Origin of Extinction is the second full-length album by Canadian thrash metal act Mortillery. It was released in 2013. Although quite common in metal music in general but not so much in thrash metal in my experience, Mortillery are a female fronted act. Like with their debut album Murder Death Kill (2011), Origin of Extinction features a track from the earlier self-released and self-titled EP (2010), in this case Feed the Fire. A special edition also exists which contains a few cover versions originally by Razor, Anthrax and Angel Witch.
The sound (and artwork) of Origin of Extinction is unmistakeable that of thrash metal, although there are a few riffs that come across as more traditional heavy metal orientated to be found as well. The vocals of Cara McCutchen are raw and aggressive but with a melodic quality. Her approach is quite varied ranging from clean singing to growling/screaming, and pretty much everything in-between. While her vocals are the immediate highlight of the album the musicianship of the rest of the band should not be understated, especially that of the two guitarists, Alex Scott (lead) and Alex Gutierrez (rhythm). Right from the album’s opening instrumental, Battle March, it’s pretty clear to me that Mortillery have a great duo here. Their riffs form the backbone of the tracks and solos aide the impact of the tracks opposed to being needless shredding.
While rarely deviating from the thrash form (as I said, there are a few traditional metal inspired moments to be found), there’s a level of creativity to be found within the tracks that, while it won’t be breaking any moulds, assures that Origin of Extinction will be an album to keep coming back to. The songs are actually some of the best I’ve heard from the thrash genre for some time. I’ll be honest, thrash metal isn’t a genre I generally get on with, and it takes a band to have something a bit special going for them for me to be fully drawn into it. Mortillery certainly has that something special: killer songs, and a lot of them. In fact, objectively, the only ones that I wouldn’t consider contenders to be highlights are the ones which are a little repetitive lyrically, such as Creature Possessor, but even these still pack hell of a punch.
But the jewels of the album have to be tracks like No Way Out, Cease to Exist and The Hunter's Lair. Others like Seen in Death, F.O.A.D. and Sunday Morning Slasher are up there as well, and I do give a lot of props to Battle March. It’s a great way to kick things off and it goes into No Way Out so well that you’ll barely notice the track has changed. The consistency is very high here and that’s what really makes Origin of Extinction the special album that it is. Great riffs, great vocals, great solos...there’s honestly nothing to complain about.
As I’ve mentioned already, thrash metal isn’t a genre I particularly get on with myself, although every time a band like Mortillery comes along I warm to it a bit more, and Origin of Extinction is the sort of album that not only has me warning to genre, but eager to get out there looking for more. But in the mean time I’ll just press repeat on Origin of Extinction and enjoy it all over again. And because it’s the sort of album that has me doing that, I’m happy to award it with a top tier rating. It’s an early highlight for 2013 and I for one cannot get enough of it!