give it a few more listens.