The titans of inhuman warp speed, song complexity that could rival Quantum mechanics homework, and planet shattering brutality, ORIGIN reemerge with yet another Tech-Death masterclass on Unparalleled Universe. During the three-year touring cycle for 2014’s Onnipresent the band wrote majority of the new material while on the road.
The album starts off in a typically brutal fashion with the aptly titled “Infinitesimal to the Infinite,” which blasts off 16th note brutality at ludicrous speed, blurring the lines of what is even humanly possible for a metal band to perform. There are enough riffs and drum fills in this one song to possibly fill another lesser, or more human, band’s entire album. I don’t know how much coffee these guys drink, but the unrelenting speed throughout Unparalleled Universe certainly defies logic. There are moments that allude to some of their older material, particularly on “Mithridatic” which hearkens back to “Lethal Manipulation (The Bonecrusher Chronicles)” level of catchiness. The epic 10-minute track “Unequivocal” is certainly the most surprising tune found on the album. The first half, while still extreme, has a more thought out song structure (verse, chorus, verse etc) and somewhat melodeath tinged riffage. The latter half however takes this theme to its next logical extreme with a drawn out, completely epic outro that seems to be channeling classic metal with soaring melodic (uplifting?) guitar lines. This track really stands out from the utter chaos found on the rest of the material and serves as the perfect ending point for the record. It begs to be said however, that the cover of Brujeria’s “Revolucion” is a total head scratcher. While in and of itself, “Revolucion” is a fun song and the ORIGIN boys do it justice, its place among the other songs seems just plain odd and somewhat diminishes the epic ending of the previous track. The production is right up there with all their previous efforts, with the mix capturing clear and concise performances.
The album overall seems a little less produced than previous efforts, leaning towards a more organic sound. It literally sounds like you are in the studio listening to the band record live. I find this a preferable mix compared to other bands in the Tech-Death scene with ultra-processed guitars and drums where every rack tom sounds like a kick drum. This production really lends itself to showcasing each member: Paul Ryan’s insane trem picking and sweep riffs, Mike Flore’s popping bass lines, and Jason Keyser’s mix of high screams mixed with articulated growls. John Longstreth’s signature caffeine fueled hell storm of unrelenting double bass, blasts, and fills are in no short supply on this record, captured clearly and concisely in the mix. While Longtime fans should know what to expect from an ORIGIN album at this point in their career, all the hallmark elements the Kansas City/LA/NY crew are known for are all here in as fine of form as ever: face melt speed, otherworldly riffing, and breakdown’s heavy enough to tear the space-time continuum. While nothing here is technically breaking new ground for the band, the band does show some semblance of songwriting maturity with this record. Honestly this is a welcome change and hopefully a sign of things to come, but for now, ORIGIN prove to be seemingly unstoppable from delivering the goods.