Through Our Darkest Days

SKU: 10154-2
Label:
Prosthetic Records
Category:
Thrash Metal
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"Is this really the end? Our story told, forever to be forgotten in the ashes of time? When we will perish, will anyone remember life stories, personal ventures gone into the vastness of space? No doubt that the question of mankind’s future existence is something that most people tend to ignore, busy with their daily troubles, probably only have nightmares about it or watching disasters in movies. On the other hand, that same question has a magnitude that will eventually consume the wanderers, possibly to cause paranoia, but it will still remain a personal truth. Within the vast corridors of Metal music, mankind’s quandary of survival has been quite a topic, always diverting patterns of thoughts regarding the matter whether with vile disgust or slightly more optimistic point of view. The Danish MERCENARY reached out for what would be considered as the darkened days, where mankind will be consumed by disease, hate and perdition. “Through Our Darkest Days”, via NoiseArt Records, carries on the bands continual modern melodic Death Metal deliveries, a hybrid with what could be perceived as contemporary Power Metal. Within the banned outskirts, a possible future is here, alive, telling its tale.

Amidst the obscurest demesnes of “Through Our Darkest Days”, MERCENARY seemed to have preserved their musical principles since their earlier days. This new number shares the band’s greatest qualities once again on display. The impeccably crafted melodic Death Metal with updated driven Power Metal, a bit closer to the its modern Swedish counterpart al’a SOILWORK, Jakob Mølbjerg and Martin Buus provided assorted types of riffing whether shooting off harmonies in the vein of IRON MAIDEN, showcasing melancholic melodies or barraging partial staccato rhythms and several other palm muted chugs, a breed of a creative view, Buus delivering frantic soloing showing off his expertise with a few Bluesy like surprises on the side, Peter Mathiesen clearly a worthy addition to this band since his first days in 2009 with being a diverse drummer and of course at the bass and vocals, René Pedersen. I believed that I said it before, after reviewing the band’s previous “Metamorphosis”, but it has to be said again, ever since the departure of Mikkel Sandager, Pedersen took the reins as both clean and growl vocals. In that moment, I became even a bigger fan of the band as Pedersen drama fused clean vocals along with low to mid end growls of high quality swept me off my feet, always channeling spectacular harmonies that sound so rich and endless.

Generally, “Through Our Darkest Days”, in comparison to the previous contender, “Metamorphosis”, felt somewhat defiant, aggressive, heavier, but also catchier that before much like the band’s earlier discography. Furthermore, the album’s amazing flow, and atmospheric acuities, created a sort of an understanding of the dimmed message the band is trying to create in front of you, mostly thanks to the profound grasp of the keyboards meeting perfectly with the band’s melodic fortitudes. “A New Dawn”, “Through Our Darkest Days” and “Holding On To Serenity”, assumingly the album’s prime highlights, were able to slightly shade the impact of early songs as “Firesoul” and “Shades Of Grey”. “Dreamstate Machine” and “A Moment of Clarity” delivered a chunk of fistful of heaviness, in your face Metal with distinctive sense of anger but also a look for beyond, out of the box inside looking out, harmonic vocals so emotive along with well written guitar riffs, cracking with rhythmic simplicity in times, but still shrewd as always. In last few words, it will never be the same, but MERCENARY, since emerging as a foursome crew, has been assimilating the meaning of true greatness, their attention to details is exemplary with great ideas to keep up the foundation going. " - Metal Temple

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  • Michael Romeo doesn't work quickly.  The man takes his time and a new Symphony X album is ready when its been honed to perfection.  Underworld is the first new album in four years.  To get to the point its ridiculously great.  Up through V, the band were the modern agents of neoclassical/symphonic metal.  With The Odyssey the band took a left turn with Russell Allen's vocals being more agressive and a pervasive overall crunchiness, heaviness to the sound.  Perhaps a bit less symphonic sounding.  With Underworld fans of the "old style" will smile once again.  The band has found a way to balance both sides of their sound.  Its heavy but extremely melodic.  Russell's vocals are spot on and Mr. Romeo's solos have an organic flow that will sweep you through the tune.  Its a beautiful marriage of styles - not too much of either direction that the band has exhibited in the past.  Toss in a theme built around Dante's Inferno and you've totally sucked me back in to the fold.  BUY OR DIE!"A lot has happened with New Jersey-based progressive metal band SYMPHONY X since the Iconoclast album was released four years ago. Singer ‘Sir’ Russell Allen recorded and toured behind several releases with ADRENALINE MOB, toured with TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA and recorded the album The Great Divide with ALLEN-LANDE. Bassist Mike Lepond toured with HELSTAR and released his excellent solo album under the name SILENT ASSASSINS. Keyboardist Michael Pinnella released a solo album and guitarist Michael Romeo made guest appearances on some albums. Drummer Jason Rullo battled and successfully recovered from heart failure in 2013.Four years later, SYMPHONY X delivers another fantastic album, the band sounding just as powerful as Iconoclast, and amazingly never missing a beat. Titled Underworld, it is sort of a concept album, loosely based on Dante’s epic poem Inferno. 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(The total album length is just over an hour, compared to Iconoclast’s two discs that were around 83 minutes).To be honest, the last two SYMPHONY X albums, 2007’s Paradise Lost and 2011’s Iconoclast were my favorite albums released by the band so far. I refer to them as the “angry” SYMPHONY X, mainly due to Russell Allen’s vocal delivery and the aggressive music on those particular albums. So, I waited to see if we would get a third album in this same vein from SYMPHONY X. The songs on Underworld seem to alternate between prog and aggression, but for the most part, the album is not as “angry” as Iconoclast. The album strikes a perfect balance between prog and power. Some songs are aggressive without being “angry”. There are definitely more classic SYMPHONY X elements here than on recent releases.The album is much more accessible than previous albums. The songs overall are shorter (most clocking in at around the 5-6 minute mark), and more to the point than on previous albums. For example, “Kiss Of Fire” is one of the best tracks I’ve ever heard by SYMPHONY X. It immediately became a favorite of mine on this album, with the verse, “Bring down the hammer, with serious anger – It’s me against the world!” section and the chorus becoming some of my favorite moments. This song probably represents the album to me more than any other, but the album is filled with classics, such as opener “Nevermore”, a ferocious track that is aggressive in the verses, while the chorus is more melody-driven. The title track follows, with many twists, turns and speed sections. “Without You” is a standout track. With its guarded delivery by Allen and acoustic guitar flowing in the background, it is probably the mellowest moment on Underworld, but that’s not a bad thing. The chorus is the focus of the track, with Allen performing some of his best work. The song probably has the most potential as a single. Another solid track, “Charon”, named for the ferry boatman of the underworld, follows. This track has a middle-eastern flavor to it.The longest track on the album (9:24 in length) follows, the excellent “To Hell And Back”. This song has so many great parts, it’s hard to pick a particular favorite, possibly Allen’s soaring vocal on the chorus or the “on and on and on / no quarter asked, no quarter given” section. “In My Darkest Hour” follows and is another favorite of mine, featuring speed riffing parts, mixed with a melodic chorus. Allen really shines on this song. “Run With The Devil” is even more up-tempo and another one of the more accessible songs due to the chorus. “Swan Song” finds keyboardist Pinnella taking the bulk of the spotlight with his piano flourishes. The album closes with the excellent “Legend”. Allen’s aggressive pre-chorus vocals and melodic chorus vocals make this an instant classic.I believe the playing on Underworld is at another level for the band. Lepond’s bass work is spectacular throughout and Jason Rullo makes a real statement with his drum performance. Fantastic work from keyboardist Michael Pinnella and of course guitarist Michael Romeo’s amazing riffs and solos are worth the price alone. But you get more, don’t you? You get one of the best singers in metal, Sir Russell Allen, making yet another classic album even better with his voice.The album’s exquisite cover artwork (once again by illustrator Warren Flanagan) features the return of the SYMPHONY X masks, around which are eight symbols that represent the circles of hell: limbo, lust, gluttony, greed, anger, heresy, violence, and fraud. The symbol for treachery, the ninth circle, is underneath the masks, and hopefully will be revealed in full inside the album packaging.Underworld is a great album, which grew on me the more I listened to it. SYMPHONY X are masters of American prog metal, and have been for quite some time. Underworld further cements that reputation, and will undoubtedly please fans of all eras of the band." - KNAC.com 
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  • I can't remember a buzz on a band's debut since Circus Maximus.  Perhaps due to the album being released in Japan a year ago and its unavailability elsewhere, maybe because they are lined up to play ProgPowerUSA.  Whatever the reason the album finally gets a wide debut and it was worth the wait.  Damnation Angels is a British symphonic metal band fronted by a Norwegian singer.  He goes by the name PelleK and was a contestant on Norway's version of X Factor.  The band's stock in trade is epic sounding metal that pays a huge debt to Kamelot.  The instrumental passages take on the grandeur and scope of Nightwish.  PelleK does a sold job out front - he's obviously listened to a Khan quite a bit.  Highly recommended.
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  • New band fronted by former Scar Symmetry vocalist Christian Alvestam. Music is definitely in the Soilwork/Mercenary vein but with the progressive element turned up a notch. Alvestam sings in a variety of styles - his clean vocals are great and he does the death growl about as well as anyone.
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  • Remastered edition with two bonus tracks."Journey's ninth new studio album found the group reduced to a trio of guitarist Neal Schon, singer Steve Perry, and keyboard player Jonathan Cain. But even without their regular rhythm section, the group was able to re-create the accessible pop/rock sound perfected on earlier albums such as Escape and Frontiers. Schon's guitar still cut through the fat keyboard chords, and Perry's fluid tenor still gave the songs an airy, melodic appeal. All of that was good for sales of two million copies and five chart singles, four of which made the Top 40 and one of which, "Be Good to Yourself," reached the Top Ten. That didn't match the seven-million-selling number one Escape, but it confirmed that Journey's music had a large audience right to the (temporary) end of its career." - All Music Guide
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