Released: 2003, Century Media
Mercury Tide is the new band featuring Angel Dust vocalist Dirk Thurisch. Forget all you know about the music of Angel Dust and your hopes for their style to be continued on in Mercury Tide because this is a departure from that style.
The CD opens with “Why?” which has a piano intro before the grooving guitars and drums come in creating a nice atmosphere. The next section has some simple single note pumping bass and drums with Dirk doubling up the vocal part. It’s not very heavy, fast, or reminiscent of his past work with Angel Dust, but it’s still a good song for this style of hard rock. Some heavier moments can be found on the tracks “Lost and Torn”, “Another One” and “My Dear Enemies” which all have more aggressive riffing than the rest of the album. Even here though, the tempo doesn’t pick up too much which is a problem with the album for me with the abundance of mid-tempo songs. Perhaps this is a result of the rhythm guitar playing being handled by Dirk himself? I never knew he was a guitarist – just a great vocalist. Possibly he would be better off having another guitarist in the band to help alleviate the sameness of a lot of the riffing. His former band-mate from Angel Dust, Bernd Aufermann, was hired as a session musician to provide lead guitar. Unfortunately, they don’t stand out on here at all…apparently he was kept on a very short leash. The track “Souls of the Ocean” features vocals and piano in many sections. I was wondering what happened to the soaring vocal power of Dirk on this one in particular. He seems to be holding back big time on here and on a lot of places on the album. Perhaps he thought “lettin ‘er rip” wasn’t appropriate for his new vision?!? Not much else really stood on here. I didn’t hate anything on the album, but it was like elevator music that was playing and I hardly noticed it was on. I tried a few times to get more into this, but it just wasn’t doing it for me.
Not only is the music a big departure from Angel Dust, so is the band’s un-metal image. I know not everyone cares about image, but it’s clear that the band is not trying to look metal at all. Even Dirk’s album picture has his hair hidden away (or cut off?) inside a winter beanie hat! If the band were playing some ripping metal, I wouldn’t care if they all looked like Homer Simpson…but that is sadly not the case.
I do not fear change. I didn’t expect this to be Angel Dust part 2, but I did expect to at least hear good heavy metal. This is more of a hard rock album sounding very much like any nameless 90’s groove (almost grunge in places) metal band with a few hints of modern day Sentenced. What I expected is not what was delivered. As such, my rating reflects my disappointment with the musical direction. If you like hard rock and moody/dark and reflective songs, then you might like this more than I did. If you want to hear Dirk really shining, with some great heavy yet melodic metal, pick up the Angel Dust album ENLIGHTEN THE DARKNESS from 2000.