Danish Mercenary should by now need little introduction to the readers of this site. Front man Mikkel Sandager and his brother Morten on the keyboards joined the Mercenary ranks before the release of the band’s third recording, ‘Everblack’, thus adding a more progressive edge to the crude melodic death metal style the band otherwise sported. Said release became the first in a string of excellent releases where the blend of styles was refined with every step taken.
The present release, ‘Architect of Lies’, is yet another refinement and also the first recording with new co-front man and bassist René Pedersen who took over from former shouter/bassist Kral. And as he has proved to be a strong card in the live setting, the same can be said for the studio effort. The second, brutal voice creates a great contrast to Mikkel’s prog voice and gives Mercenary’s sound the heavy edge that separates them from many of their prog metal peers.
To me, it sounds as if Mercenary has worked harder on making the keyboard arrangements blend into the collage of sound, and what they have done is really pleasure to listen to. On the whole, arrangements are better and catchier. Listen for example to the power ballad Isolation (The Loneliness in December). This one will go straight in with the ladies, trust me. And that without falling over the cheese edge, even.
Interestingly enough, Martin Buus on the lead guitar has decided to go old-old-school in his soloing. There’s more rock’n’roll than metal in those solo’s and that’s somehow very cool and laid back in this setting of hard-pumped production and high-level technicality.
One to go for!