Mercenary - Architect Of Lies
Century Media
Melodic Death Metal
10 songs (52:03)
Release year: 2008
Mercenary, Century Media
Reviewed by Khelek
Archive review

I started listening to Mercenary not too long ago when I received a melodic death metal compilation album. They were one band that I just knew I had to hear more of due to their unique sound. I began with their album 11 Dreams and then moved on to The Hours That Remain. Somehow I missed 2008's Architect Of Lies, but at last I've gotten a hold of this album and I must say it does not disappoint even though it isn't the memorable riff-fest that their last release was. This is also the first album to feature bassist Rene Pederson, who replaced founding member Henrik "Kral" Andersen after he left the band following the release of The Hours That Remain. Pederson also contributes the death metal vocals on this album.

The album starts things out with the mid-paced New Desire, which is a pretty good song that reminds me of the album previous to this. It is catchy and incorporates the growls of new bassist Rene Pederson and clean singing of vocalist Mikkel Sandager. I'm not crazy about the clean vocals that start the third track, Embrace The Nothing. It's not because I have any problem with clean vocals, but these just don't seem to match the music to me. Now that I think about it they kind of remind me of Jimmie Strimmel formerly of Nightrage. I do really enjoy some of the guitar work in this song though; I think it creates a great heavy yet melancholy atmosphere. It's also a catchy and memorable track from the album that kept growing on me as I listened to it more. I really like the melodic lead on Isolation, the piano also adds a nice touch to the feeling of the song. Again I'm not crazy about the clean vocals, but they don't ruin the song for me by any means. The guitar solo is really good and different, with some nice use of finger tapping. The song does get a bit lengthy as it is just over 6 minutes. At this point I'm noticing that some of the clean vocals are sort of tinged with power metal in Isolation and other songs. I get a sense of Helloween at times or perhaps Mystic Prophecy. I'm definitely noticing many of the songs incorporating more clean vocals. Execution Style has a harder, rougher guitar tone that adds a more foreboding and violent feeling to the song. Pederson also starts in with some savage growls for the verse that leads into a melodic chorus with clean vocals. It's definitely a more aggressive song than most on this album though. The final track, Public Failure Number One, is an interesting take on the overall Mercenary sound at this point. There's plenty of heavy guitar and drum work with the clean vocals coming in for the verse. The growls/screams of Pederson are only heard once in awhile. The melodic guitar work in this song is pretty good as well, although I think it could have used a more technical edge. This is a nice, calm track to close out the album with.

I enjoyed this album quite a bit. It doesn't have as many catchy and memorable tracks as The Hours That Remain, however this seems to be another step in the band's evolution as they've been bringing in even more clean vocals and melody, but still have a few aggressive elements. They often remind me of Scar Symmetry in how their sound has progressed. This is yet another solid release from Mercenary and I look forward to hearing what they come up with next.

Killing Songs :
Embrace The Nothing, Isolation, Public Failure Number One
Khelek quoted 84 / 100
Other albums by Mercenary that we have reviewed:
Mercenary - Metamorphosis reviewed by Khelek and quoted 72 / 100
Mercenary - The Hours That Remain reviewed by Kayla and quoted 92 / 100
Mercenary - 11 Dreams reviewed by Jack and quoted 90 / 100
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