Informis, Infinitas, Inhumanitas

“Anyone who isn’t dead or from another plane of existence, would do well to cover their ears, right about now.”

This superbly appropriate sample from the move “Dogma,” opens the song “Inhuman,” on Origin’s second album, Informis, Infinitas, Inhumanitas. Never has a sample been so fitting. I’ll be the first to tell you, I wasn’t impressed with Origin’s self-titled debut album, but whatever Origin have done between releases should be cloned by every band, as Origin has unleashed one of the most intense, technically extreme, musically complex and monstrous albums of the year.

 Let me tell you a story. Being born and raised in England, I had the pleasure of serving in the British Military. One of the common weekend exercises was to be crammed into a small Armored Personal Carrier and be carted around rough terrain at high speed, get out, run a great distance, while flashbangs and blank rounds went off in the immediate vicinity. The whole experience left you physically exhausted, overloaded with adrenaline, sore, a little scared and with pounding ears. Listening to this album had the exact same effect. The first thing that struck me in rapt attention was the everso clever and rare use of samples; somewhat of a contrived medium with the extreme metal genre (and Relapse bands are notoriously bad at overdoing samples). Rather than the easy methodology of simply chucking in some obscure sample from a zombie flick no one has ever heard of, Origin samples share the same cerebral mentality of their music. Only two samples are used, the aforementioned “Dogma,” and a subtle Tom Cruise quote from “Interview with a Vampire.” This may seem a little trite, but I’ve also got Engorged and Gorerotted in my possession, and when every song begins with a sample it gets old; Origin use far more discretion and it impacts the entire album.

 On to the music, if you’ve not heard Origin it’s hard to describe. It’s ultra-fast, yet inhumanly technical death/grind that’s aggressively cerebral and played with cosmic awareness and skill. To lump it in with the hordes of zombie-obsessed, gurgle core grind bands would be a criminal. The term “Ultra-core” or “Uber-metal” would be more fitting. To listen to this album is not easy – it has hardly any instantly catchy riffs or breakdowns. It’s all out aggro-tech speed that’s layered thick with multiple stop/start riffs, triple screamed/growl vocals (though not the caveman grunts), and drumming that defies human physics. Imagine if Theory In Practice played grindcore, and it’s a small idea of what’s on display. What aids the entire assault is a clear production where every single riff, pick, beat and note can be fully absorbed, rather than mucked up in muddy guitars and downtuned noise. It’s hard to pull out individual songs within the 28 minutes of extremity, as the nine songs are all similarly paced (read: fast as fuck), and overtly complex in their delivery. You don’t just listen; you simply are a helpless audio bystander as the tidal wave of hyper-blasting and convoluted riffs pound your ears and brain into oblivion. You might even have a hard time remembering any of the riffs after the initial few listens. It’s like being hit by a car. In the immediate aftermath, you know realize you’ve been hit by a car, but the exact details are a blur of pain and noise (yes, I have been hit by a car).

The only song that comes remotely close to death metal predictability is “Awaken the Suffering,” with its stuttering opening salvo and almost straightforward closing riff, and yet it still blows away foundations of accepted death metal composition and structure. Even the odd moment of controlled escapism such as the “breakdown” (I use the term loosely, as basically Origin slow down a tiny bit) in “Meat for the Beast.” Although slower than the rest of the songs, drummer John Longstreth continues his insane fills, and although the riffs are slower, guitarists Paul Ryan and Jeremy Turner insist on inserting a serpentine twist or staccato lick almost every second. How a riff can be slow, yet complicated is beyond me, but Origin do it effortlessly. I would love to describe each song to you, but this album often defies mere words. It has to be experienced. My only complaint is that the Origin’s sound is so tight and focused on the drums and guitars, the bass is almost nonexistent. With the rest of the music being so adventurously savage, I would have expected the bass to have more of a dominant experimental presence instead of simply following the rhythm. It’s a small point on such a mind-blowing album, but worth mentioning.

If you tire of grindcore with cartoon covers (not that there is anything wrong with that), Origin are ready for you to enter their mind-numbing world of otherworldly musicianship. The only question is are you ready for them?

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
June 11th, 2002


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