Mother of Mercy
IV: Symptoms of Existence


3.5
great

Review

by Dante Alighieri USER (85 Reviews)
February 9th, 2011 | 17 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Faster, heavier, darker: all the right symptoms of a successful sophomore album.

While maybe naming their second full length album IV could be considered jumping the gun a little bit, it can be said that Phillie hardcore band, Mother of Mercy, carry themselves in the same way as a band into their fourth full length would. Ever since their debut album III, they have shown the confidence, maturity and determination in their brand of catchy, darkened hardcore that is on the same level at veterans of the genre. Granted, Mother of Mercy, like most hardcore bands out there, is comprised of members of past bands (ex-member of Let Down, in this case), they have a certain niche that they fill in their perspective genre that they have done an admirable job in striking for. While not necessarily an entirely unique take on the genre, Mother of Mercy blend the simplistic, catchy chords of 90’s hardcore, and blends it with the bleak, darkened metallic attitude of legendary bands Obituary and Samhain. III did an acceptable number for Mother of Mercy and following into the New Year their sophomore album, IV: Symptoms of Existence continues on the trend that their debut started.

From first glance, the average passerby might confuse Symptoms of Existence as some offshoot, blackened crossover thrash band. The album art is definitely one of the more melodramatic of the genres and in some cases the initial impression may be somewhat justified. IV is a very abrasive and all-encapsulating album that is a much heavier, darker affair than Mother of Mercy’s debut. Essentially building upon all the positives that made III such a gripping listen, Mother of Mercy continue to delve deeper in the darker territories of hardcore; not so much black metal, as the common trend tends to be these days, but by greeting the listener with a near wall of sound like atmosphere. This might make individual instrumentation difficult to single out, as it tends to all bleed into the equivalent of one cacophonous sonic battering ram. Following the heavy opening riff of the eponymous track ‘Symptoms of Existence’, the listener is greeted by a banshee-like vocalist that should sound out of the place with the relatively straight forward hardcore chords, but they surprisingly complement each other extremely well. This also brings Mother of Mercy’s probably most key member of the band out the most, vocalist Bob Wilson. His screams are more akin to much a wailing than your typical Terror-tough guy. It serves as a double-edged sword, as his vocal talent can be seen as a welcome advantage for its surprisingly abrasive nature, yet can also be a disadvantage for the very same reason. It is mostly up to personal choice, as it could make or break ones opinion on Mother of Mercy.

There is another possible problem that could coalesce into either of positive or a negative, depending on individual opinion. While the wall-of-sound like production is very apparent on Symptoms of Existence, it cannot be denied that at the very heart of it, it is mostly an extremely simplistic and honest hardcore/punk album. Guitarists Vince and Joe do standup jobs in their respective departments, but they keep their formula very basic, not going outside the realms of easy song structures to form simplistic, yet very catchy tracks. Nearly every song on Symptoms of Existence follows this formula, but becomes very apparent on tracks like ‘Live Through Darkness’, ‘Control’, ‘Swinging the Chain’, and ‘Soul Burns Slow’, where the instrumentation is akin to acts such as This is Hell or Comeback Kid. This is where individual opinion comes into play. While some listeners might appreciate the fact that Mother of Mercy are willing to experiment with their sound a bit, yet keep their heart and soul firmly in friendly territory, some might be turned off by the overall simplicity that is constantly felt on IV.

But Mother of Mercy has done a job well done on their sophomore album, IV: Symptoms of Existence. Faster, darker, and heavier, IV continues on the same path that Mother of Mercy started out on their debut III and further refines it. While some aspects of IV can either make or break ones opinion on Mother of Mercy, they have done all the right things to craft an acceptable and successful sophomore album.



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user ratings (27)
Chart.
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
BallsToTheWall
February 9th 2011


44805 Comments


Pretty sure I saw this in Decibel or whatnot saying for fans of Entombed, Integrity and Slayer. That said I mean to check these guys out. Good review.

cvlts
February 9th 2011


8986 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks dude. Never really got into Integrity or Slayer so I wouldn't know on that. Not really Entombed sounding, though...

accompliceofmydeath
February 9th 2011


4302 Comments


Balls, these guys didn't really sound anything like those bands you mentioned when I saw them live. Still worth a listen though.

Digging: Snapcase - Progression Through Unlearning

BallsToTheWall
February 9th 2011


44805 Comments


No im pretty sure what the staement said. You know label do that kind of shit.

For Motionless in White it's for fans of TDWP, Slipknot and Underoath.

deathofasalesman
February 9th 2011


5871 Comments


I heard most of this when they stream it. Pretty good stuff and great review.

cvlts
February 10th 2011


8986 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

appreciate it

Hep Kat
February 11th 2011


15405 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

awesome a;bum

Digging: Burning Kitchen - Many Wonder About the Meaning of Life

Hep Kat
April 1st 2011


15405 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

bump


still my favorite hardcore album of the year

cvlts
April 1st 2011


8986 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

fuck. have completely forgot about this album. gonna listen again, ruelz from what i remember.

Hep Kat
April 1st 2011


15405 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

mother of mercy have been one of my favorite bands for like 3 years now


and not one of their albums has an "excellent" or better average. seriously fuck this site

cvlts
April 1st 2011


8986 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

lol y so butthurt?

Hep Kat
April 1st 2011


15405 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

cause their music is sweet as fuck and they bring the FUCK out of it live

drasticaction74
August 1st 2011


1767 Comments


tryna fuck

RosaParks
September 16th 2011


15051 Comments


this kills holy fuck

cvlts
December 16th 2011


8986 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

bumpin this thread.

RIP

UnderDaIce
December 22nd 2011


203 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Why can't I stop listening to this? Oh yea its awesome

UnderDaIce
December 22nd 2011


203 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

They better get off hiatus asap



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