Music / Origin

Origin is an American technical/brutal death metal band. Characterized by their incredibly fast and technical music and the extreme proficiency of all their instrumentalists, as well as their tendency to focus on cohesive songwriting a lot more than their contemporaries, Origin has become one of the biggest names in technical death metal over the years, having played multiple high-profile festivals and headlining tours.

Formed in 1997 in Topeka, Kansas by guitarists Paul Ryan and Jeremy Turner (the former not to be confused with the politician of the same name, obviously), the band quickly picked up Clint Appelhanz (bass) and Mark Manning (vocals), along with George Fluke (drums) shortly after. This lineup would go on to release a demo, though Fluke and Appelhanz left soon after and were replaced by John Longstreth and Doug Williams, respectively. This lineup was the one that gained them a contract with Relapse Records and released their self-titled debut; in the time between their debut and their second album, Manning and Williams left and were replaced by James Lee and Mike Flores. For a while after, the band continued to go through numerous lineup changes, though things finally settled down after Lee left; as of now, the lineup consists of Ryan, Flores, and Longstreth, along with Jason Keyser of Skinless fame on vocals.


  • A Coming Into Existence (1998) - demo/EP, only release with Fluke
  • Origin (2000)
  • Informis Infinitas Inhumanitas (2002)
  • Echoes of Decimation (2005) - only full-length to not feature Longstreth on drums, with James King (of later Unmerciful fame) taking his place
  • Antithesis (2008)
  • Entity (2011) - only release without a dedicated vocalist, with Ryan and Flores assuming duties
  • Omnipresent (2014)
  • Unparalleled Universe (2017)

The band provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Achievement In Ignorance: Mike developed his signature bass style through something akin to this. As a child, he wanted to play guitar but was regularly prevented from playing it due to being grounded, so he just opted to pick up his father's bass instead. When he started playing bass, he used his fingers to emulate using a pick instead of plucking like most fingerstyle bassists; the "ignorance" part comes from the fact that, as someone who was completely self-taught and had never taken a lesson in his life, there was no one to tell him that his technique was essentially completely wrong. It was through not having anyone there to tell him that he wasn't playing correctly that he developed his one-of-a-kind style and became the widely celebrated player that he is.
  • The Alcoholic: James Lee developed a reputation for excessive drinking over the years, something that is suspected to be the main reason why he was kicked out.
  • All Drummers Are Animals: Sort of. Longstreth is known for his machine-like precision live, but his habit of making bizarre faces at photographers while playing has become well-known.
  • Badass Bookworm: Jason Keyser has a degree in anthropology and has been part of multiple digs as part of his day job.
  • Brutal Death Metal: Definitely one of the heaviest technical death acts.
  • Cover Version: They have covered "Kill Yourself" (S.O.D.) and "Revolucion" (Brujeria).
  • Drowning My Sorrows: This is what got James Lee thrown out. Chronically depressed for pretty much his entire run with the band, Lee's self-medicating got more and more out of hand, and it was a combination of extremely heavy drinking, drug usage, and an apparent refusal to get help that finally led Paul Ryan to say "enough is enough" and dismiss Lee. Thankfully for Lee, he wound up getting some much-needed help and is apparently doing much better now.
  • Epic Rocking: "Unequivocal" (9:54), "Antithesis" (9:32), "Consequence of Solution" (7:09), and "Saligia" (6:52).
  • Grindcore: They've dabbled in this with "Committed" (a noisegrind track), "Banishing Illusion", and "Redistribution of Filth". It also helped influence their style a great deal, as Paul's favorite band of all time is Napalm Death.
  • In the Style of...: "Redistribution of Filth" was Paul's love letter to Napalm Death.
  • Large Ham: Keyser is well-known for his live banter.
  • Later Installment Weirdness: Omnipresent was largely a turn away from tech-death with extremely prominent grindcore and mathcore influences (which were hinted at on Entity by way of "Committed" and "Banishing Illusion", but weren't a central part of the latter album).
  • Lead Bassist: Mike Flores qualifies for Type A, B, and C, being renowned for his truly incredible speed and technical ability, frequent backing vocal contributions (as well as assuming vocal duties along with Ryan on Entity), and status as one of the two main songwriters.
  • Lead Drummer: John Longstreth. Part of it is his frightening technical prowess, part of it is just how many well-loved bands he's been a part of.
  • Loudness War: Surprisingly averted (for the most part) with the last two. Antithesis had decent dynamic range but still had noticeable clipping issues and general muddiness, but Entity, while slightly more compressed, took great pains to avoid clipping, creating a wonderfully crisp, balanced, and engrossing mix that set a fantastic example for how modern death metal albums should aspire to sound.
  • Metal Scream: Jason Keyser is a hybrid of a Type 1 and a Type 2 who can pull off Type 3 highs, while Paul Ryan is a Type 2 who can also pull off Type 3s and Mike Flores is strictly a Type 3. James Lee and Mark Manning were both firm Type 2s (though Lee was also famous for his highs).
  • Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Solid 10, occasionally 11 on their heavier tracks ("Wrath of Vishnu", in particular).
  • Miniscule Rocking: Most of the material off their first few albums was in the two-minute range, while "Purgatory" and "Banishing Illusion" (both off of Entity) are under two minutes, as is "Thrall:Fulcrum:Apex" off of Omnipresent.
  • Motor Mouth: James Lee was renowned for this (and so is Jason Keyser, by extent).
  • New Sound Album: Pretty much every album.
    • Informis significantly increased the technicality; while their debut was technical, it hadn't quite reached the levels of their later material.
    • Echoes increased the technicality even more, emphasizing Ryan's sweep-picking abilities quite heavily. It was also their only album with James King on drums, who focused much less on technical patterns and fills and more on pure, unrelenting speed.
    • Antithesis featured much longer and more varied songs in general, including a nearly ten-minute title track. It was also where Ryan began to use guitar solos.
    • Entity bridged the longer and more involved songs of Antithesis with the shorter songs of their earlier material in addition to experimenting with different genres.
    • Omnipresent has more prominent grindcore, hardcore, and mathcore influences and is just distinctly less overtly technical and more experimental in general. According to Paul, a good deal of it was motivated by a desire to provide variation in their live setlists.
  • Out-of-Genre Experience: Omnipresent has "Redistribution of Filth", which is a grindcore track with absolutely no focus on technicality.
  • Pintsized Powerhouse: Flores and Longstreth.
  • Revolving Door Band: For the first half of their career. Things have been mostly stable since then minus Lee's ejection.
  • Signature Style: Absurdly fast (250+ BPM is common) material with extremely complex tremolo riffs and "laser beam" sweeps, along with extremely fast and frequently odd-timed blastbeats and double bass, as well as plenty of fills and jazzy flourishes. Basswork frequently consists of extremely fast sweeping and tapping, while vocals make heavy use of Motor Mouth and frequently switch between high shrieks, low grunts, and a mid-ranged roar.
  • Start My Own: Unmerciful was started by Clint Appelhanz; while James King was a co-founder, he doesn't count because he hadn't yet even joined Origin at that time. Said band is also notorious for being where departing Origin members tend to end up (and occasionally even current, as John Longstreth did drums on the new album and played a few shows and a brief tour with them before they found a dedicated drummer). Subverted with Crator, as it was just a studio project that John and Jason started with Colin Marston and Jeff Liefer (Tentacles) that eventually wound up turning into a very occasional live act just by circumstance.
  • Technical Death Metal: One of the most prominent examples, and probably the Ur-Example for the spastic, hyperspeed variant of brutal tech.
  • Uncommon Time: Very, very frequently.
  • Up to Eleven: In general as far as technical death goes, but especially live. Some technical death acts have trouble pulling off some of their more complicated material live and/or tend to fall victim to the "stand around playing your instruments" trap; Origin actually plays it even FASTER without a hitch and has cultivated a reputation as a ferocious live act.
  • Walking the Earth: Like Ken Sorceron, this is how Jason Keyser lives his life. Between Origin and as-needed vocal fill-ins for Psycroptic (as Jason Peppiatt's ability to tour is sporadic at best), he is on the road quite a bit as a musician (and will likely be spending even more time on the road once Crator gets signed and starts touring, which will happen), and he also spends his fair share of time working as a merch assistant or tour hand even when he isn't performing.