At the end of last year, Origin braved the cold to open up for Gorguts on a two week tour, their last one supporting Entity. I'm sure the whole tour was mindblowing, but their gig at Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn was a rundown of reasons why Origin is the greatest death metal band around right now, as seen in the video above (time codes provided for easy scanning).
1 - Breaking the ice with stagedives (9:06)
Upon realizing that the epic "Wrath of Vishnu" wasn't getting the response it deserved, vocalist Jason Keyser knocks the audience out of its somnolent state by hand selecting an "icebreaker" - and chose possibly the least qualified person in attendance to stagedive. To the dude's credit, he went for it. When mighty Origin calls, you accept the charges.
2 - Mighty Origin found your keys (19:53)
Of course, jumping on and off stage and unto complete strangers does come with risks. Halfway into the set, Keyser holds up a set of keys that someone lost in the mayhem, and gives them back to their owner without missing a word. When did David "Hiphugger" Vincent ever do that? One expensive visit from the locksmith avoided, thanks to mighty Origin.
3 - Behold, the Silent Wall of Death (29:50)
Not for mighty Origin the usual moshpit shenanigans; when I saw them in 2011, they organized possibly the biggest headbang circle I've ever seen. This time, they introduced the "Silent Wall of Death" (taking some well deserved shots at Emmure and Winds of Plague in the process), and only started the madness of "Swarm" after the kids had already charged headlong into each other.
4 - They're playing in front of my old apartment
Anyone who knows me knows I fucking hate living in Malaysia. But I've never hated this godforsaken shithole more than while I was watching this concert - which took place in my old neighbourhood of Greenpoint, Brooklyn, less than 5 minutes from where I used to live. I could have put on my shoes, walked to Saint Vitus, watched Origin, returned home to make myself a sandwich, and been back to the club in time to see Gorguts' full set.
Seriously: Fuck this place.
5 - Their singer is hesher Tim Robbins
Remember the crazy European metalhead Tim Robbins played in Tenacious D: The Pick of Destiny? Take away that guy's bad teeth and European accent but keep the slapstick and deft one-liners, and you've got Origin's new frontman, Jason. And really, who wouldn't want metal Tim Robbins singing for their band? I don't recall any major outcry when James Lee was ousted; I liked Lee's vocals (and his looming stage presence) but the addition of Keyser has made Origin one of the most enjoyable live acts around.
6 - Guitarist Paul Ryan holds that shit down
Now the sole guitarist (and lead songwriter) of Origin, Ryan's sick riffage and flawless shredding holds the band together. AND he provides backing vocals. With imitators creeping out of the woods in recent years, Ryan may turn out to be the most influential death metal guitarist since Terrance Hobbs first introduced slow chunky breakdowns to the genre.
7 - Bassist Mike Flores is a good looking man
But maybe I'm biased.
8 - Holy fuck, John Longstreth
I mean seriously. Look at that guy play. He's beating that kit like it owes him money, and he's barely breaking a sweat. Keep in mind, this was only his first set of the night; he played a full hour with Gorguts right after this. Best death metal drummer around right now, with few challengers to that title.
9 - They're making death metal "Omnipresent" in 2014
2013 sucked hairy balls for quality death metal; it was only in the fall when Gorguts and Ulcerate dropped their albums that things started to turn around. Origin already announced their new album will be out by this spring, ensuring that 2014 isn't going the same way. With Behemoth and Vader also releasing new albums soon, this year is already looking like it's going to kick its predecessor's ass. Hail to the blast.
10 - They may be paying me a visit
A little birdie told me that plans are in the works to get Origin down to play Singapore and possibly Kuala Lumpur. I'll believe it when I see it - after all, nothing good ever happens here - but I'm fucking ready. I knew I packed my Origin hoodie three years ago for a reason.
[Thanks to Frank Huang for filming and uploading this video - more from him here and here.]