Thursday, December 01, 2016

Mercy Isle-Undying Fire

Mercy Isle is a symphonic metal/rock band that was founded in 2014 by lead vocalist Kassandra Novell. Now in it's second year together, with the 10-track "Undying Fire" serving as this American-Dutch group's simply-stellar first full-length album, Mercy Isle is currently rounded out by Freek Gielen (lead guitar), Eelco Slont (rhythm guitar), Chad Novell (bass/vocals), Joop de Rooij (keys), and Ywe van der Pol (drums). That differs somewhat from the line-up that was responsible for this first-class recording. On "Underlying Fire" we have: 
Vox/Growls: Kassandra Novell
Keys: Joop de Rooij
Bass/Vox: Chad Novell
Drums: Ywe van der Pol
Guitars-Sebas Honing (except for "Saying Goodbye") 
The album also includes a number of guests. One such guest is Amanda Somerville who provides vocals on "Saying Goodbye" (Which is just beautiful in it's heartfelt delivery! Wow!!). The song "Saying Goodbye"  also features guest flautist Jeroen Goossens as does "If I Could". Speaking of "If I Could", Erik van Ittersum provides additional strings and synth lines to the song which makes it all the more enduring. Add in a some very special choir guests on "Come To Me" (Kolin McCormick, Dave Boxhorn, Brett Kihlmire, Thomas James, Gerra McShan, David Zapp, Todd Herdt, Lisa "Ashton" Cochran, and Ami Bouterse ) and you have a well-assembled cast of musicians that deserve extra special mention. The fact that so many people stepped up to help Mercy Isle out with this new album speaks volumes as to the natural grace and elegance that this band exudes. But then again, so does this recently-released album. It opens with the powerful "Wake Up" and quickly goes on to showcase this young band's unmatched ability to blend modern day pop/rock* and (amazingly enough!) classic rock like Heart and Pat Benatar(!) into what is already a really classy version of European symphonic metal! That proves to a completely new take on symphonic metal that is unbelievably enjoyable as far as listening experiences go! Without going too far into each and every number on Mercy Isle's full-length debut, "Undying Fire" is a amazing collection of songs that is second to none. Collectively these numbers sync together in such a smooth fashion that you can't help but imagine this album as a concept release. Like the days gone by when we used to have actual LPs and not just a mishmash of singles and filler material, "Undying Love" should be listened to in one sitting...start to finish. Otherwise I'm not sure you can actual appreciate the magnitude of this stylistically-rich recording.  For the members of Mercy Isle I offer my congratulations on what is one of the classiest releases of the year! Here's hoping "Undying Fire" is just the first of many such wondering albums!!
*Think high-end pop like Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlack, Beyonce, etc. 

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