by Adrien Begrand
We at Hellbound could go into great detail about exactly how Origin‘s fifth album differs structurally from 2008’s attention-grabbing Antithesis, but in the end that hardly matters. You know exactly what Entity is going to be like, you know it’ll be yet another punishing, technically proficient exercise in technical death metal at its finest. With a musician as talented as guitarist Paul Ryan at the helm, that’s a given. Nah, what matters more about Entity, more than any other album in Origin’s discography in fact, is its mood.
Seriously, when was the last time you ever heard a death metal album as genuinely fun as this one? Of course, it’s all too common for death metal bands to sound as imposing on record and live as humanly possible – it comes with the territory – but while Ryan and his Topeka, Kansas-based band do sound formidable, you can practically sense they’re all wearing big, goofy, ear-to-ear grins as they play this stuff. In fact, as blasphemous as it may sound, it’s damn near playful as the band performs with an ebullience you simply never hear enough in extreme metal, from the frenetic opening riff of “Expulsion of Fury” (dare we say, Liturgy-esque?), to Mike Flores’s wicked bassline of “Swarm”, to the maniacal 85 second “Purgatory”, to Ryan‘s nifty little ascending and descending riffs in “Saliga“. If there ever was technical death metal that embodies the classic, Exodusian phrase “friendly violent fun”, it’s this.
In addition, it’s impossible not to love the album’s 36 minute running time. Too many technical death metal bands overplay their hand, choosing to show off longer than most of us have patience for, but Entity‘s no-nonsense approach is a hugely refreshing deviation. The songs are a lot more concise than we‘re used to, even from Origin; sure, we do get a pair of solid, modest epics in the six to seven minute range, but the bulk of the record is in the one and a half minute to four minute range. That self-restraint and the band’s undeniable positive energy culminates in two wonderfully quirky minutes on “Committed”, an insane little piece of whimsical brutality loaded with nutty atonal riffs that feel more Melt-Banana than Morbid Angel and strange little syncopated frog croaks of lead vocals. It’s strange yet absolutely irresistible, a perfect encapsulation of the entire record‘s charm. Tech death fans, Entity‘s your feel-good hit of the summer.