Unparalleled Universe

Well Nuclear blast definitely has a busy summer ahead for brutal United States Death Metal Releases.  Between Origin, Suffocation and Decrepit Birth I wonder which one or two or all three will be on this year’s Summer Slaughter Tour. Time will tell for sure.  One thing is for sure Kansas’s Origin are not wasting any time and are not holding anything back with their seventh Full Length album Unparalleled Universe. Having followed this group for almost twenty years now these guys have been one of the bands at the forefront of Brutal Technical Death in the Midwest. Coming from Topeka Kansas, Origin also holds the distinction of being tied closely to the group Unmerciful. I will go more in depth on that point later on in this review.

The trademark Origin sound wastes no time sucking listeners into their sonic whirlwind of sweeps, taps and gravity blasts with “Infinitesimal to the Infinite”.  Paul Ryan’s arpeggiated tendencies are on all force as well Mike Torres’ left and right hand bass work which is truly outstanding and well locked in with what Ryan is doing throughout.  John Longstreth’s trademark drum sound is one display throughout and at times I wonder if he one taked all of these songs.  This is Jason’s Keyser’s strongest performance to date and i would say that this release is the best one yet with this lineup. I think the challenge I have listening to this release is that is the fact that Unmerciful released an album just last year featuring John Longstreth on drums.  Granted, Ravenous Impulse and Unparalleled Universe have a much different sound on the whole from one another it gets back to the whole “who is the most tech?” or “Who is the most brutal?” I feel like Longstreth has done an excellent job playing to his strengths on all of the releases I have heard from him and the more I listen to this the more I dig the album.

You can hear the influence of Gorgasm on Origin on tracks like “Accident and Error” which ascends and climbs with a similar sense of visceral dissection.  The influence of Stabwound Intercourse is strong with Topeka.  No one will doubt the chops of these guys.  They have been doing this professionally for almost over two decades. I think this issue I have had with the last few Origin records is missing the presence of Jeremy Turner currently of Unmerciful (Ex Cannibal Corpse).  As much fun as it and a huge part of Origin’s sound that Ryan’s playing is the lack of contrast between a rhythm and lead player has been present for quite some time.  Now, fans of Origin might have no problem what sound ever with this release and might find no flaws with it others like myself might have been striving for something different with Unparalleled Universe but what I have released is that these guys are really playing to the best of their abilities as songwriters and this album truly does get better with each listen. “Cascading Failures, Diminishing Returns’ is one of my top two strongest tunes on the album.   Opening up with a space traveling fretboard intro from Paul Ryan the track quickly transitioning to a pit inducing stomp part.

“Mithridatic” might be one of the grooviest tracks on the album and does an excellent job of batting clean-up for the remaining upcoming six songs on the album. Opening up with a chaotic blend of dissonance thundering blasts from John Longstreth this track builds nicely into a nice groovy build up section to foreshadow Paul Ryan’s super catchy and groovy triplet riffing. Longstreth’s tom work is on point here and he does a fantastic job balancing the blast sections and the groove sections which feature his awesome cymbal work.

“Unequivocal” is the granddaddy opus on Unparalleled Universe at ten minutes kicking off with riff work that sounds like it came off Informas Infinitas Inhumanitas. Keyser’s vocal work might be strongest on this tune and I must say the song arrangement is well done for such a massive death metal song. Origin finish up their latest effort with a fun Brujeria cover of “Revolucion” which I will leave up to you to grade as far as their approach and execution of that specific given track. Overall though this is a much stronger record than their last. It may not be the best Origin record but it definitely is by no means their worst.  I would encourage fans of this to also check out Umerciful’s Ravenous Impulse so that they can try to enjoy both bands but also hear the subtle nuances and similarities of both groups.  It is going to continue to be a busy year for death metal folks so I would say that if you are a fan of Origin you should be very happy with this release.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Nick K
July 10th, 2017


  1. Commented by: Red

    I need to pick this up, I’ve only heard a little bit of it, but I liked what I heard. Definitely interested in a bit of Gorgasm influence, Stabwound Intercourse & Bleeding Profusely were some straight up killer death metal. Gonna go see Unmerciful in just a couple weeks also. those guys always put on a good show. \m/

  2. Commented by: Jay

    Killer, on point, ace review of this Nick. I was just about to respond to the post in the site’s back-end you wrote me back but finally got down to giving this a good read and thought I’d start here. You really painted the vibe of this one with killer details.

    So far I’ve only jammed the preview track and I really like it. Feels like this line-up has locked tightly into place. I got a copy mail-ordered, so I’m looking forward to giving it the front to back treatment. They’re still in my top 10 bands on the technical side of the style and it doesn’t seem to change. Hopefully I’ll get to catch the new formation live as the old model was sundering in person and John is always a blast to watch.

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