I wish I could turn it off. Turn off the dirty death metal vocals from Mercenary. I almost didn't review their latest release 'Architect Of Lies,' simply for this reason. I remember loving '11 Dreams' (2004) because of its mixture of intensity and melody; the guitar work was incredible. But, then again the dirty vocals ruined the consistency. I'm sure they think they're doing the metal world a service by combining elements of death metal with melodic heavy metal. However, I'm still ambivalent. With 'Architect,' I find myself in the same dilemma, but I'll review it anyway, if only as an FYI.
Denmark's Mercenary calls their music 'melo-death' metal, another phrase for 'melodic and death metal.' Essentially this is the formula: add power metal and traditional melodic metal with the vocals of death metal and the sum is 'melo-death.' To their credit, I would agree that mercenary does it better than most anyone else. And also, there may not be as much dirty vocals this time around, but I'm not measuring. On top of all this, there is a lot neo-progressive elements throughout.
'Isolation' is by far the best work on the album: strong, intense, melodic and easy on the dirty vocals. By this time my ears have been trained to ignore (as much as possible), most dirty vocals and listen to the music. And that is the single great characteristic of Mercenary: despite the adventures into dirty vocals, they compose great melodic metal with influences from traditional heavy, progressive and power metal.
Frankly, Mercenary is a great band. But they need to give up the whole death/dirty vocal vibe. It's old and so American. 'Architect Of Lies' is a phenomenal album if you can get over this one single characteristic. Recommended!
- Craig Hartranft
Though the dirty/death vocals remain, Denmark's Mercenary prove that they are masters of great metal: intense, melodic and nearly progressive. Tune your ears to tune out the horrible vocals and you will find this album appealing.