Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Mercenary-Through Our Darkest Days

Prosthetic Records

Denmark's Mercenary (not to be confused with the multitude of other acts out there who have adopted that moniker) have been around for a long time. Formed back in 1991, with their debut full-length album "First Breath" arriving 7 years later, they've seen the scene change as much as any other veteran act you could name off hand. Through it all, even with all the inevitable line-up changes, they maintained a fairly consistent sound. That's of course if memory serves me right. Somewhere along the line I did have a copy of "First Breath" which, again if memory serves me correct, was one of those albums that was neither really death metal nor thrash metal but a combination of both. On "Through Our Darkest Days" it's exactly that combination of  death metal and thrash that works so well. OK, technically it's more power metal then thrash and that death metal is awfully melodic in nature, but the roots are there all the same. It's worth noting that there is some slight metalcore here and there (something like a smoother Killswitch Engage) but it never overpowers the music or gives you reason to pause. Besides, that's neither here nor there when we're talking about the high level of destruction that this album leaves in it's wake. Vocalist René Pedersen handles both clean and harsh vocals for this Danish act and he helps carry the torch that original founding  member Henrik Andersen left in his departure. His voice is easily the highlight of "Through Our Darkest Days" as he excels at both clean singing and the more grizzled death metal growls that have become a calling card of sorts for the death metal community. As for the rest of the group there is an interesting observation that must be mentioned. I might be wrong in this assumption, but it sure looks as if none of the founding members of Mercenary remain. Is it possible that no one is left from the original Mercenary that gave us "First Breath"? It sure does look like it, but that just makes this album all the more impressive as far as chemistry goes. With only 9 tracks it's a quick listen, but it's a good listen all the same. While some might be turned off by the concept of  "catchy melodic death metal/power metal" that's really the case here as the material in question is well-written and executed in such a manor that you just about find yourself nodding along to the beats. On the whole it's a good "stand alone" album meaning you don't have to be a fan or know anything about their past work to become fully engaged to this album. It has it's own flow and should appeal to a wide range of metallic taste buds.

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