Mercenary - 11 Dreams
Century Media
Melodic Death Metal
11 songs (61'51)
Release year: 2004
Mercenary, Century Media
Reviewed by Jack
Album of the month

Band's moniker : Mercenary... another one of those obscure Swedish death metal garage bands. Album's title : 11 Dreams... doesn't sound like a death metal album title... let's check it out. Nice symphonic opener... World Hate Center isn't the perfect opening track. Let's skip it... 11 Dreams. This one is a killer track. What's that band again ?

Mercenary hails from Denmark and aren't your typical nordic death metal act as their moniker may suggest it although they emerged in the nineties as a mid-pace melodic death-thrash fourpiece. It seems the band took a giant leap forward in 2002 with the release of the album Everblack. If this previous album is as good as I the reviews say it is, I wonder why here at Metal Reviews we haven't reviewed it? I am listening to this album and while wondering how I could describe it, just took a glimpse at their home page that says :

Mercenary gradually evolved their sound into a fusion of diverse inspirations ranging from progressive and ‘classic' metal to (Swedish) melodic death metal. Balancing memorable atmospheric passages and choruses, with equal amounts of drive and aggression, the band took a definite turn towards focusing on songwriting rather than riffing. (...) After releasing Everblack, that band recruited drummer Mike Park and lead guitarist Martin Buus, whose skills can be heard in the added energy on Mercenary's new release 11 Dreams, produced by Jacob Hansen. Following up on the band's new-found diversity, the new material draws upon the members' widely different inspirations and personal musical backgrounds. The mixture of these individual different approaches into an integrated whole, displays the band's development as songwriters and defines the uniqueness of Mercenary's sound. The new album adds originally, arranged multi-layered vocals and intricate ideas to simple but catchy song-structures, while delivering by far the band's most aggressive and powerful expression and production yet. By weaving a touch of almost symphonic Scandinavian melancholy into their particular blend of the atmospheric with the aggressiveness, Mercenary has, however, taken their trademark expression even further...

What more could I say? To begin with, the album seems a little unequal or uneven. Some songs really hit you at first. Listen to (11 Dreams, ReDestructDead, Supremacy V2.0, Music Non Stop... which appears to be a cover, Falling, Loneliness) while others really seem indigestible (World Hate Center, Firesoul, Sharpen The Edge), but only to grow in you listens after listens. After five or six repeated listens in the same evening (my wife working nightshift), I find nothing to throw away on this album, and I found myself a couple of nights later listening again and again to this record as the music seems to improve after each listen. Not everything is perfect on this album, although it really deserves a strong 90, but the album is compact and works as a whole. The production by Jacob Hansen is excellent, as well as Niklas Sundin's artwork, the guitar sound is thick and really heavy, while the background keyboards devour your soul, provoking the ecstatic admiration with this guys’ irrefutable talent.

Mercenary is as innovative as Sentenced or Dark Tranquility might have been a few years back. The music has a lot of variety and different emotional textures such as Dark Tranquility on Projector or Eternal Tears Of Sorrow on A Virgin And A Whore. The musical variation and the melancholic heaviness of the band's music is magnificent and exciting and could be a massive breakthrough for this Danish band. Hopefully this album will draw the band a great deal of attention.

Killing Songs :
11 Dreams, ReDestructDead, Supremacy V2.0, Music Non Stop, Falling, Loneliness
Jack quoted 90 / 100
Other albums by Mercenary that we have reviewed:
Mercenary - Metamorphosis reviewed by Khelek and quoted 72 / 100
Mercenary - Architect Of Lies reviewed by Khelek and quoted 84 / 100
Mercenary - The Hours That Remain reviewed by Kayla and quoted 92 / 100
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