What is this? The No Doubt of death metal? I have to stress that this is meant as no insult! What I mean is simply that this is band with a strong woman in front and a band with a nag for putting together diverse songs, apparently unwilling to be tied down too narrowly to one particular style of music.
The self-entitled debut album from the Washington state based four-piece is a collection of manic death metal tunes, yet with an almost hypnotic nature and ambient elements. Together with the clean voice of singer Sera Hatchett, drums, bass and guitar have an almost flowing character, which oftentimes allows you to sink into the music, even if it is brutal. Not that you’re allowed to fall asleep; every now and then you’re abruptly pulled out of the steady breeze of sound by a brutal break or an accentuation that receives an extra punch. And as naturally as she lets her voice flow beautifully into your ears, Sera occasionally spits and growls to tear you out of the safe waters.
This is by no means standard, old-school death metal. This is a band who wants to do things differently, and they manage to pull it off without sounding forced. They have a punk edge, they dare to slow down and be spacey (One (the Edge of), Never Mind and Stigma), but are definitely full-on metal.
I think that what Mercy Brown does is a great reminder for us old-school death metal fans. It reminds us what death metal can also be, and that there was a time when our old-school bands were actually dangerous and rebellious – just like this young band.
Note: For those interested in history and superstition, I can recommend that you read this Wikipedia article on who Mercy Brown was once you’ve bought the album and listen to it. I had no idea! Creepy stuff.
1. From the Sky
3. Red and Yellow
4. Where the Fire Is
5. Hidden in Plain Sight
6. In the Dark
7. News Complaint
8. One (the Edge of)
9. Never Mind
11. To the Sea
Playing time: 55 minutes
Release date: 17th of March, 2015