Alex Scott looks the part of the heavy metal hero. Seeing him around the Big Eddy Pub, where he works at the neighbouring liquor store, he’s big and imposing, with long blonde hair. He plays lead guitar in the up-and-coming thrash metal band Mortillery.
And he’s about to release a solo album of what he calls “dark classical” songs that will be just him on classical guitar, backed by a bit of organ.
“Pretty much you take metal and put it on a classical guitar. It will be heavy like Bach, Beethoven, Mozart – their darker pieces,” he said. “I’ve always liked classical because it’s just you and the guitar. There’s no story being told by the vocalist. You can close your eyes and make your own story. I just love it. Blues and classical are the foundation of my playing.”
Before that album comes out, Scott, who moved to Revelstoke last year, will be touring with his Edmonton-based band Mortillery this summer, including a show at the Big Eddy Pub this Thursday, July 18.
Mortillery have been making a name for themselves in the heavy metal world since their formation in 2008. After a shaky first year, the lineup solidified in 2010 with Cara McCutchen on vocals, Alex Gutierrez on guitar, Scott on lead guitar, Miranda Wolfe on bass and Kevin Gaudet on drums. They released a five-song demo, played a bunch of shows, including opening slots for Canadian metal heroes Anvil, wrote some more songs and in January 2011 they entered the studio to record their first album, Murder Death Kill.
“We had a whole bunch of material and took a month and a half to record the whole thing,” said Scott. “We pretty much released it and started sending it to labels blindly, just getting it out there.”
Response to the album was slow, but the reviews were generally positive. It got some attention in Europe – one label that liked the album was Napalm Records out of Austria. For the band this was a big deal – Napalm being about the biggest metal label out there, short of being signed to a major label.
“Our guitar player had told us a label was interested and I thought he was lying,” said Scott. “He showed me the e-mail and I found out it was Napalm Records and I couldn’t believe it.”
After enlisting the help of a manager, and some back-and-forth with the label, they signed a contract at a fancy steakhouse in Calgary. Murder Death Kill was re-released and the band started working on the follow-up, Origin of Extinction.
“Murder Death Kill was songs we had written just to write music. We went into record Origin of Extinction with the entire album written front to back,” said Scott. “It was definitely a lot easier to get what we wanted out of it instead of just throwing random songs together. I think Origin of Extinction flows a lot better than the first record did.”
One thing that makes the band stand out is the presence of singer Cara McCutchen on vocals. Scott said unlike other female-fronted metal bands, McCutchen’s presence isn’t a gimmick.
“She can do that yelling and aggressive vocals, but can also do that Iron Maiden, Bruce Dickinson style operatic vocals,” said Scott. “She has a range that a lot of men couldn’t capture.”
Origin of Extinction has received numerous positive reviews from the heavy metal press. It has put Mortillery on the map and have had their fans in Europe clammering for them to head overseas.
For now, Mortillery is staying at home, waiting for the right opportunity. After Revelstoke they are heading to Vancouver, followed by performances at Armstrong Metalfest and some shows in Edmonton in Alberta.
Even with the band based in Edmonton, Scott plans on staying in Revelstoke until he heads to Europe to study at the Norwegian Music Academy next year.
He said to expect a fast show. “Usually our live shows are aggressive and fast. It’s over before you know it.”
Mortillery will be joined by Revelstoke’s Makememurder and Edmonton’s Snakebite at the Big Eddy Pub on Thursday, July 18, at 10 p.m. Tickets are $8.