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Female Fronted Generic Thrash - 70%

VilliThorne, April 5th, 2013

Mortillery are a thrash metal band from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada who formed in 2009. The five-piece act released their debut self-titled EP in 2010. Following up a year later, the female- fronted group unleashed their assaulting first full-length album, Murder Death Kill, in 2011. What do these newbies have to offer the overpopulated thrash genre?

Thrash metal has been touched on in every thought-of aspect imaginable, leaving little leeway for newcomers to find any original attributes to make them stand out among the abundance of hair-trigger riffs, blast beats, and warfare lyrics that conjure up the basic outline of most thrash albums. Mortillery are no exception to the rule, providing very little in the way of creating anything new or exciting musically, but the band as a whole have infused uninhibited energy into the content on their debut full-length release. Female vocalists are almost unheard of in thrash, but Mortillery is fronted by female vocalist Cara McCutchen, who mans the front lines of Murder Death Kill with impressively harsh thrash vocals and heavy metal-inspired clean harmonics.

The musical compositions found within this full-length are of the standard thrash recipe; fast, linear guitar progressions, a few solos strewn throughout, and one-two blast beat drumming with cymbal crashes and hi-hat hits thrown in for good measure. However, where most thrash leaves the bass to be practically unheard, Mortillery have an incredibly prominent bass line that rivals the mixing levels of the two guitars throughout the majority of the tracks.

Comprehensively, nearly each song is made up of standard power chord thrash riffs that sometimes gallop along with the drums, such as what is heard in "Fritzl's Cellar", while the lead guitar chimes in from time to time with a furious, untamed solo. There are also a variety of palm-muted power riffs with one string bridges between them. The drums are lively with an intense, ensnaring frenzy that lines the background of the material with an onslaught of blast beats and rolls that gun the listener down like an assault rifle. The content occasionally slows down to make way for groovier segments. "Outbreak" is a good example of the more melodic elements incorporated sparingly into the song structures. "Voracious Dead" is one of the strongest tracks present here which comes coupled with the only real thrashy chant that is about wanting to devour your brains; a nice touch that steps away from the standard warfare and political themes that laden thrash metal.

Mortillery have by no means created anything groundbreaking, but Murder Death Kill is far from boring or uninteresting. In fact, it's a fun, besieging adventure into thrash metal that doesn't attempt to be old school revival, unlike many modern records of the genre. The female vocals are a definitive breath of fresh air in a genre that is largely dominated by both male talent and male audiences, however the clean sections fail to fit into the mix smoothly and listeners may find themselves greatly favoring the harsh thrash vocals instead.

Recommended for diehard thrash enthusiasts, fans of Havok and Municipal Waste, and those who enjoy female vocals.

- Villi Thorne
www.VolumesofSin.com

Sometimes attitude alone will suffice. - 79%

hells_unicorn, August 8th, 2012

It is often stipulated that thrash metal has been played out as a genre. Every little crevice of the supposedly limited paradigm at play has been explored, and every trick has been exploited to its fullest potential. Assuming that this true, one has to wonder what it would take to get the pit going if all that can be expected is more of the same. The answer to this question can be seen in just about every underground punk show where bands still make it work while taking ideas from Discharge and Black Flag, it’s all a matter of just casting caution to the wind and playing it as fast and as nasty as you can, damning the critics to an eternity of sonic mayhem in the process.

There isn’t really anything to the Canadian outfit Mortillery that can be qualified as original, save perhaps the level of intensity they inject into a mode of thrash that can be considered about as green as Nuclear Assault (save the lack of environmental/political tinged lyrics) and as equally punk oriented. The riff work at play here is pretty standard and formulaic, occasionally breaking out into a flash of Vio-Lence inspired chaos, but largely following a linear chord progression approach that is dangerously close to the style’s hardcore roots. Take, for instance, the raw simplicity of “Fritzl’s Cellar” or “Voracious Undead”, which follows a somewhat slower pace of chord that reeks of the conventional approach normally heard out of the early speed metal oriented thrashers of the early Bay Area explosion (think the first Death Angel album with a load of Suicidal Tendencies trappings to go on the side).

But perhaps the biggest ace in this band’s deck is vocalist Cara McCutchen, who essentially plays the sole role in separating this album from simply being a slightly busier version of what Lich King has been up to. When singing, this mad Canadian sounds like a maniacal cross between Mark Osegueda and Sean Killian, but when this guy screams he literally sounds like a maddened Nazgul. Taking the particularly neurotic scream fest that is “Countless Suicide”, it’s a wonder that this guy has any voice left to speak of after a single recording session. Better still, when the occasional Anthrax inspired gang choruses pipe in, the punch of the voice parts come dangerously close to supplanting the guitars as the prime source of power in the arrangement.

To say that albums like this one have been done before would be an obvious understatement, and with a fairly generic title like “Murder Death Kill” (thrash bands love their violent triads) and an over-the-top comic cartoon album art, this band is definitely forthcoming about their influences and how little distance they plan on going from them. Still, the energy and the attitude carry this album beyond being a mere generic copy, so much so that the band seems to function completely on those 2 elements. Anyone who failed to resist the urge to bang one’s head violently at the demand of albums such as “The Ultra-Violence” or “Survive” will find a worthy acolyte here, not to mention a vocalist who may arguably supplant the two related front men in the intensity department.

Originally submitted to (www.metal-observer.com) on August 8, 2012.