Toby Hitchcock is known for his work with Pride of Lions, and anyone who knows him knows that he has an amazing voice, perfectly suited for melodic rock, and on his debut solo album Mercury's Down he certainly shows that he has the pipes to to take on the world.
From beginning to end, he delivers on the choruses, the verses, and all the ohs and ahs in between, and the crystalline clarity of his voice definitely makes the catchy parts – of which there are a great many – seem even catchier.
Musically, we are dealing with top class AOR-friendly melodic hard rock – which is hat could be expected from the label Frontiers Records, seeing that they have a lot of really good melodic hard rock acts in their stable. The tracks are well crafted and very catchy, and there is, of course, and emphasis on melody, but Mercury's Down is one of those AOR-style albums where the music is often taken into heavy metal territory, and while you do have the power ballads, like 'Let Go' and 'One Day I'll Stop Loving You', and the pop induced rock songs, like 'How to Stop' and 'Summer Nights in Cabo' (and don't worry, we're not talking Lady GaGa or Rihanna pop... ech!), most of the tunes on the album – including the quieter and more poppy ones – and contain a lot of hard rocking and metallish riffage, and there is an overall uplifting feel to them as well. And some tracks, like 'Tear Down the Barricades', 'A Different Drum', and 'Mercury's Down' are pretty much straight melodic metal tracks. And, while Toby Hitchcock impresses with his singling skills, multi-instrumentalist Erik Martensson takes care of all of the instrumentation on the album and performs more than solidly throughout and will probably leave most listeners flabbergasted and impressed.
I must admit that it took me a couple of spins for the production to sit well with me, because it is a bit rougher than the otherwise clean and polished production that typically characterizes AOR-friendly releases, but actually I think that is refreshing, and it does generate a certain rock authenticity that I appreciate.
Mercury's Down is yet another fine melodic hard rock release, also exploring melodic metal, from Frontiers records, and I would definitely recommend that you check it out if you are into melodic hard rock and melodic metal, and if you like to be impressed by great vocalists, Toby Hitchcock is the man to see... or, well, hear.
1. This Is The Moment
2. Strong Enough
3. How To Stop
4. Let Go
5. One Day I'll Stop Loving You
6. I Should Have Said
7. If It's To Be (It's Up To Me)
8. Just Say Goodbye
9. Summer Nights In Cabo
10. Tear Down The Barricades
11. A Different Drum
12. Mercury's Down