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A beautifully emotional roller coaster! - 100%

curtis1567, October 28th, 2013

Absolutely stellar! Brilliant! This is one hell of a breathtaking album! Why did I not research Seventh Wonder in depth for so long, despite loving progressive metal so much?!

Let us start by saying that there are only a few metal songs that are touching or emotional enough to make me cry; Kamelot's Love You to Death, Sentenced's Cross My Heart and Hope to Die and Elis' Der Letzte Tag come to mind for now. Seventh Wonder, being the groundbreaking progressive metal band that they are, released an album where I could easily shed manly tears to multiple songs. The opening track, A New Beginning, already pulls at the heartstrings and makes one's heart drop as the sudden car crash rushes at the listener. It makes one go, "What on earth just happened?" Most of the interludes of the album, such as Tears for a Father, and the ballad near the end of the album, One Last Goodbye, really know how to make one tear up. Tommy Karevik sings with so much power, so much emotion in his voice. The conviction in which he sings with almost brings the whole concept album to real life; in other words, his singing breathes an intangible aspect into the album that personifies it, making it seem almost... alive.

Usually I wouldn't want to spoil a concept album, especially one as brilliant as Mercy Falls' one, for the reader, but to fully understand the emotional power the album possesses, one would have to grasp the concept first, so it is inevitable I offer some spoilers. I will try not to destroy the listening experience too much though! The story starts out with a car crash, signifying an accident. The driver, a man, ends up in hospital. While in a coma, he dreams of a town called Mercy Falls, in which he has to find a way out of to return back to real life. Meanwhile, in the real world, his son runs away to sign a form for a bone marrow transplant that could potentially save his dad's life. The bone marrow is rejected because, as revealed in the song Back in Time, the man's wife had an affair and sired the son of another man, explaining the bone marrow rejection. Also, she had told her husband this over the phone, leading to his shock and the car crash. However, just as the man discovers what life really means to him and is about to return to the real world, his wife decides to take him off life support, and he passes away.

Knowing the beautifully dark concept of the album, it is thus lucidly obvious how this album can be an emotional roller coaster. Consider the album to be a transverse wave of sorts; songs such as Unbreakable and A New Day would be the crests of the wave, the highs, exuding a cheerful charm that screams triumph, while songs like Welcome to Mercy Falls and The Black Parade serve as troughs, the lows, having dark undertones yet maintaining the epic feel of the whole album. And let us not forget the solemn parts of the album in which we hear the reflections of each of the characters. Indeed, these proficient Swedes have done so well that the characters feel real; actors of the concept. The whole album is a ride of ups and downs, with Karevik setting the atmosphere with his amazingly well-controlled voice.

That isn't to say that the other members aren't doing anything; it is evident that without them, Seventh Wonder would not have released the successful masterpiece that Mercy Falls is. Each member is so proficient in their instrument, and the playing and chemistry between the band members is so tight that it serves to project the emotion of the album even more. The keyboards are simply brilliant, always standing out when they should and giving the guitars the limelight when time is ripe. The melodies conjured by the keyboards and guitars are simply brilliant, and the synergy between the band members just serve to make it all the more better.

The bass is extremely unique, in my humble opinion. It sets the overall dark tone throughout the whole album, and adds to the depth of the songs greatly. It is what I like to call "soulful playing"; the emotions of the bassist almost seem to transcend the instrument itself, and permeates all the songs on the album, adding more intangible emotional layers to each song.

The drumming is extremely sexy. The drums sound very crisp and slick, and always tight. The rhythm the drumming provides pumps one. This is hard to explain, but the drumming seems to emit good vibes; it bears ode to brilliant playing, which is of course true as proven by the other instruments. All in all, the instruments complement one another perfectly, with each instrument taking the limelight once in a while but never overpowering the other.

Last but not least, what would this album be if not for the vocals? Kamelot had Roy Khan because he was so amazing at portraying emotions through his singing. Is it then any wonder why they picked Karevik to replace him? Karevik's voice is simply wondrous. I thought I had heard it all already, being quite obsessed with singers who do an operatic style of vocals, but then Karevik shows up and blows me away. He has such brilliant control of his voice, and this brilliant control brings about the power and impact that his vocals have. Each note is carefully crafted so as to evoke emotion as is fit for the song. With the change of a single note, Karevik could reduce the most emotionally indifferent man to a sobbing wreck. This shines through on this album; I find myself constantly smiling, and suddenly feeling melancholy. Karevik's vocals do it for me; they are the pinnacle of operatic vocals, along with Khan's.

Unfortunately, a rating above 100% is impossible, else I would have given it long ago. This album is breathtaking. The amazing emotion it conveys to the listener is unprecedented. Up until I had heard the album, I would never have thought it possible to put so much emotion into one concept. There are absolutely no regrets to be harboured listening to this album. Sentimental fools like me are bound to love it, and why not? I feel no guilt or embarrassment admitting to shedding tears over this album. It is an absolute favourite of mine, and is a must-listen for anyone who truly loves music and feels that passion is a key ingredient in crafting songs. This album absolutely does not disappoint.

Mindblowing! - 100%

Kazar, October 10th, 2010

I can honestly say that this is the best album I have ever heard.
Even now - two years after its release - I’m still stunned from all the things I hear on ‘Mercy Falls’. It's a piece of art, in which all 5 bandmembers shine.

'Mercy Falls' is a concept-album with a lot of layers; if you would like to know more about the story, visit the SW-forum for information.

‘Mercy Falls’ opens with the sound of a carcrash and some intro tunes as well - the piano has some nice subtle melodies here. I don’t mind the voices from the docter and especially the woman – the conversations are needed to get the story started.
‘There and back’ is an awesome overture; it sets the tone for what is about to come very well.
'Welcome to Mercy Falls’ is the first real song. The melodies are just awesome! My heart jumps for joy at the 'happy' chorus from 'Unbreakable'. The softer part later on in the song (including a great bass-solo) is also very good.
'Tears for a father' is next and and I really can feel the emotion Tommy puts in this song.

‘A day away’ just kicks my ass – awesome uplifting song with a chorus to die for. Next is a nice little emotional song and after that we get into progmetal-gear again.
‘Paradise’ and ‘Fall in line’ are extremely well-written songs. The words combined with the melodies of the latter one are very challenging. First time I heard it I just thought ‘what the hell is happening here?’.

It can’t get any better than this, right? Wrong.
The guys must have thought: "let’s put some of the most awesome melodies ever into one song and call it ‘Break the silence’"! The build-up of this song is brilliant. “LET THE MUSIC PLAY, LET IT GO ALL THE WAY”. The layering of vocals in that part just gives me the chills......and the chorus hasn’t even appeared yet.

‘Hide and seek’ is the next one and it is as awesome as the previous song – or is it even better? A nice long intro before Tommy’s vocals enter. Again, awesome melodies with a little of a musical vibe to it – I absolutely love it. The build-up to the chorus is just perfect and what a chorus it is!
After that more proggy-stuff in ‘Destiny Calls’ before we come to the emotional stuff again in ‘One last goodbye’. Absolutely stunning performance from Tommy (and his sister) and it is only in this song I think that the spoken words are a little out of place - there’s a beautiful melody going on in the background when the docter and the woman are speaking.
‘Back in time’ is an interlude important to the story while ‘The black parade’ is the last song on ‘Mercy Falls’. This last one opens very agressive but has some happy melodies as well, with an epic feeling in the chorus and especially in the keyboard-parts after that. An epic ending to an even more epic album.

Absolutely mindblowing, that is what “Mercy Falls’ is.