Echoes of Decimation

For some reason, Kansas’s Origin seems to be one of those bands the metal community has singled out for a rather undeserved level of internet harassment. Sure, on their self-titled debut they were a mindless vortex of speed, but on follow up Informis, Infinitas, Inhumanitas, I really thought the band improved and focused somewhat although still having the control of a runaway train.

So here is pivotal album number three and in my meager opinion, Origin has elevated themselves into elite status. Most naysayers will still claim the band is nothing but boring mindless speed, and upon initial listens, the aptly titled Echoes of Decimation will blow by you like a 26-minute spin cycle. New drummer James King is indistinguishable from John Longstreth and so Origin’s sound remains ridiculously fast, but after peeling back the preliminary blistering assault, with attentive listening, there’s actually a level of acidic technical harmony contained within the violence. Like the center of a tornado, Origin’s articulacy is hidden by a swirling fury, but the vitriol contained within the album has some really rather devastating melodies. Now I don’t mean layered eloquence or Gothenburg straining, but a biting staccato overlay to the blasting. Paul Ryan and Clint Appelhanz deliver a seething ball of spite, but it’s glossed with pretty much a squealing veneer that counteracts the searing speed with an acidic harmony-it’s almost black metal in its rendering. Still though, for sheer yet tangible decipherable speed, you’d be hard pressed to top Origin.

New death metal fans seeking a lumbering juggernaut of some mid paced pummeling had better avoid Echoes… as there are rarely any slowdowns whatsoever and after the merciless opening assaults of “Reciprocal” and “Endless Cure” only the brief yet still staggeringly eviscerating breaks in “The Burner” and “Designed to Expire” are the albums only respites. Pretty much though the album is top gear from start to finish with tracks like “Designed to Expire”, “Cloning the Stillborn” and the gut wrenching “Staring From the Abyss” (which really displays the staccato melody I’ve been terribly explaining) careen along with a gasp inducing yet still tangibly controlled pace; for those that play airdrums, your calf muscles will cramp and eventually explode if you try to follow along.

As intense and breathtaking as the early stages of the album are, the albums penultimate track is quite simply put, one of the most intense 3 minutes I’ve ever had the pleasure to sit through. The last blackened, squealing peak of “Debased Humanity” is some of the most bowel shatteringly intense moments I’ve heard in long, long time, and for the usually extreme yet forgetful Origin, has to be considered a landmark track that demands multiple listens (it’s one of the few tracks I can sit and listen to 10+ times in a row and still get a boner). In fact, the surprisingly lengthy closing title track is somewhat of an anticlimax compared to the prior track peerless intensity. I am far from a Relapse fanboy (I think Mastodon, Pig Destroyer and Dying Fetus and are hugely overrated) but simply put, at its base level, Echoes of Decimation is not just another tri vocaled, hyper speed, semi grind Origin album.

┬áThis album shows some restrained development and still has that brazen, hyper speed exterior that puts fans off for some reason. But in my eyes its genius in extreme form. It’s clinically produced and on Relapse, two automatic strikes for the so called underground, but on a musical level I’m not sure there are many bands (maybe Necrophagist?) that can blend this kind of technical intensity into listenable matter.

Decimating indeed.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
March 14th, 2005


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