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Echoes and Signals: Mercurial

Echoes and Signals are a progressive rock band hailing from Tula, Russia. Mercurial is the third full length album from the band, and is a transition in their approach as all the songs feature vocals. The band consists of Fedor Kivokurtsev (guitars, vocals) and Alexey Zaytsev (bass, keyboards), and features Leo Margarit (Pain of Salvation) on drums. The story behind this album is based on Kivokurtsev’s experience in psychotherapy, specifically Jungian analysis. To quote Kivokurtsev; “It's based on the dark period of my life that started at the beginning of my 30s. It could be called a mid-age crisis, but was followed by a lot of different and often unpredictable dreams, filled with rich symbols, and this path led me to discovering connections between those mythological symbols, alchemy and my own symptoms. So I started writing this music two years ago, just following the inner compass and those dreams, later the psychotherapy started and it helped a lot in different ways. There's an archetypical scenario called 'the dark sea journey' or 'nigredo' in alchemical terms, the good example is Jonah story from the Bible, meaning that this kind of journey should occur anyway and it serves some purpose.”

Atmosphere is the name of the game on Mercurial. This is definitely the strong suit of the band, and for a three piece, they are able to convey the dark, brooding mood that the concept was based on. There are sparse haunting passages that will shift into guitar heavy driving rhythms. There is not a lot of excessive soloing here, as a matter of fact the lead guitar is kept to a minimum, as the focus is definitely on creating the mood. The closest comparison that I can draw would be the early Riverside albums. Kivokurtsev wrote all the music and lyrics with the exception of “Mirror” and “Tower”, the music was co-written with Zaytsev. My favorite tracks come at the end of the album, where the keyboards seem to step out and play a more prominent role. I really enjoy the change of pace that the keyboard provides, especially in “Mirror”, which contains the most upfront guitar solo on the album. The closing “Dust” has a sense of urgency, and may represent coming out of the dark space, and being better for having gone through the journey.

Overall, my only critique would be that there is a sameness that permeates the album. The songs have the same flavor throughout, lacking variety. There is no real standout track, the songs flow in and out of each other, but the album is missing a classic, powerhouse song. That being said, Echoes and Signals excel at creating dark atmospheric music that is perfectly suited for the subject matter.

Fedor Kivokurtsev - Guitars, Vocals, Production
Alexey Zaytsev - Bass, Keyboards
Drums were recorded and co-composed by Leo Margarit (Pain of Salvation)

Track List:
  1. Darkness (4:57)
  2. Tower (8:29)
  3. Broken Machine (10:13)
  4. In Transition (5:18)
  5. Chaos (4:25)
  6. Mirror (7:53)
  7. Dust (10:02)

Added: April 15th 2021
Reviewer: Eric Porter
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 180
Language: english

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