Released: 2014, Nuclear Blast Records
Reviewer: Peter Atkinson
Singers may come and singers - and various other members, for that matter - may go, but Kansas tech-deathsters Origin sally forth and soldier on. The band’s sixth album, Omnipresent, marks the debut of their fourth vocalist – the iron-lunged Jason Keyser, ex of Skinless – after essentially doing without a full-time singer last time out. Guitarist Paul Ryan and bassist Mike Flores handled vocals on 2011’s Entity and the band didn’t really seem to miss a beat – even with the departure of second guitarist Jeremy Turner.
With the longstanding core of Ryan, Flores and drummer John Longstreth – who’d also been playing with Gorguts since 2009 – behind him, and performing to their usual skull-scrambling standards, Keyser’s given a pretty solid foundation to work with on Omnipresent. And he gets right to it, bringing the opener “All Things Dead” to life with an authoritative roar before his bandmates go all ape shit.
Granted with the instrumental dexterity Origin so often display, who's singing probably matters little to the average listener. But Keyser's commanding presence, precise cadence and feral delivery add some undeniable oomph to the band's spastic, elastic death metal and contrast nicely with the backup screams of Ryan and Flores - a la Napalm Death's Barney Greenway/Mitch Harris. And his sub-guttural, almost vomitous croak on the brief, Cattle Decapitation-like barnstormer “Thrall:Fulcrum:Apex” is as cool as it is horrific.
As far as the music goes, Omnipresent sees the band continue in the somewhat more streamlined, less uber-technical direction they slowly began heading in with 2008's Antithesis. There are still plenty of dips and dives and twists and turns here as Ryan and Flores chase Longstreth's strafing run drum patterns – and Ryan's soloing is a fleet and flashy as ever. But the songs are even a bit more, well, song-like, with memorable riffs and coherent structures in comparative abundance.
“Redistribution of Filth” boasts an almost hardcore chug between blast-beat fits and “Malthusian Collapse” offers some Obituary-like groove. “Unattainable Zero” slows the pace even further to ride Ryan's beefy hooks. Yet if it's all-out tech-death insanity you want, look no further than the screeching histrionics of “The Indiscrimate” or the stampeding “The Absurdity of What I.” They'll fry some synapses for sure.