The Hours That Remain

Written by: MY on 24/08/2006 23:32:03

Now that I'm sitting in the office, trying to decide what to write about Mercenary's new album, I'm actually trying to decide if I should write the review or not. It's a hard one, not because it's the best or the worst album I've ever heard, but because it's something personal and therefore it's hard to be unbiased.

Let me take you to 2004, the year that Mercenary released their Century Media Records debut album "11 Dreams: Years after the band's foundation, 2004 was finally the year that Mercenary broke off their chains. "11 Dreams" brought the band what they wanted; fans, fans and more fans, awesome reviews from the press, world wide success, the trust and the support of their label and even a slot on the Nevermore tour that they had dreamt of for years. But an unfortunate event occured as well; the departure of the band's frontman, bassist and lead vocalist Henrik "Kral" Andersen.

Not too long after the release of "11 Dreams", while Kral was still in the band, I had the chance to interview him. I was at my rookie days at that time and it's one of the first interviews I've ever done but Kral was so sincere, so honest, paying attention to the questions so much that it's still one of my best interviews. Actually if you wonder why I am still doing this job, it's all his fault. I still remember how shocked I was when I had the press-release about his departure. Now let me be honest, too honest maybe, I felt like Kral's departure from the band must be the other guys' fault and they surely wouldn't be able to write a good album without him. But now I can clearly understand that all these were just nonsense thoughts and I was just a little girl who lost her hero.

"The Hours That Remain" is the title of Mercenary's fourth album. And like every Mercenary album, it's produced by Jacob Hansen in his Hansen Studios too. And like every album produced by Jacob Hansen, "The Hours That Remain" has a brilliant sound too. The cover artwork belongs to Travis Smith, he also worked with the band on their second album, Everblack's cover. Soilwork’s Björn "Speed" Strid and Heaven Shall Burn’s Marcus Bischoff are the suprise guest appearances of the album assisting the band on a couple of songs.

So what do we have? Mercenary's music, Century Media Records' quality guarantee, Jacob Hansen's production, Travis Smith's artwork and guest appearances by Strid and Bischoff. As you see, the credits already are enough to convince someone that this album is great!

But maybe you are not convinced yet? Let's have an in-depth look. With the absence of Kral "the mainman supposed to be writing the music", I thought the band's sound would change on this album, especially on the vocal department, but NO! Mercenary holds the same sound they had on "11 Dreams". Describing their style is a little bit hard as they have tons of elements in their music, death metal mixed with power and progressive metal with an atmospheric sound. The vocals remain the same too. All the vocals on the album were done by Mikkel and he did an awesome job on cleans as always and also on shouting, growling. The bass was played by the band's producer Jacob Hansen. Too bad that their new lead vocalist/bassist Rene wasn't in the recording. So you should look forward to the concerts to see how he fits the band.

"Redefine Me" welcomes you to the album, and if you are a new listener, the song is good enough to make you understand what Mercenary's music is all about. Songs like the extremely catchy and straight forward "Soul Decision" as well as the epic and profound "Lost Reality" are prime examples for the band's perfect blend of musical complexity and irresistible catchiness to equal terms. No, I don't want to tell the album song by song, there is no need for this though, I can easily guarantee that from the moment "Redefine Me" starts, you will not be able to find the strength in you to skip tracks, or to do anything else instead of listening to the album or pressing the stop button.

To cut it short, at least in the last pharagraph, "The Hours That Remain" is surely one of the best releases of this year. It's not a classic-last sentence of a review, listen to what I'm saying; Listen to this album, it will be one of the biggest favours you can do to yourself this year.


Download: Redefine Me, My World Is Ending
For the fans of: Nevermore, Communic
Listen: Mercenary@MySpace

Release date 21.08.2006
Century Media Records

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