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As a person who enjoys, and respects when a band takes risks, and experiments, or does a slight changes to their style every once in a while, I dug this album for the most part. Many good bands have messed around with changing their style at some point, whether it was a small change, or a huge change. Paradise Lost, Napalm Death, Firewind, Lazarus A.D., Celtic Frost, Corrosion of Conformity, Darkthrone, and Tiamat have all released great albums that had some changes in their style.
Napalm Death going from their straight grindcore style on "From Enslavement to Obliteration" to the classic death metal album "Harmony Corruption". Corrosion of Conformity going from crossover thrashing on "Animosity" to the genre pigeonhole destroying album "Blind". Darkthrone going from raw black metal to a more crust punk/speed metal sound. Celtic Frost going from the extreme metal style on "Morbid Tales", and "To Mega Therion" to the avant garde metal album "Into the Pandemonium", to the shameful mess that was "Cold Lake", to the more thrash based "Vanity/Nemesis", to the awesome gothic/doom metal album that is "Monotheist".......I think you get where I'm going with this by now......hahaha
Like I said, I love it when bands take chances, and change up their sound, whether it's good, or horribly band(....like Cold Lake....). I was pleased to hear that Mercenary switched it up a bit. I will say this album isn't as good as "Architect of Lies", "11 Dreams", or "Everblack", but I do think it kicks the crap out of "The Hours That Remain". (I don't know why, but I've always hated that album)
The album kick off with "Through the Eyes of the Devil" which has a pretty decent intro with a short build up. Rene does his normal hardcore-ish sounding vocals, then he does some shrieking and death growls, and then the chorus hits and he shows that he can sing similar to Mikkel. Which was my biggest concern about this album since Mikkel left the band. I thought Rene would just do the hardcore-ish sounding harsh vocals he usually does, and It would get old really fast, but I was totally wrong. I really liked that track. Then, "The Follower" which is a good song, but not one of the better ones off the album. It has it's moments, but for the most part it's just there, IMO. Still a good listen though."Memoria" is one the songs I find myself listening to a lot. It shows that Rene is a great singer, and can do both clean, and harsh vocals well, but he is obviously not a Christian Alvestam. But, I do think the fact that Rene does those vocals, and plays bass at the same time, makes him go a little bit higher in the talent dept, since you don't see Alvestam do that. It's just an overall nice mid-paced melodic song.
"In Bloodred Shades" is a song I listen too a bit. It has a good mix of clean and harsh vocals. "On The Edge of Sanity" was the 1st song of the album I listened to, and right a way it became one of my favorite tracks on the album. I noticed right away that Rene displayed a lot more vocal ability then the other albums he was on. Not as one dimensional, but I already pointed that one when I talked about "Through the Eyes of the Devil". It's a catchy song. Even though the chorus does repeat a little too much, IMO. It's still an awesome song. "The Black Brigade" is a love song about how he won't commit suicide, because he love he/she so much. I used to HATE love songs, until I got into the band Norther, and heard their song "Omen". I really like this song. IMO, it stands out a bit over the other songs.
If you got the American version of the album, like I did, you get a bonus track called "Incorporate Your Demons", which is my favorite track on the album. I don't get why it was bonus, it should have been on all versions of the album. Same with "Death Connection" on "Architect of Lies". This song does somewhat sound like an All That Remains song during the chorus. Only because of the vocals somewhat sound like Phil Labonte's clean vocals, during that part.
It's not their best, but it's pretty good. IMO, people expected way to much out of this album. They just had a major line-up change so you can't expect them to release something super epic.
Tracks I really liked:
Incorporate Your Demons
On The Edge of Sanity
The Black Brigade
Through the Eyes of the Devil
Tracks I didn't care for:
I'm not great at doing reviews, but I thought I'd post a positive review, since I enjoyed this album overall. I honestly don't give a damn if an album has a more commercial/mainstream sound to it. I'm a pretty open minded person toward most music, so that sh*t doesn't bother me.
I know this is pretty contradicting since I'm typing up a review, but don't let a negative review get in your way of listening to an album you've been wanting to listen too. Obviously, reviews are 100% based on opinion, so don't let others opinions change yours. If you like an album, you like it.....end of story.