Review Summary: Prog-metal with a heavy dose of thrash and a little death-metal for good measure. Fans of Into Eternity, Nevermore, and maybe even Andromeda will dig this.
This band has almost entirely changed since the 20th century, so much in fact, that they now have very little death metal attached to their sound. As the summary states, these guys are very similar to Into Eternity
, and (surprise surprise) have played at the Prog-Power festival with Into Eternity at least a few times (check out Prog-Power USA at http://www.progpowerusa.com/ ).
The Hours That Remain
utilizes a variety of styles to create a prog-metal explosion of hybrid styles; however, none of this is ever forced and makes for an enjoyable (and very brutal) listen.
From the power-metal intro of Redefine Me
to the evil deathy beginnings of Year of the Plague
, the listener immediately understands that if anything (besides a kick in the face), this is going to be a diverse ride. A down-tempo progressive jaunt later, and it is very much obvious that Mikkel Sandager has some great clean vocals, reminiscient of Andromeda
whenever not in falsetto.
A few musical tendencies become apparent mid-way through the album:
- The guitarists, Martin Buus and Jakob Mølbjerg, *really* enjoy either downtuning a lot or 7-string guitars; their playing reminds me of the complimentary style of Nevermore
- The keyboards are not overbearing, like many other prog/power bands, the outro melody to This Eternal Instant
is especially tasteful and really enhances the atmospheric experience.
- The bass is far too low in the mix, like most metal albums, it's merely just "there".
- The drummer is only solid at his very best, which isn't a big deal, as I don't really see how better drumming would benefit this album that much. He is an adequate metal drummer.
The hard-hitting Soul Decision
continues into the second half of the album with a bang and exemplifies exactly what kind of music these guys have been playing for over a decade. That said, they follow it up with one of the most crushingly beautiful songs of the year (so far), Simplicity Demand
; I usually don't like spoiling individual tracks for people, but this song made my jaw drop with a great acoustic intro and tasteful keyboard melodies, while still upholding a fast tempo. The album ends just as impressively as it began, with some of the best songs appearing at the end... which is refreshing to me, as most bands like to throw their best material up front, with a severely lacking end.
This Eternal Instant
- Awesome use of electronic beats
The Hours That Remain
Highly reccommended for folks that enjoy melodic death-metal and/or progressive-metal. I am very glad that Mercenary
decided to shift styles; compared to their older mid-tempo death-metal, this is a lot more interesting. Finally, the production on this release is far better than anything they have ever done previously.