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Mercenary: Through Our Darkest Days

Denmark's melodic death metal/power metal act Mercenary are a band that I've followed pretty closely and enjoyed quite a bit since their 2005 release 11 Dreams, but for some reason this latest one got kind of lost within my overly stuffed promo file folder. Better late than never though, as I'm happy to be finally getting the chance to hear this latest release after being somewhat disappointed with 2011's Metamorphosis. That album saw some line-up changes and a slight shift in style, but it appears the band are now back to creating kick ass melodic extreme metal music.

One of my problems with Metamorphosis was the extreme vocals of bassist René Pedersen, who seemed to take more of a metalcore style as opposed to the straight death metal growls on previous releases. While that's still the case in spots here, there's much more of a death metal element to go along with some absolutely soaring clean vocals that will bring you back to the glory days of 11 Dreams and The Hours That Remain. As a well rounded singer, Pedersen is really coming into his own here, which is great to see. Fans of the back catalog of course know how well this band always were at crafting brutal yet catchy & progressive songs, and there's plenty of those to be found on this CD. "Dreamstate Machine", "Welcome to Sickness", and the title track are all instantly memorable, with catchy hooks thanks to the great clean vocal choruses, but also crushing riffs, blazing lead guitar from Martin Buus, Peter Mathiesen's busy drum work, just the right amount of keyboards, and maniacal growls & screams. Buus, along with Jakob Molbjerg, create a wall of heavy, melodic riffage on the engaging "A Moment of Clarity", while his symphonic keyboards meet up with Pedersen's soaring vocals on the ultra catchy "Beyond This Night", one of the real highlights here. One of the heaviest tracks is easily "Generation Hate", a real crushing piece with some monstrous riffs and angry vocals, while the complex & melodic "Forever the Unknown" is a safe bet for all the progressive metal fans in the house.

While perhaps not quite as successful as the lofty 11 Dreams, The Hours That Remain, and Architect of Lies, it's damn close, and over time might very well be considered as worthy as those three Mercenary classics. When Mikkel Sandager left the band, it was a huge loss as he really is a great singer, but Pedersen has quickly developed into a vocalist with an incredible range and the ability to fit many styles. He does it all and does it all quite well here, so much so that Sandager is now a distant memory. Toss in plenty of those irresistible Mercenary hooks, a boatload of brutality, shredding guitar solos, and lots of progressive elements, and you have another winner from this underrated band.

Track Listing
1. A New Dawn
2. Welcome the Sickness
3. Through Our Darkest Days
4. Dreamstate Machine
5. A Moment of Clarity
6. Beyond This Night
7. Starving Eyes
8. Generation Hate
9. Forever the Unknown

Added: October 19th 2013
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 2762
Language: english

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