F U L L . R E V I E W S
Every so often a Metal band comes along with a CD that could possibly change the direction and level of quality in the genre. With the release of “11 Dreams” on Century Media Records; Mercenary has proved themselves to be one such band. As you listen to this piece you will find yourself surrounded by a wide variety of textures and feels. Is it Black? Is it Progressive? Is it Traditional? To be honest there is a fine mix of all these aspects of the Metal genre which makes it very difficult to define under one label or criteria. After a brooding keyboard intro the game is on with “World Hate Center” which thunders in guitar and drumming and even in one’s living room or desk at the office you will find the fist raised in Metal support. Taking a page from the Soilwork book the guys in Mercenary use two vocal styles to some positive effect. Most of the piece is growled through by bassist Kral yet the clean and powerful voice of Mikkel Sandager take you through the darkness. At times Mikkel reminded me of Midnight from Crimson Glory with his pure and passionate vocal lines.
There are a lot of strong musical expressions on the CD and I admit that my very favorite tracks comprised the earliest section of the record. “11 Dreams” and “Firesoul” are excellent and in each of them the band performs admirably. These guys are a talented bunch and it’s clear from this album. After this offering I feel that we are only seeing the start of what the group is capable of. It’s the kind of band that fans of Soilwork might really enjoy because it is very in your face like they are yet they also venture off into different musical feels that one does not always find in a Heavy Metal band. The use of keyboard is impressive and the appearance of them on top of the big harmonies the band introduces in choruses brings a lot of these songs to life very well. Keyboards are delivered with finesse by Mikkels Brother Morten. There are a couple of epic numbers running at 7 and 8 minutes each and the band does not get boring in them by any stretch of the imagination. One sometimes dreads the extended artistic expression for it can lose something by being too long. Time seems to fly by in the case of Mercenary.
The bonus tracks are different renditions of the song “11 Dreams”. I felt that the radio mix is pointless since radio people get their specific copy of the release but the 3-D mix is unique. I suggest you wear headphones for this one as the effect with the recording aspects is very interesting. This truly has to be one of the best Metal releases in 2005, and given it came to us in February this was not an easy judgment call to make. It has my highest of recommendations and I think many will be on the same page with me very early in their listen.
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