Mortillery - ShapeshifterI would be a goddamned liar if I said I were a longtime fan of Canadian thrashers, Mortillery—and those who commented on last year’s Unleash the Archers review can contest to this. However, after diving deep into the band’s back catalog, I can wholeheartedly admit that, in a single week’s time, I am a diehard fan of this band. And for the first time in awhile, I will not be sent to the AMG basement for my poor taste in metal or forced outside to scrape the dead armadillo carcasses hanging from the grilles of the staff’s Prius’. Nope, not this fucking time (sorry Diabolus). Instead, I’ll be holding a bowl of salted meat and sixty-four ounce cans of beer for Mr. Druhm. It turns out that hairy gorilla loves this band more than anyone and has bestowed upon me the responsibility of reviewing their 2016 release, Shapeshifter. And for longtime fans of the band, you’ll get just what you expect: heavy-metal/thrash songwriting and throat-shredding vocals from Cara McCutchen.

As McCutchen has proven before, she can be just as angelic as her Canadian counterpart, Brittney Slayes, and downright vicious when the situation calls for it (which it does about 99% of the time). The classic “F.O.A.D.” (the unofficial entrance music of “Dr. Grier the Greeeat”) is proof of the spit-in-your-face attitude of Mortillery‘s frontwoman; an essential ingredient to the band’s success. Fusing the guitar solos and classic-metal melodics of Iron Maiden with the absurdly catchy pluckings of speed-demons like Exciter, McCutchen’s ravaging vocals top the cake—at times combining the aggressiveness of Holy Moses with the captivating cleans of Nuclear Assault. Mortillery reaches deep into its hat of influences and pulls out a handful of the greats, melding their heavy-metal ire into another awesome Mortillery record.

Bookends “Radiation Sickness” and “Shapeshifter” are perhaps the two most straightforward heavy-metal songs on the album. Opener “Radiation Sickness” is full of Iron Maiden energy and McCutchen’s vocals jump up and down from high-pitched Dickinson wails to downright angry snarls. Structured around one of the more memorable licks on the album, this fun little ditty is just as much about the guitars as it is about the vocals. The closer, on the other hand, is a gloomy number full of emotion, slick guitar melodies, and McCutchen’s variation in beautiful Slayes-esque backing harmonies and blood-spurting screams. Seriously, I could listen to McCutchen scream all fucking day (not what I meant, pervs). Though “Shapeshifter” is the dark, black sheep of the album, it is a fitting conclusion to the disc. It is full of emotion and allows every member in the band their turn in creating this epic album send-off.

Mortillery 2016

More harsh screams and impressive wailings from McCutchen come to us via tracks like the hippity-hoppity “Age of Stone,” the “F.O.A.D.”-esque “Bullet,” and the monstrous “Black Friday.” The first is a mixed bag of thrashy riffs, hints of melody, and an overall pissed-off vocal performance that’ll leave your knuckles white. “Bullet” has some crushing guitar work and McCutchen’s chorus reminds me of Crystal Viper‘s Marta Gabriel (well, up until McCutchen burns everything down with her fire-breathing screams). “Black Friday” takes to the pavement and rides a riff as old-school as methamphetamine. It’s a driving force that’ll get you jacked up and accomplish even the simplest task at ramming speed. For those looking for some vocal diversity beyond the title track, look no further than “At the Gates” and “Torture;” two tracks that mix it up with overlaid schizophrenic cleans and fist-pounding snarls. Neither are have umph without the other tracks, but they compliment the album perfectly.

Unfortunately, there are a couple lows on the album, Like “Wendigo” (hinting at a massive climax that never appears) and the typical modern thrash compression issues. However, the mix is solid and the nine-track, forty-minute runtime means repeat listens are easily achievable. In the end, there isn’t much to complain about and Shapeshifter stands as another great Mortillery release. I can’t say I like it better than Murder Death Kill and Origin of Extinction, but that’s not a bad thing. It stands on its own in the Mortillery discography and will please me for years to come. Regardless what this band does in the future (maybe further exploration into the emotions of the title track?), as long as McCutchen remains behind the mic, I’ll keep coming back for my Mortillery fix [More-tillery for you, eh?Steel Druhm].


Rating: Very Good
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 128 kbps mp3
Label: Napalm Records
Websites: mortillery.com | facebook.com/Mortillery
Releases Worldwide: May 27th, 2016

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  • I love this woman!

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      Right???

    • André Snyde Lopes

      I hate her! Think she sounds awful!

      • You’re insane.

        • André Snyde Lopes

          I’m just… special.

          • Go listen to The Three Tenors, you elitist!

          • André Snyde Lopes

            It’s not my fault she sounds like a dying turkey sometimes!

          • Monsterth Goatom

            Jorn, Arjen, and King Diamond?

          • Dr. A.N. Grier

            This guy.

          • André Snyde Lopes

            Ripper.

      • Dr. A.N. Grier

        Arrrgggghhhh!!!!

    • Monsterth Goatom

      On a song like Murder Death Kill, her cleans remind me a bit of Geddy Lee. I like her.

  • AlphaBetaFoxface

    “(…)And for the first time in awhile, I will not be sent to the AMG basement for my poor taste in metal or forced outside to scrape the dead armadillo carcasses hanging from the grilles of the staff’s Prius’.”

    That apostrophe at the end of “Prius” made me choke on my curry. I’m imagining a small fleet of ’em. El’s has a massive, questionably coloured spoiler. Madam X’s Prius is completely black. The windows are missing on Steel’s, and AMG has his jacked up a few inches. Mark’s and Al’s are the only ones still in factory condition.

    Probably the best use of an apostrophe I’ve seen all year. Definitely a strong AOTY contender.

    • Fear the Prius ov Steel!

      • AlphaBetaFoxface

        Holy crap, I think I just ruptured my second spleen

      • Dr. A.N. Grier

        This is why no one parks next to Steel.

        • Can be a crushing experience!

      • Monsterth Goatom

        Green and mean.

        • Bart the Repairman

          A perfect Monsterth Truck for you.

          • Monsterth Goatom

            Why didn’t I think of that?

          • AlphaBetaFoxface

            And I’d assume you are the fleet technician?

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      We all meet at the local Waffle House each morning and park in the little motorcycle spaces out front. We are a pretty badass group pulling up and trying to beat the old people to the door. A dozen kickass Prius’ and a Geo Tracker.

    • André Snyde Lopes

      Not sure how many apostrophes are contenders but that is likely the best one.

    • Fear me and my jet black wheels of splendor!

      • No.

        • AlphaBetaFoxface

          The “0BSCVR3” number plate a little off-putting?

          • It actually says “I love System of a Down.”

          • Diego Molero

            You metal elitists and your hate on System of a Down. They are a great band, that makes great music and writes superb lyrics. A prime example of this is their song “Vicinity of Obscenity” with intelligible lyrics like “Banana banana banana terracotta banana terracotta terracotta pie!”, or the song “Cigaro” with lyrics like “My cock is much bigger than yours, my cock can walk right through the door, with a feeling so pure..It’s got you screaming back for more”, so poetic.

          • Bart the Repairman

            Hey, SOAD turned me into heavier music when Toxicity came out. I will always have warm feelings about them.
            On the other hand, my first musical memory is my dad playing early Marillion, I was maybe 3yo and I f…..n’ worship Fugazi and Misplaced Childhood to this day:)

          • Diego Molero

            Yeah man, I feel you, I was kinda kidding and kinda not. SOAD was also one of my first metal bands and I do have a warm spot for them, I just don’t listen to their albums anymore, and you have to admit they are a little ridiculous.
            Marillion on the other hand… Haven’t listen to those guys, will check them out.

          • Oberon

            I have some prime ocean front property for you in Montana then

          • Diego Molero

            I’m sorry, didn’t get your joke…

          • Oberon

            I’m referring to an old confidence scam, where a realtor bilked people.

            After reading your comment, I went back and listened to a bunch of SoaD songs and still feel dirty.

          • Diego Molero

            But didn’t you at least enjoy it a tiny bit? It’s being ages since I last heard a song from them, but if I do I think that I’ll enjoy at least a little.

          • Oberon

            I still really enjoy their cover of snowblind and sugar brings back memories of ozzfest

    • El_Cuervo

      Wot u sayin bout my Prius fam?

      I’ll fuk u up if u cum at my spoiler again

  • I think you meant “attest” not contest. But then, this is a metal blog…

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      Nah, contest is perfect :)

  • Diego Molero

    I’m sorry, this is good and great review and all, and I told myself that I would be patience and wouldn’t ask, but the album comes out tomorrow and there isn’t a review yet, so… Where is the In Mourning review?! :(

    • We had delays on that so it won’t likely hit until Monday.

      • Diego Molero

        Fine, at least now I know when to expect it and don’t have to check the blog like crazy every hour (wich I still do but you get it). Thanks Druhm.

      • Bart the Repairman

        The question is – can we expect it In Morning?

  • Refined-Iron Cranium

    Not bad, impressive vocals, but that production sucks ass.

    *goes back to listen to Pentagram demo tapes*

    • This man is TRVE ^

      • Refined-Iron Cranium

        Nothing more trve than listening to the 70s version of Day of Reckoning and hearing Bobby’s vocals sung through a guitar amp.

  • beurbs

    “Unfortunately, there are a couple lows on the album” yeah like the DR score.

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    So… no mention of 3 Inches of Blood?

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      No!!!!

  • Siege Bantayan

    They just get better on every release; I thoroughly enjoyed the embedded track.

    …also I remember commenting on the UtA review about the similarities between the vocalists and I can’t find it anymore, just when I was about to enjoy my time in the sun. :(