Formed in the icy depth of a Finnish winter back in 2009, The Hypothesis released an EP and a couple of singles before restructuring significantly. In 2012 they locked themselves away to work on their debut album. I can only guess they lost they key because it’s taken four years for it to surface!
Billed as “melodic death metal”, they tick both genre boxes with sweeping keyboards accompanying the more brutal music and harsh, growled vocals. In a way, the music is quite schizophrenic with some tracks a curious mixture of the grand, near-orchestral and skull-crushingly heavy. Vocals as well hop between clean and harsh, though are predominantly the latter. If I was forced to pick a band that I thought they sounded like then I’d go for “Soilwork but with more keyboards”. Track six, “Atonement”, for some reason is the one that really brings forth this comparison and it probably has the most varied range of singing styles out of the nine songs.
It’s the keyboards that really make this album stand out from other similar offerings. While some bands use them for atmosphere and effects, on Origin they are undoubtedly a major part of the band’s sound. Even when in the background, they’re placed on a level with the rhythm section and in many places they lead the track. Opener “Shades to Escape” starts off like a 1970’s space opera with all kinds of fancy effects before the drums kick in, for example. Before the band as a whole joined in I thought I was in for ninety minutes of electronica!
It doesn’t take long to realise that this additional component really adds something to the songs and the album as a whole. It’s quite easy to imagine the songs without this component, but they’d really be missing something. Not that I’m saying the rest of the musicianship isn’t capable. Hell, no – there are some wonderfully blistering songs on here. “Scarface” is, I gather, an old song from a previous EP that’s made it to the album and deservedly so. Alternately thrashy and pummeling, it’s designed for small, sweaty clubs with intimate pits.
Another track that leaves you in no doubt that this is a band out to destroy is “Leak”. Utterly unrelenting, if you survive this one being played live then you’re not trying hard enough. “Weak Story”, similarly, will have you hooked from the headbanging beginning.
If you like your death metal edged with a touch of originality, then look no further.
Origin is out on May 5th.