MUTINY WITHIN: Origins (2017)
Fans should feel very fortunate that Mutiny Within’s third album exists. Origins, among best rock albums thus far in 2017, was produced entirely by the band through front man Chris Clancy’s Audioworks Production company and released without a record label. Despite hundreds of thousands of plays on digital platforms, the band has seen mere pennies in proceeds, preventing them from forming up to tour. This is unfortunately common in the industry today.
Initially, Mutiny Within planned an EP release of a few new songs with some original material from the band’s early days, hence the name Origins. This however developed into a full album, making the band’s third LP release. Back in March 2016, a 1-minute video was posted on their YouTube Channel of Clancy’s vocals for an untitled song (later released as “Justify”) and the promise of the EP in October. This delayed until February 2017 for the release of the full LP, and it was worth the wait. Some songs are similar in sound to the band’s first two albums, such as “Archetype of Destruction” and “Internal Dissension” while others, like “Justify”, show a clear evolution in sound and song writing. In “Justify”, the chorus shares a similar sound in chord progression to “Butterfly” by Wearing Scars, Clancy’s other band, but with screaming vocals for the verses. I initially felt this dampened the melodic power of this song, but also strengthens the impact of the song’s lyrics.
For an album produced entirely by the band without a record label, the design and production of the music is top notch. With studio recording technology as it is today, Clancy explained to me that the writing process was a bit different for this album than previous ones, and written in pieces from different countries. Clancy is based in the UK while the rest of the band is in the USA.
“At no point during the making of the album did any two people sit in the same room and work together. The whole album is written with AJ [Andrew Jacobs, bassist] sending riffs over to me. I arrange them into songs, add any extra riffs or change chorus chords here to make it fit my vocal ideas… Then Dan [Bage, guitarist] would add the keyboard and orchestration along with guitar leads and solos. In “Circles”, Dan wrote pretty, much the entire middle section as he had some great ideas. Dan’s the more progressive guy so he’s definitely had a huge impact on this album. In the past, quite honestly, AJ and I would do almost everything as that’s how we’ve always done it. On this album we just opened the doors and told everyone to just do their thing. It’s been a great experience and the most band-involved album we’ve done to date.”
Clancy also lamented as we discussed the state of the music industry that he couldn’t afford a flight to the USA to record with the band, thus requiring the writing in pieces. Musicians today have to fight hard to make music and it is more the exception than the norm to have a hugely profitable album. The lyrical themes of Origins reflect on this struggle, and yet in the end it did not become the return to the scene the band had hoped, with less than 3% of their fan base buying their music, instead listening on Pandora or Spotify.
Lyrically, Origins is retrospective on Clancy’s life in regard to trying to succeed in today’s music industry. The lyrics to the chorus of “Justify” play: “When we’re lost in the wake of tragedy/When we’re losing the fight and self belief/We can’t sacrifice all we’ve bled and fought for/ Can’t watch it all burn.” Similarly, “Reasons” has: “We’ve come too far to let the world just come and break us/Just discard and live this life alone/I just can’t forget.” This theme is only made more pronounced by the outcome of the album’s release. Clancy and I discussed the lyrics to my favorite song from Wearing Scars, “I Could Never Say”, which has a similar concept, that what he could never say is that music is just not working out for him and he needs to move on. His love for music is too strong. He stated: “I don’t expect the world to pay for me to live or anything, but the hard reality is that people enjoy my music but at this rate I can’t justify making any more.” Instead he has turned to doing mixing and production for other bands, something Origins showcases his talent at.
Chris Clancy’s songwriting has been solid from Mutiny Within’s self titled debut album and has only developed since. He has an ability to form engaging melodies even for verses over simple driving rhythms like the opening line of “Secrets”. “Serenity” features a change of pace for the album beginning with screaming vocals, a melodic chorus, a keyboard solo, and then a slow middle section where Clancy quietly sings “So much sadness/We’ve lost our way/Turn my mind away/In a different world there’s serenity.” The elongated bridge then explodes into a belting vocal track the lyrics: “Can we not wake up?/Shut ourselves away/And think about another place/A different time a different place/How’d we lose our way/Retracing every step/There’s no chance to start again/Testing fate since we began.” This song again relates to Clancy’s struggles with the music industry and how it’s impacted his personal life. His vocals also reflect the personal nature of these songs, reaching near operatic tones in his upper register.
Origins is a powerful album both in message and in songwriting and music production. There is a mix of pulse-pounding melodic anthems, like “Secrets”, and harder rocking tracks like “Silent Weapons”. The album also features guest musicians, guitarists Andy James and Per Nilsson, and vocalist Justin Hill. The final result is a progressive step in Mutiny Within’s discography and a solid entry into the metal world. Fans of this band and metal in general make sure to BUY this album and others by bands you like so there will be more albums in the future.