Monday, October 31, 2011

Review: Mercenary - Metamorphosis

Band: Mercenary
Album: Metamorphosis
Year: 2011
Country: Denmark
Genre: Melodic Death/Power Metal

Originally Mercenary were a mix of melodic death metal and thrash. Over time they evolved into a more power metal and melodic death metal mix. On Metamorphosis they also add a little bit of metalcore as well. This Danish band has in the past put out some pretty decent albums so what did they come up with for Metamorphosis?

Alright so the metalcore influence becomes most apparent when listening to the guitar riffs. On Through the Eyes of the Devil it is plainly obvious the band has taken a hint of the choppy sort of guitar play a lot of the melodic metalcore bands use and did their own thing with it. It doesn't significantly effect their sound but there is a bit more chug chug chug guitar parts here. The melodies are pretty sweet to the ear as well. But while a lot of the songs are pretty easy to listen to there are parts where the band shows more muscle. In A River of Madness has a part near the middle that practically breaks into symphonic death metal which is totally unexpected but completely awesome.

Vocally the band traded in two separate vocalists for just one. Rene Pedersen does both the harsh and clean singing on Metamorphosis and its a strong effort. He has a deeper voice when singing but can hit the high notes when its necessary. I also enjoy the screams/growls he does. He does a more normal sounding growl in between high and low and a higher one also.

Most of these songs range from decent to pretty good. The album opener while showing more metalcore like tendencies is memorable, and in a good way. As is most of the album. The first four tracks are especially good. The Follower has a nice break in the middle where it slows down and builds back up. In A River of Madness has the awesome symphonic section, and Memoria is full of excellent guitar riffing that has melody on steroids.

Now all those positives being said, the album has a couple of lemons. Shades of Gray is the poppy all clean sung song that every melodeath album seems to have. Its pretty boring and all the aggression and feeling is missing because its obvious this song was made for something resembling a single as its much more easy to listen to for those who don't enjoy singing. The Black Brigade is another strange addition to the album. The chorus has an almost sleazy rock feel to it and the whole song sounds a bit out of place being upbeat almost like a party song.

Metamorphosis is a pretty decent album and while its not exactly what a lot of Mercenary fans might be expecting I think fans of melodic metal in general would enjoy it. Rene has a strong vocal performance and most of the songs are unique, so you will probably never mistake one track for another. This isn't a good thing in the case of a few songs but it is what it is. All in all pick this up if you're into melody over dissonance, you'll get the most bang for your buck.

Score: 7.5/10
Standout Tracks: In A River of Madness, Memoria

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