“The Hours That Remain” by Mercenary

Artist: Mercenary
Title: “The Hours That Remain”
Label: Century Media Records
Release Date: 8/22/2006
Genre: Progressive Metal
Rating: 5/5

My first exposure to Mercenary came with their debut on Century Media Records with the release “11 Dreams”. It was an album that took established standards in the Death Metal realm and combined them effectively with happenings in the Progressive and Power Metal areas. The end result was a magnificent album that was very difficult to turn off once you had listened to it in full. “The Hours That Remain” marks the bands fourth actual album but second for CMR and its good to see that the sophomore curse does not apply on ones new label in terms of Mercenary. The band continues along the same lines that they gave on “11 Dreams” and this sense of continuity keeps the listener in tune with the style and vibe that they deliver. The thing most Metal fans will enjoy about Mercenary I feel is the clever use of multi-layered vocals that add a certain “big” sound to every song. The guitar and drum work is exceptional throughout and as the album begins with “Redefine Me” you are quickly brought back into the sound of the band in case you had somehow forgotten what they were all about. It’s a quick reminder as the pummeling begins with “Year Of The Plague”, the dark Death vocals now mixing with the clean and the layering to bring a different level of life to this bands music. “My World Is Ending” has the potential to be a decent single for the band as it’s not as over the top and maintains a steadier crunch and perhaps can have the audience singing along with fists pumping to the air.

The neo-classical keyboard feel of “Lost Reality” adds a mixing of Progressive and Opeth textures together and should also become a favorite of the listener. The tricky thing about a Mercenary album which I learned the first time around was the difficulty that one has in turning it off once it completes. I enjoyed the whole thing once again, and the title track “The Hours That Remain” (also the albums longest track) makes for the perfect closer of this album.

The band members stand at Mikkel Sandager (vocals), Rene Pedersen (bass), Jokob Molberg (guitar), Martin Buus (lead guitar), Mike Park (drums), Morten Sandager (keys/piano). The six-member group is assisted on a couple of songs by Soilwork’s “Speed” Strid and Heaven Shall Burn’s Marcus Bischoff. Fans of Soilwork, Scar Symmetry, and Nevermore should really look more into Mercenary who are continuing to prove that they are one of the best bands in Heavy Metal today.

Track Listing:
1. Redefine Me
2. Year Of The Plague
3. My World Is Ending
4. This Eternal Instant
5. Lost Reality
6. Soul Decision
7. Simplicity Demand
8. Obscure Indiscretion
9. My Secret Window
10. The Hours That Remain

Official Web site: www.mercenary.dk

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