Thursday, July 17, 2014

Origin - Omnipresent

Ever since 2002, Origin has stuck to an every-third-year album release pattern due to the extensive touring they do. Well, come 2014, three years after releasing their masterpiece Nuclear Blast debut, Entity, Origin is back with Omnipresent. First thing that should be mentioned about Omnipresent is that it’s the first Origin album to actually have ex-Skinless vocalist Jason Keyser. Because it’s hard to make sense of the frequent lineup changes many of these bands have, I assumed that Entity was Keyser’s first appearance on an Origin record, obviously I was wrong (even though my copy of Entity is signed by Keyser). So now that we’ve got all misconceptions taken care of, Omnipresent is Keyser’s entrance into the Origin discography and..well...the lead vocals don’t sound very different at all from the vocals on Entity or any of the other albums.

That’s probably the most shocking thing about Omnipresent, Jason Keyser doesn’t bring anything new to Origin’s sound. He could’ve been their vocalist all along, or there could be some unnamed person that’s secretly been doing the vocals on all of their studio albums this whole time! It’s like Keyser fits in Origin a little TOO perfectly. To some, this may come as a very irritating factor, but for me, although it is disappointing, I moved past it fairly quickly because…well, if you’ve ever listened to Origin, you would understand. One last thing on the vocals I would like to point out is that this is the first Origin album to feature a guest appearance! Yes, that’s right; the first track features guest vocals from the one and only Chris Wilson! Seeing that the only three bands he’s been in (Jesus Corpus, Troglodyte, and Opaque Notation) are all from Kansas City, Missouri, one can probably figure that this guy has probably been buddies with the guys in Origin. Supporting evidence? Not really that much other than that Topeka, KS (home of Origin) and Kansas City, MO (probable home of Chris Wilson) are very close together. So those really nasty grindcore-sounding shrieks in the first track are probably Chris Wilson since you don’t hear them anywhere else on the record. Okay, moving on.

Origin is a band that has stuck to the same basic formula for the duration of their career and hasn’t felt the need to stray away from it (yet?). Bands that remain very consistent with their sound are very hit or miss because they need to have a sound that leaves room for enough different songs and that has A LOT of replay value. Every Origin album is better enjoyed as a whole because all of the songs sound so similar that they almost just blend together. Lucky for Origin, their sound has a lot of replay value and has helped them achieve a lot of success. Their sound really never gets old, but what I AT LEAST like to see is to have the instrumentation sound different on each album. So maybe you have a finer, cleaner guitar distortion and not quite as much bass in the kick drums on one album and then have a really loud, crunchy distortion with the kick drums pounding you into the dirt on the next album. You see what I’m saying? They can change shit around and make everything sound different without straying too far from their musical formula. Origin hasn’t really done much with this; when listening to their entire discography on shuffle, it’s hard to tell exactly what album a song is from based on how it sounds (except for Entity, which has a much cleaner and more polished sound).

Now that I’ve at least attempted to explain that side of Origin, we now come to the big downside to Omnipresent. It is literally Entity part 2. While listening to it in my car a few days ago, I couldn’t stop thinking how much literally everything about this new record sounded like Entity, so I decided to put both Entity and Omnipresent on shuffle, and aside from a few of the popular tracks from Entity (Expulsion of Fury, Swarm, and Purgatory, to be exact), I literally could not tell the difference between the two albums; they literally sounded like they were all part of the same album. I’m okay with Origin’s method of having the same exact musical formula on every record, but could they at least have bothered themselves to mix Omnipresent differently enough to where it didn’t sound like an Entity re-release? I can’t call this a lack of creativity and originality (heh) because that’s not what these guys are about; they’re not trying to be super innovative and unique, they’re just sticking to the sound they know and love best. I have heard albums by the same band that are mixed exactly the same, but have musical differences, which is okay, but this really bothered me the first few times I listened to it.

Aside from that somewhat major (to some) downside, Omnipresent is exactly what you expect from Origin. Blistering speeds, inhumanly fast blast beats, fairly monotonous, but extremely technical guitar/bass work, and undeniable tightness for the duration of the record. Origin fans will love this, and although I love it too, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to compare this album to Entity because it basically is Entity. And yes, although I am giving it a lower score than its predecessor, this is an amazing album that I would recommend that you pick up if you feel the need for more of Origin’s sound. I guess I just really expected something a little more from these guys than what they delivered. I would give this 16/20.