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On disc: Mercenary



11 Dreams - Jörg Petersen - 9 stars
11 Dreams - Claudia Ehrhardt - 9 stars
Architect Of Lies - Claudia Ehrhardt - 9 stars
Architect Of Lies - Philip Thelen - 9 stars
Metamorphosis - Claudia Ehrhardt - 8 stars


www.mercenary.dk







Metamorphosis

Metamorphosis
(NoiseArt Records - 2011)


Since the 2008 release Architect Of Lies Mercenary changed, only 2 members of that line-up are still in the band and bassist RenÚ Pedersen took over the lead vocals completely.
They open with Through The Eyes Of The Devil, a heavy, guitar-driven track. They still combine aggressiveness with melodies and so fans of their previous albums shouldn't be disappointed. Even if the vocals mainly harsh / growls, there are some clean vocal parts. With The Follower they present a melodic modern metal tune which becomes heavy due to the raw vocals. At the end of the day it's a matter of taste... Songs like In A River Of Madness can be labeled as melodic death metal, as usual Metamorphosis vary in speed and at some melodic vocal passages which make the songs more memorable. At Memoria RenÚ Pedersen shows more of his clean vocals and that there is no reason to criticize him. And that he isn't a clone of Mikkel Sandager is positive in my eyes, coz otherwise everybody would complain that he is sounding too much like his predecessor. At Velvet Lies they once more combine melodic parts, heavy riffs with clean vocals and growls, so they stick to their sound - just offer variations. There isn't a real highlight or a complete fail. From the more melodic tunes Shades Of Grey sticks out while On The Edge Of Sanity offers very melodic passages as well as heavy, aggressive parts and so it's a prefect example for the different facets of the Metamorphosis sound. If you want to check out one of the heavier tunes, then the album opener is a good choice.
The closer The Black Brigade is obviously influenced by Megadeth who they toured with in 2008. But it's a kind of homage to Dave Mustaine and his mates, so it's fine.
Metal fans who loved Metamorphosis's last releases won't be disappointed. Sure, they changed a bit, but that comes with line-up changes and time. At the end of the day, it still sounds like Metamorphosis. ;)


8 stars

Claudia Ehrhardt
 

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Architect Of Lies

Architect Of Lies
(Century Media - 2008)


Architect Of Lies is the fifth album of Mercenary who released their first demo back in 1994. Their mix of power metal with some metalcore tunes and a bit death metal is really rare in this scene. They are really professional.
First song New Desire starts with keys and turns with the whole band into a bombastic song before the verse enters. The chorus is really epic with very cool, clean vocals! I have to say, I really like the drumming parts of this band! They are not straight double bass drumming through every song, but played staccato and does fit to 100% to the music! And as usually I have to praise the guitar solo and the after-solo part in this song. Bloodsong is more aggressive with harsh vocals and fast drums while Embrace The Nothing comes along with very melodic, clean vocals and harsh, but in a different way sweet vocals during the refrain. I like this song, especially the epic parts and vocals. This Black And Endless Never is more aggressive again with deep tunes and heavy and fast drums. Isolation is beside of Embrace The Nothing one of my favourites. The song is a bit slower than the rest of the album. It has a really characteristic vocal melody - mainly in the refrain. And here I love the guitar solo, too. In relation to Isolation is the following song aggressive, but with clean vocals. Black And Hollow starts with funny keyboard sounds and is mainly with clean vocals. Great drum breaks and cool guitars. Execution Style has more fast, thrashy beats with an epic chorus. I Am Lies is a nice one with straight guitar riffs and spheric keys in the beginning. The refrain got this unique voice. Last song of the album is called Public Failure Number One and this is a song I have to recommend to everyone! From the first time listening to it, you will be under a spell! A great ending for a great album! Great work!
Recommended ones: New Desire, Bloodsong, Embrace The Nothing, Isolation, Black And Hollow, Public Failure Number One


9 stars

Philip Thelen
 

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Architect Of Lies

Architect Of Lies
(Century Media - 2008)


The Danish released their debut First Breath back in 1998, now 10 years later their present their 5th album which is titled Architect Of Lies. During the last year the Aalborg sextet played a lot live and it's amazing how they managed to write and record this album!
The album opens with some unusual sounds, but then the heavy riffs accompany the sweet melody. But then this melody disappears and an aggressive up-tempo tune develops. But New Desire is also catchy, at least during the refrain and Mikkel's clean vocals. In a way this song is a bridge between the complex, but catchy 11 Dreams and the heavy and more aggressive The Hours That Remain album. Drummer Mike Park and bassist René Pedersen deliver the heavy beat as a playground for Martin Buus and Jakob Mølbjerg's guitars. And then abruptly the song ends. But they stay on this track, but Bloodsong is more mean due to the growls. And Mikkel is adding some high screams in combination with René's growls. Slowly starts Embrace The Nothing and quite melodic, giving the listener in the beginning a break. Mikkel Sandager has more space to express emotions and the keyboard played by his brother Morten is also taking off the edge a bit. This tune would have fit also on 11 Dreams... An ear catcher! A bit further they push in this direction with Isolation (The Loneliness In December) while the following The Endless Fall is pushing the limits to the opposite side... Very heavy, fat riffs, a murderous groove and mean vocals! Even if the refrain is less aggressive and is more easy to get into. At Execution Style they mix staccato riffs and fast beats with a great vocal melody. But the song is due to the staccato riffing a bit bulky... And needs more then one spin to get into. At I Am Lies there is a part which reminds me of Nevermore... but only briefly. Beside that there are citations of neo-classical guitar parts, but all woven into their own sound. A very catchy tune they chose to end the album, a good choice, coz Public Failure Number One is an ear catcher and hooks you up immediately. And make you spin this CD again!
The limited edition has additionally Death Connection and a DVD with 9 live tracks and a studio report. That's value for money!
The Danish offer 10 tracks of complex, riff-based melodic heavy metal which catchy melodies, mean growls and varying speed. Well, actually that's who we know the Danish, but they made it to another level. A good example for Mercenary's sound is Isolation (The Loneliness In December) and The Endless Fall. These songs kinda represent the 2 different sides of Mercenary's sound. Great piece of music! Seems that nothing can stop this band! And actually I hope that they stay around for long time!


9 stars

Claudia Ehrhardt
 

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11 Dreams

11 Dreams
(Century Media - 2004)


Actually I got aware of the Danish Mercenary when they played a few shows with Evergrey promoting their album 11 Dreams. The intro Into The Sea Of Dark Desires is classical influenced and leads into World Hate Center. The first track is a really heavy, fast and aggressive melodic death metal song which sounds raw with Kral's growls and more modern metal-like with the clear vocals of Mikkel Sandager. The contrast between the vocals bring a certain dynamic to the song. It's powerful, atmospheric and heavy. A good start to discover the Danish sextet. With the title track the band shows a slightly different side. More mid-tempo with a catchy vocal line which got supported by the keyboard. The chorus will hook you up with Mercenary soon. Especially singer Mikkel Sandager makes these Danish outstanding, he's the master of harmonies and hooks! But also the great work of the other members which gives Mikkel the space to do such a brilliant job. And they manage to keep the listeners attention during the more then 5 minute long tracks. Every time you listen you will recognize some new little details. I wouldn't dare to say they have some progressiveness, but there is a touch of it. The title track is an earcatcher! But the same can be said about Firesoul. With more then 7 minutes Firesoul isn't the longest track, but again speed changes and different sound elements keep this interesting. Here they also use some female vocals to add a different vibe.
While reDestructDead is more raw. Untamed in a way with a fast drum beat and shredded guitar riffs, but still melodic. I heard some comparisons to Soilwork, but personally I can't detect these. Perhaps I'm not enough familiar with the Swedish.
On Sharpen The Edges they slow down a bit and the atmosphere is darker, less angry. Here Mikkel is almost pleading. The song has a touch of gothic...
Only the cover version Music Non Stop is a bit strange. I have to confess that I don't know the original, but it seems to be a pop song. They do good, but the song don't really fit into the flow of the album. But well. It's followed by Falling which gives the metal heads some headbanging before a balladesque one Times Without Changes shows a different side. Times Without Changes is touching. Melancholy. Reduced to piano and vocals... acoustic guitar. Times Without Changes fades into Loneliness. This up-tempo track has some melancholy, too. Dark and remind me a bit of some Finnish dark metal.... Another great one.
I can recommend this album to every open-minded metal fan who don't mind a few growls. This is modern metal and if the next album can keep up the high level, then the Danish sixpack is on the way to the top!
Finally I can just warn you, coz this album can make you addicted! For me it started with the title track at the first show I saw. And now this album is spinning frequently in my player!


9 stars

Claudia Ehrhardt
 

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11 Dreams

11 Dreams
(Century Media - 2004)


Another Danish band who is on their way to the top?!? Mercenary's 11 Dreams is a killer album! I haven't expect that they made such a big step up the ladder. They combine thrashy power metal or US metal with melodic death, some progressiveness and a touch of gothic here and there. The vocals range from clean ones to deep growls which are split between singer Mikkel Sandager and bassist Kral. The keyboard parts of Morten Sandager add the melodic, atmospheric element. Most songs are based on dreams of Kral. And so the title 11 Dreams makes even more sense. The title track offers beside the already mentioned music elements also some symphonic black metal. Totally different is Times Without Changes which is only piano and vocals. The band wanted to do a cover version and bassist Kral and guitarist Jacob decided to do the Kent cover Music Non Stop. I have no idea how the original sound, coz I don't listen to Swedish brit-pop! But they made it sound like it's one of their own songs. Well done!
They have power, aggression, melody and are able to write anthems. What more can you ask for? They have so many influences in their music that it's hard to drop some names to give you an idea. Just listen to it, if you like metal with power and aggression, but want to have clean vocals. Buy it!


9 stars

Jörg Petersen
(translation: Claudia Ehrhardt)
 

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           ©2008-2014 by Claudia Ehrhardt • E-Mail: contact@ice-vajal.com


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