Sorry about the delay. I’ve been moving, so I’ve been without internet for a bit (I know, excuses). I’m thinking I should start a “quality control” series on the blog where I take universally praised albums and see what I think of them. The problem is that I usually find them so dull that it is hard to come up with a whole blog post worth of things to say.
Origin probably needs no introduction, but they are a death metal band with a technical edge. This was another of those releases that got all around praise, so I decided to check it out. Let’s start with the good. Colin Marsten produced it, and he is a genius in my mind (I’ve been loving Indricothere recently which I missed last year). Needless to say, the production is quite good. Especially compared to some of the tech death releases this year. There’s actually a dynamic range!
I also really like the succinctness of the album. It clocks in at 37 minutes. There isn’t a lot of technical wankery you might expect from a band known for its technical playing. They really keep the songs cut to the essentials. There is a great focus and clarity to each song that comes from this. They’ve been around long enough to know what they need to do, and they do not go overboard anywhere.
Despite all this, I just can’t get into it. I’m somewhat baffled by the exclamations on the blogosphere that this will be album of the year. I get what Origin are doing, but I’m somehow left underwhelmed by it. The main praise is that the band can pull off grindcore, death metal, prog songs, etc so well, and hence we should be impressed with their diverse skills. I usually praise this type of thing as well. But I’m impressed when a band can mix genres seamlessly.
In this case, each song (that’s a slight exaggeration) seems to be in a different genre, so the result feels weird to me. There is nothing seamless about it. They play one thing. It ends. Then a totally new things starts up. It is clear they are excellent at their instruments, and some of the technical feats do draw me in. But I get to the end of the album and find it hard to think of anything that was truly memorable.
And that is the problem with my overall impression of the album. I’m just left feeling like I’ve heard it all before. It is very good, but unmemorable and disjointed. I know a lot of people feel differently. I plan to give it a few more listens, but I just don’t see it soaring to great heights for me. Overall, I give it a 6.5/10.
Here’s a sample: