Frontiers [release date 10.12.21]
In straddling the border between Progmetal and Symphonic Rock, Swedish band, Mercury X have staked out a fertile chunk of territory.
This is their debut album (excluding two independent releases). It remains to be seen if they have the talent and the motivation to develop their music further.
It’s often the case that Prog albums have too much content and not enough subject. Mercury X defy this notion by delivering a bunch of songs inspired (if that’s the right word) by the Covid pandemic. Or rather the fact that so many artistic endeavours were shut down as a consequence.
The album’s bookends, ‘Until The Break Of Day’ and ‘The Sound Of Nothing’, examine the effect on a personal level. Neither have particularly strong tunes. They overcome that through traditional Progmetal arrangements… stuttering rhythms, tightly wound riffs, rippling keys, and what seems like an omnipresent choral backdrop, behind the spacy vocals. You can hear Marillion, Floyd and the Flower Kings in there.
None of these influences is in any way overpowering, rather they are welcome visitors to Mercury X’s developing style.
Many Prog albums have a centrepoint, a fulcrum around which the music spins.
The 20 minute epic, ‘Imprisoned’ captures the band and the album perfectly… lyrically and musically. No prizes for guessing the narrative theme.
The track is woven through with classical choirs, moody orchestral moments and thudding guitars, often cast in the shadows of the song’s downbeat lyrics. You could argue the message is undiluted by originality, and yes, there’s a lot of wannabe here, but a lot of honesty too.
Clearly, this is a band with a future. Tracks like ‘Imprisoned’ signpost the way ahead. Next time perhaps. ***
review by Brian McGowan
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Power Plays w/c 10 January (Mon-Fri)
SMOKING MARTHA Wild & Free (Xelon Entertainment)
TRUE NORTH Fix (Out Of Line Music)
COLLECTED Say When (indie)
ABOUT KINGS Heaven On Down The Highway (indie)
WHALEDOG Leave Me Alone (indie)
LED BY LANTERNS Six Feet Down (indie)
KROOKED TONGUE Freaky Love (indie)
Featured Albums w/c 10 January (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 BITE THE BULLET End Of The Line (Escape Music)
12:00-13:00 CRYSTAL BALL Crysteria (Massacre Records)
14:00-16:00 SEAN TAYLOR The Beat Goes On (indie)
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