Review Summary: Mercenary steered back in the right path, successfully creating an amazing melodic death metal album worth a listen.
Despite their earlier releases and whole-hearted labours, Mercenary stays an underrated band in the vast land of melodic death metal for many years. This continued until the 2000’s, the time that the band achieved the highest point of their career when The Hours That Remain
and 11 Dreams
has been added into their solid discography, and an immediate, yet positive consensus is established as 11 Dreams
turned out to be a successful release. Denmark-based band Mercenary quickly rose to their prominence and signifies the glory days of their melodeath/power-metal style that captures influences from Soilwork, In Flames and Dark Tranquility.
Truth to be told, Mercenary could be a potential band for its modern melodic death metal adversaries. And having said that, the band also have gone through major conundrums, specifically the shocking line-up changes that many would have thought that it would selfishly harm their career. This would be true for Metamorphosis
, and it is to be expected. However, with optimistic yet incredible remarks, Mercenary's latest outing, Through Our Darkest Days
is a perfect craft of their play-safe formula: multi-faceted songwriting with catchy, yet predictable embellishments that is always been used up for their melodeath gimmicks and advantages.
Mercenary follows the very simple pattern of catchy riffs and vocal work, and it often leads to their hooky, sing-worthy choruses, and luckily, the aforementioned strategy works. With a headstart from a working formula, album opener "A New Dawn" is a flamboyant track that showcases hard-hitting riffs and melodic guitar work along with its bombastic chorus. It is an anthem of a song, which is an enjoyable listen in its own right. Some of the tracks ideally weave its way through the listeners due to their similar-sound perspective. “A Moment of Clarity” and “Dreamstate Machine” are two of this, as the band shows their tireless dedication by staying powerful in every track, with superficial shifts from key work and catchy choruses accompanied by rhythmic and melodic guitar works. “Generation Hate” is a heavy track, characterized by guttural mid-screams, power metal-driven guitar work and energetic drums that never seemed to sound out of place.
Ever since the departure of Mikkel Sandager, René Pedersen took the honor of doing both cleans and growl vocals for Mercenary, which is very exceptional on both marks. His powerful growl drives the atmosphere of the whole album, and his emotional cleans honestly boosts Through Our Darkest Days’
standout moments. “A New Dawn”, “A Moment of Clarity”, and “Generation Hate”, arguably the album’s prime highlights, were able to deliver effectively the momentum of band towards higher form of musicianship.
With a runtime of around fifty-minutes, Through Our Darkest Days
almost feels like a short listen, as the record encompasses all the catchy aspects that made the record a consistent effort, and Mercenary as a formidable troupe in terms of sound. The album shares all the attributes that made 11 Dreams
and The Hours That Remain
a memorable listen. Mercenary successfully steered back in the right path, away from the vicious Metamorphosis they have gone through.