Mercy – “The Seven Signs”


Mercy.the sevenI never cease to be amazed at the number and variety of solo projects that band members get into.  Mercy is one such project with a rather long history that even the band itself seems a bit unclear about as their website states, “Mercy was formed in 2003 or something…we dunno for sure”.  What we do know is that the three people who contributed to the recording share some history with all having been in the bands Sabbatariam and Krig.  Those who know the death metal sound of Krig should be able to appreciate the sound Mercy has.

Piecing together various bits of information on the internet, Phillippe Levidad (ex-Sabbatariam, Unnamed, Krig) is the leader of Mercy and composes the music, writes the lyrics, programs drums and keyboards and plays guitar.  He has recruited Isaque Soares (ex-Apeiron, Unnamed, Krig) to record the difficult bass parts and also for the use of his studio.  Vocals are the last piece of the puzzle and those are done by Daniel Corpse (ex-Sabbatariam, Unnamed, Krig).

Looking at the track listing and the album title, it should be fairly obvious to most people that this album is centered around the events in the Book of Revelations, which is a book filled with difficult to interpret symbolism but ultimately easily understood to depict the final battle between God and Satan, certainly well within the expected topic list for a black metal album.  Right from the first track, “The Seven Signs”, which is a short instrumental, this album has the expected dark, heavy feel one would expect given the subject nature.  “The Seven Signs” is actually one of the less melodic tracks on the album, so in that sense it may not be preparing the listener very well for what is to come. The album begins to take off and displays a thrashy, groove-metal influenced version of black metal starting with the second track, “The Woman”.   Fast riffing and galloping drums with some subdued keyboards in the background, set “The Woman” aside from standard black metal.  The vocals style is definitely the lower, raspy black metal-style vocals reminiscent of bands like Antestor, but the melodic groove feel to the songs comes as a bit of a surprise. The combination of styles works for me but may throw off some listeners who might not be expecting the black metal vocals with this music.  Phillippe Levidad has smartly used keyboards to provide atmosphere and that certainly helps ground this unexpected sound back within the realms of black metal.

“The Dragon” starts off with a great opening riff that immediately shifts into a heavy groove-metal riff for the most of the verses, interrupted only by sections containing the opening riff.  The groove riff is so good and somewhat unexpected in the genre that it made this song my favorite on the album.  “The Child” continues the trend of bringing some unexpected elements to the genre with most of the vocals in the verses accompanied only by some drums to carry the song and some crazy bass work that unfortunately is a bit too quiet in the mix.

Overall the mix and production quality is very good, but I would have liked to have been able to hear more of the bass especially in “The Child” where it is one of the key instruments.  Keyboard programming to me is not a big deal, but I would have like to have been able to hear this recorded with a live drummer, especially since the drum work is a big component in the genre.  Oddly enough, blast beats are relatively rare in this album, as it has a more melodic feel overall than many black metal albums.  There is the expected use of double bass to drive the songs along, which will be of no surprise.

There are a few songs on the album that are very similar in structure, tone, and style, down to similar riffs, but overall there is good variety in the songs and arrangements, and some of the songs take the unexpected twists and turns that keeps the listener intrigued, wondering what is next.  For me, when I find myself skipping through songs on an album and the purposefully avoiding songs on subsequent listens, that tells me a lot about how I feel about the album.  Sometimes this is due to the artist including experimental tracks or trying to shift tone and theme, and one thing I can say about The Seven Signs is that it is consistent from start to finish and there is not a song I would skip.

Rating: 7/10

1. The Seven Signs 01:14
2. The Woman 03:53
3. The Dragon 02:54
4. The Child 03:34
5. The Beast With Seven Heads 03:02
6. Beast Of The Sea 05:38
7. The Lamb And The 144,000 03:32
8. Lord God Almighty 04:07
9. Kingdom Of Holiness 03:42
10. Path Of Light 02:45
11. Beast From The Earth 03:04

Band Members
Phillippe Levidad – Composition, guitars, some bass guitar, drum programming
Isaque Soares – Bass guitar (guest performer)
Daniel Corpse – Vocals

Record Label: Independent, August 2013

Weblinks: Facebook / Bandcamp

Buy the album here:
First Paradox
Norway: Nordic Mission
USA: Metal Helm

Video below ‘Beast Of The Sea’

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