Origin's John Longstreth

Origin's John Longstreth
Sometimes the world needs a great technical death metal album. Like, right now. Enter Antithesis, the new one from Kansas death-heads Origin. Album number four finds the band utilizing their impressive musicianship and knack for songwriting to great success, building on their last album, Echoes of Decimation, and adding more technicalities and more diversity. Unlike a lot of death metal bands, this outfit (who have been with underground heavy-hitter metal label Relapse Records since their first album) have energy to spare, which always gives them an edge, never more so than on the new disc. The band is in top form, helped by the return of original drummer John Longstreth (Dim Mak, Angelcorpse, Exhumed, the Red Chord, etc.) one of death metal’s greatest skin-bashers. Getting ready to tour Canada with the controversial Cryptopsy, Longstreth took a few minutes to chat about their new album, the balance of technicality and brutality in their music and his return to the band.

Congrats on the album. To me, it was very refreshing and I've been spinning it a lot. I think it came out at a time when we needed a great death metal record. How are you feeling about it?
I think this album came out when Origin needed a great death metal album. I think people loved Echoes, but it also left people wondering about diversity. This album seems to showcase Origin’s ability to play fast but also write a song. The arrangements are pretty simple, but I think if you get too technical at this rate of speed, things tend to get jumbled and irritating.

Now that you've had a bit of time to sit with it, is there anything you'd change?
No. We have the next album to do things better or different — or worse [laughs]. There’s nothing I would change because the short notice that we were working under with Antithesis is what gives it its nervous energy. It was rushed a bit; we all got in the studio and really pushed and flew by the seat of our pantaloons and I think that gives it its teeth.

How do you feel it differs from your other albums; or does it? Is the point of Origin to really introduce a lot of change in the music or is it more of a focused sound?
It’s the natural progression in Origin. Every time we write an album, each of us comes to the table with a new trick; a new skill. Paul unveiled his sweeping technique on Echoes, and pushed it more on Antithesis. The band wanted to go faster… I needed a better technique to keep up, so I was able to get into the double stroke thingy just in time. Next time, who knows, one of us is bound to grow extra arms for the sake of musical acrobatics.

As always, you do a good job of making really technical music but managing to keep it listenable and not overwhelming. Is this something you consciously try to do?
They have to write sensibly, not only to keep it interesting for the listener, but to keep it playable for the damn drummer [laughs].

You just got off the Contamination tour (with Misery Index and Abysmal Dawn), how was that? It must have been great to see those bands every night.
Misery Index is always a blast to tour with. Great guys and they tour constantly. Seems that they can’t get enough of touring.

I was happy that you’re back on drums for this one. Is it good to be back?
Fantastic. I can argue with these guys and not be afraid of losing my job. Besides, these guys understand my drumming; they helped create it. So Origin is the only band that can really make full use of what I have and still say "get better.” All the other bands, except Dim Mak, just looked at me like I had three heads. Then fired me.