Released: 2005, Century Media
What can I say that hasn’t already been said? This album is perfect. One of the few releases where I think that EVERYONE in the press is unanimously praising, Denmark’s Mercenary have simply released the album of their lives with 11 DREAMS. My first experience with the band was with their 2002 EVERBLACK release, which was an amazing release in it’s own right. It’s exquisite mix of tasteful clean singing and epic, melodic Death Metal songwriting stood head and shoulders above many of their contemporaries, and delivered the promise of superb things yet to come.
Said promise has been fulfilled and then some with 11 DREAMS. Following in the footsteps of the sorely missed forward thinkers Gardenian (Swe), Mercenary combine a delicate, emotional sensibility with the most majestic elements of both extreme and traditional metal.
Mikael Sandager’s powerful, commanding clean vocals lead the charge while bassist/vocalist/songwriter Kral Andersen delivers the goods as his venomous counterpart. All the while, guitarists Jakob Molberg and Martin Buus delight and dazzle the senses with a riff tour de force which recalls Nevermore’s best moments, as well as the aforementioned Gardenian. Fluid, melodic leads also flow in and out of each song, demanding the listener’s attention, while Morten Sandager’s omnipresent keyboards add the epic, majestic touch missing from so many Death Metal bands today.
11 DREAMS is simply a triumph, and should become THE album to break the band wide open, if there’s any justice. It’s going to be a hard act to follow, however. Let’s just hope that the band doesn’t pull an At the Gates and decide to split up on us, because with an lp like this, it’s only a matter of time before Mercenary become living legends.