Origin of Extinction is the sophomore effort from Edmonton revivalist thrashers Mortillery. A no-frills, no-holds-barred sonic assault, the album is a fond glance back to the great years of thrash, rather than an attempt at pushing forward into new territory.
Although Origin of Extinction strays more into melodic thrash territory than their debut effort Murder Death Kill, it is a fairly relentless ride, clocking in around 45 minutes. Personally, the strongest moments were at the beginning: the opening instrumental Battle March set the tone nicely with a good strong groove vibe. Our expectations are set for the first thrash riff, but the second track, No Way Out, opens with the strongest melodic work on the album, reminiscent of some good old-fashioned Metallica. When the thrash then properly hits, following on from one of the album’s most epic solos, it hits all the stronger and makes for a great first full song.
Variety, as they say, is the spice of life. Without much let up from this point, Origin of Extinction comes close to the edge of monotony. On more than one occasion the album is saved by Cara McCutchen, who gives us some of the most versatile vocal work I’ve heard in a while. Veering between sung lyrics, classic thrash yelps and screams and even a couple of death growls, the vocal work is something to listen for even when the guitar work gets a little predictable.
The record certainly gets stronger as it progresses, with the two stand out tracks The Hunter’s Lair and F.O.A.D. The first of these is a perfect testament to the best Iron Maiden, full out ballsy but still melodic and infectiously catchy. F.O.A.D. on the other hand is a great anti-social punk anthem, with enough attitude to convince any doubters that these guys are just messing around.
Despite this, the overriding impression I get from this album if nothing else is a sense of fun: this is a band who enjoy their thrash, and it certainly comes across. This alone warrants a re-listen.
That said, as a re-thrash album, much of this material will sound familiar to connoisseurs of the genre. Although most importantly Mortillery do enough to make sure Origin of Extinction is not monotonous, I would like to see them adventure further from the well-worn thrash path. I’m not going to judge them for creating infectiously enjoyable music and this is a certainly an album with quality. But when writing music which trades so heavily on past glories, there’s a danger that you’ve already heard each new track before it even plays.
However, there is definitely potential here, if Mortillery are willing to look forward rather than back. And, of course, if you’re a devoted thrash fan, then this nostalgia-fest will be right up your street.
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