Written by Ana Krunic
VANCOUVER – When speaking of the machine-gun speed, mathematically precise but still brutal auditory assault that is modern technical death metal, you can’t get very far without mentioning Kansas-based Origin. They’ve laid a lot of ground for tech-death with every album and their discography is a bit of a timeline of the evolution of the genre since releasing their self-titled debut in 2000. Picking up where the more brutal tech sound of the ’90s left off (think Gorguts’ Erosion of Sanity) and all the way up to this year’s Unparalleled Universe, you can hear Origin sharpening their aesthetic to a fine point and bringing us the more modern sound we hear today.
Primary songwriter and guitarist Paul Ryan looks back on his time growing up in the Kansas underground music scene fondly. “Honestly, it was fantastic. There was this place called the Outhouse that started around ’85 and closed in ’97. It was, like, in the middle of a cornfield and outside of any county jurisdiction so the cops never went there. In the early days it was mostly punk, so you could see bands like Bad Brains and GG Allin there. We’d have bonfires going and you couldn’t drink inside so you’d be drinking in the parking lot next to what was basically a shack. Eventually we started getting lineups like Gorguts, Cannibal Corpse and Corrosion of Conformity coming through when the place only had enough room for like 300 people. I pretty much grew up there seeing all these death metal bands so that’s where my love of extreme and underground music really came from.”
Origin has always had their sound, the common thread running through all of their work being that virtuosic speed-arpeggios as riffs and gravity blasts combined with their misanthropic and sci-fi inspired themes.
Their newest release, Unparalleled Universe, sees the almost prog influence that has shone through their last couple of albums peek its head out even more. “We’re trying to slow things down at times to kind of deepen the plot of the album. We’re on album number seven now and I don’t want to write the same music, play the same music. I guess you can say we’re kind of incorporating all of the styles we’ve done over the years, that we are a ‘mature’ band now, where the seasoning is starting to blend well,” says Ryan. “Sometimes I worry about whether we’re getting wimpier, that we’re watering it down or if people are just more accepting of our music… You know, death metal is supposed to be terrifying, you’re supposed to be scared of it. So, I still hope for that effect.”
Origin perform at the Rickshaw Theatre as part of the Bloodletting North America tour on November 15.origin, Rickshaw Theatre