Hello and welcome dear friends, followers and casual readers. You join me at the business end of my mammoth ‘Album of The Year 2013’ countdown. Today, we hit the top 5, those albums that have had the biggest impact on me during 2013. Bearing in mind how amazingly strong 2013 was for new releases, it goes without saying that the following five albums are of the very highest quality and are fully deserving of the plaudits they receive.
Naturally, I am sure that there will be some of you (or maybe a lot of you) who disagree with my choices but that’s ok, I don’t mind. The wonderful subjectivity of music means that we’re never going to agree all of the time. What I will say is that I have put a lot of thought into my choices and I stand by them 100%.
So, with that in mind, let’s move onto the important bit – my choice at Number 5:
I was lucky enough to review this album in full back when it was first released and it has captivated me from the very first listen. This is the album that I knew the Danish metallers were capable of and I’m so overjoyed to report that, after a few solid releases to date, their full potential has been realised.
The core of the Mercenary sound is, arguably, melodic death metal but there’s a lot more going on than just that. Indeed, elements of thrash and harder-edged power metal are interwoven into the compositions in order to provide an air of brutality and extremity. Occasionally, there is even a nod in the direction of metalcore, just to spice things up and to acknowledge more modern metal trends.
Much of the music is drenched in atmospheric and rich synths and on more than one occasion, I’m reminded of the likes of Dark Tranquillity, Darkane and Soilwork. However, Mercenary very much have their own identity with one of the strongest ingredients on this record lying in the melody department. Just about every track benefits from a killer hook, infectious lead or melodic vocal line. Speaking of vocals, the mixture of gruff rasp and soaring clean singing from René Pedersen is superb. The result is an album that hits you with anthem after anthem. Just when you think you’ve heard the best track on the album, another song comes along that is just as good, if not better.
To quote my review directly, if you are looking for a band that can put a smile on your face whilst bludgeoning you over the head, Mercenary may just be the band for you. Overall, “Through Our Darkest Days” is an outstanding album and very definitely the best of their career.
Check out the full review here.
The 2013 ‘Album of the Year’ countdown so far:
Day 1 – Number 20
Day 2 – Number 19
Day 3 – Number 18
Day 4 – Number 17
Day 5 – Number 16
Day 6 – Number 15
Day 7 – Number 14
Day 8 – Number 13
Day 9 – Number 12
Day 10 – Number 11
Day 11 – Number 10
Day 12 – Number 9
Day 13 – Number 8
Day 14 – Number 7
Day 15 – Number 6
And, if you missed last year’s countdown, you can read my Top 20 of 2012 here.