Released: 2012, Limited Access Records
The last time anybody heard from Mercury Tide was on 2003’s self-titled debut. Riding on that project were the hopes of hordes of Angel Dust fans, fingers crossed in the expectation of a continuation of Angel Dust’s style with front man Dirk Thurisch leading the way. MERCURY TIDE was not a bad album, but it was considerably less metallic than Angel Dust’s output. Almost certainly, many reviews and impressions were soured by the band and Dirk’s image as some kind of top hat wearing cross between King Diamond, a roadside magician, and Jack The Ripper. Much like Celtic Frost on COLD LAKE, Mercury Tide was almost universally deemed a disaster and for much the same reasons, with image playing no small part in that.
Nine years later Dirk and Mercury Tide are back and KILLING SAW is a fairly decent return. Presently, this type of sound is accepted and practiced in large parts of the world. KILLING SAW contains twelve songs of mid-paced symphonic power metal, including plenty of keyboards, thumping bass lines, and the requisite amount of guitar crunch. Matter of fact, if you were to add a female singer you would have a fairly standard female-fronted metal band, not too dissimilar from current Nightwish , Within Temptation or Lullacry. Other comparisons would be Fullforce, NOSTRADAMUS by Judas Priest, and even Angel Dust at least in terms of their ballads. Eliminate the one note piano progression intro on the title track, and you have a song that comes very close to vintage Angel Dust, and is clearly the heaviest and probably best track on the album. “Home” is also a song with some backbone, utilizing a simple but effective riff to open a chugging, mid-paced song. The sound on the album is booming, balanced, and well produced. The heavier and better tracks are on the first third of the album, as inexplicably the other two thirds of the album open with piano/keyboards and embrace ballad territory. One or two decent ballads are fine, but the better part of an album dedicated to balladry is not likely to please those craving some heaviness or a gallop here and there.
So folks, we have reached the crux of the problem with KILLING SAW. It is just too damn contented to move mid-paced and balladic, and while the melodies are admirable and Dirk actually sings pretty well, there is nothing particularly heavy here. There are some good songs on KILLING SAW, but for the most part nothing gripping that stands out or makes a lasting impression. The best approach to take, particularly for old fans of Angel Dust, is to listen with an open mind and an understanding that there is no longer much of the Angel Dust version of Dirk Thurisch on this album. However, if you like female-fronted metal and can abide a man singing instead, then chances are you will enjoy KILLING SAW. Recommended for fans of Lullacry, Nightwish, and Within Temptation.