MERCENARY — Metamorphosis (review)

MERCENARY — Metamorphosis album cover Album · 2011 · Melodic Death Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
"Metamorphosis" is the 6th full-length studio album by Danish metal act Mercenary. The album was released in February 2011 by NoiseArt Records. Great changes in the lineup have occurred since the release of "Architect of Lies (2008)" as lead vocalist Mikkel Sandager, keyboard player Morten Sandager and drummer Mike Park Nielsen have left the band. New drummer is Morten Løwe Sørensen. Bassist/ vocalist René Pedersen who delivered the harsh vocals on "Architect of Lies" have been promoted to lead vocalist on "Metamorphosis" and now sings both harsh and clean vocals in addition to handling the bass. Guitarist Martin Buus Pedersen now also handles the keyboards making Mercenary a four-piece on "Metamorphosis" instead of a six-piece as they were on "Architect of Lies".

You´d think losing especially the Sandager brothers would have a great effect on how "Metamorphosis" sounds, but that´s actually not the case. "Metamorphosis" is through and through a Mercenary album. Mikkel Sandager was a skilled vocalist but René Pedersen also delivers his clean vocals in style and with conviction. The music on the album is the usual mix of melodic death metal and power metal with sequenced electronic elements. The latter element is only used sparsely on this album though. The harsh vocals have a slight "core" sound to them and they are more screaming than growling. The tracks are vers/ chorus structured with harsh vocal in the verses and clean vocals in the choruses. The choruses are pop oriented, anthemic and memorable. Not completely unlike the pop oriented nature of fellow Danes in Raunchy. The tracks are a bit too formulaic though and while they are all quality material to my ears, Mercenary are best when they break out of their comfort zone. A harsher styled track like "On the Edge of Sanity" proves that point. I wish they would do that more often.

The sound production is professional, polished and suits the music style perfectly. Add to that excellent musicianship and you have a quality metal release right there. The last two albums by the band "The Hours That Remain (2006)" and "Architect of Lies" had a somewhat similar sound, and while the keyboards/ synths have been toned down slightly on "Metamorphosis", Mercenary pretty much continue down the same path they had such great success with on the last couple of releases. I´m sure the fans will be delighted. As a more casual listener I´m probably a bit more critical though and while I think the album is an instantly enjoyable listen I´m questioning the longevity of the release. Fans of pop oriented melodic death metal/ power metal will probably disagree with me but I´m simply not sure I´ll take the album out in 10 years and think it´s a fantastic timeless release. A 3.5 - 4 star rating is still warranted though.
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Diogenes wrote:
more than 2 years ago
Good review. As a fan, I was indeed delighted to hear this one, although I agree that it isn't as memorable as their past releases. But I think it's fantastic for a band that just lost most of its talent.


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