Do you recall my review of Aggressus’ 2008 demo I’ve posted the other day? Well, if you do, good news for you, At Their Mercy’s artillery is served by the same guy, Dominic “Dom” Hardy. And I have to say he has his hands full here as well!
At Their Mercy hails – you’ve probably guessed it – from Scotland. Musical style? This quartet plays crossover straight to your face, punk!! Yep, I’ve said it.
I have to say, the first song was not really convincing at first. The riffing’s sounded somewhat strange, but after a few listening I’d started to really dig it. Because, the change is sometimes good and here we are presented with something familiar, yet not really walking the line well designed (and worn out) by many bands before. Still, the hardcore element is fucking great, the fast passages really make me wanna just jump into the mosh pit and unleash hell….errm, I should really think about that, last time I was in the moshpit, most of the time I was on the ground. Happy days!
Yep, great opening of the album. Scott has this great pissed off vocal you expect in the hardcore music, all the elements fall into their places like a puzzle, but everything pales before the bass line. I’ve said it many times – and I’m gonna repeat it. I love great bass. And here we have fuckin great distorted bass. One to fall in love with.
“Greed Psychosis” and second great track. Yep, serious music journalists might argue about this or that, but I only review stuff at the moment I am listening to it. And if it’s good, it’s good. Here’s the songwriting is actually surprising in some passages (like the nice solo guitar at the end of the song), and that’s a plus.
3rd track here is “Graphic of Doomsday” and I guess it doesn’t come from the same recording session as the first two songs. Not that I care, this one really brings the trash/crossover roots up, and I am reminded of The Exploited, which, again, nobody can consider a bad thing. I like the tempo of the song, it’s like unstoppable machine for whole 1:49. I wish the song lasts longer, but on the other, hand, it’s perfect as it is.
And I’ve probably spoken too soon, because “All That’s Left” is even better! Not only it’s the longest track on the album (whole 5:13), it’s also blast from the beginning to end. I am no expert on hardcore stuff, but I am glad guys don’t sacrifice variety in songwriting for speed and anger. It might be debatable if the song is not too varied, but personally, I am not bothered. I like it. Period.
Another “dessert” under 2 minutes, please! “Malfeasance” it’s called and even with the standard 4 chord setup guys can bring something different to the table, for which I am thankful. Funny, when one’s viewing of the song can change with multiple listenings…
But “Artefacts” is love at the first hearing. Even despite it being basically a totally punk-HC standard. Or maybe because of it. But the guitar solo rocks! I like the punk attitude of some bands (you know…this is C, this is D and this is G..now go and start a band), but when you have seasoned players, the beauty of music just shines. In other words, punk, hardcore or crossover doesn’t have to be boring because of the usual riffs or passages. And with At Their Mercy we have some good stuff here to enjoy.
The title of “Species Extinction” speaks for itself, and I’ve decided I’m gonna buy this album. We’re 3 songs before the end now, and I don’t think this could go any bad, so yeah.
And what a tune the next one is, lads! GxIxRxC start like some neo-punk from the USA, but only a few seconds and we’re back to feel the anger of the Scots! Interesting guitar riff driven by insane drumming, only to pause for like, 2 seconds? – and then the madness starts anew.
“Change of Risk Landscape” start with bass line (but I start to feel the lone bass passages, or bass+drums combo might feel a little overused). The second longest track (4:58) starts in slower waters (so to speak), but this only adds to the heaviness of Scott’s proclamation, and the alternate slower/faster passages keeps listener engaged. Again, the songwriting brings variety into the song, which is more than appreciated…and when you think it’s finished, it goes like a volcano with renewed strength.
And the last one, but definitely not the last interesting – “Blackened Earth Parable”. This is no filler, at almost 4 minutes (3:58 to be precise), it still offers interesting track to enjoy. Call me weird, but I love the prolonged intro (of sorts) with monotonous riff and standard HC drums, I don’t know why, I just love it. The riffing is weird also, and adds necessary flavour to the song, for to be honest, after 9 good song you have to still get something out of your sleeve. And guys deliver.
What else to say. I am pretty sure HC/punk/thrash/crossover/whatever purists and experts might find something to trash this album and trash me as well. Well, I believe one might find a lot of familiar passages here (and that applies for various other bands and their albums as well).
But what matters – it’s the sincerity and the energy. I believe in the sincerity of At Their Mercy and as for the energy…give this album a spin and you can hear for yourself.