Mutiny Within – Origins
Release Date: February 10, 2017
Fifteen years into its existence and almost seven years since the release of its debut album, Mutiny Within rises up with arguably its best record to date, Origins. The core of Mutiny Within; bassist Andrew Jacobs, drummer Bill Fore, guitarist Daniel Bage, and vocalist Chris Clancy, remains intact. Each member contributes to the totality of the band with Clancy also serving as the unit’s producer, Fore as the band’s graphic designer, Jacobs as the principal songwriter, and Bage as the master of keyboards and effects. Origins began life as a plan to dust off old demos, and create an EP for the band’s hardcore following. As the project progressed, a renewed sense of creativity emerged and the demos idea was shelved for a full-length album. What developed is a reminder of how underrated and powerful Mutiny Within is. The scope of Origins is sonically colossal.
The album opens with Bage serving up an instrumental tone-setter with a title track that paves the way for what is to come. The onslaught begins with the cacophonous “Archetype of Destruction”. Fore wastes no time pulverizing his drum kit in a crush of blast-beats and gravity rolls. Clancy opens with a baleful howl followed by gritty cleans. Despite the heaviness and brutality, the quartet also delivers the right balance of melody. Instead of going for a million notes per second, Bage relies on painting an aural soundscape with his fretwork.
“Justify” resonates with the feel of the band’s debut self-titled album. Clancy’s outstanding vocal acrobatics lead the way on a track that is immediately memorable and addictive. The rhythm section propels the song forward while Bage’s guitars, keys, and choral elements add drama and depth. Jacobs even has his own spiraling bass moments. There is so much going on here, the song is simply massive, and that cinematic and melodic heft carries over into “Silent Weapons.” This song features a guitar cameo from Scar Symmetry’s Per Nilsson. Fore’s stickwork is both beastly and masterful, and Clancy’s vocals resonate with emotion.
One of Origin‘s most accessible tracks comes in the form of “Reasons,” which features a guest appearance by Sacred Mother Tongue guitarist Andy James, who also works with Clancy in I Legion. The chorus is mammoth, and the vocal harmonies are accentuated by a dance of guitar and key embellishments. A stunning track.
A swell of keys and staccato guitar picking from Bage sets the table for “Internal Dissension.” Clancy digs a bit into his coarse, “death metal” style vocals on this track. The song swirls in controlled chaos. Jacobs’ bass rumbles and Fore simply pulverizes his kit. Bage elevates it all with cinematic, if not ominous, church chorals and chants which again carry over into “Circles,” itself another infectious bit of ear candy…with teeth. The song has an aggressive ferocity to it, and Fore makes sure to heavy foot the point home.
Sikth vocalist Justin Hill, who made a cameo on the first Mutiny Within record, reappears on the somewhat progressive-tinged feel of “Serenity.” The vocal tango between the duo is feral and portentous. Bage adds layers of ambience with his keys and effects. This rolls into the storm that is “Stay Forever” where Clancy once again moves between his clean and harsh vocals. The album then closes out with the more median tempo density of “Secrets,” replete with gorgeous orchestrations and emotive bite.
Origins could almost come across as too busy, but Clancy’s production has blended it all together so adeptly, it works on a grand scale. Mutiny Within fuses a melange of metal sub-genres into something signature to their sound. Each member speaks to his own integral depth of virtuosity and Clancy has an undeniably distinctive voice that is instantly recognizable. Fore has crafted his best artwork to date; Bage, already a masterful guitarist, has upped his game in the keyboard/synth department; and A.J., the anchor, has delivered the solid song foundations on which Origins is built. If I find anything at all missing on this otherwise cohesive and phenomenal record, it is one extra song that adds some diversity to the band’s template sound of uptempo songs with hooky melodies and inspired harmonies: Something to break up the dynamic maelstrom. Despite that, there is nothing poorly done, lacking, or otherwise worthy of complaint. Origins rivals if not succeed’s Mutiny Within’s debut record (which was our Album of the Year in 2010), and it may be a bit early into 2017 to say this, but it is certainly worthy of album-of-the-year consideration.