Reviewed: May 1999
Released: 1998, Dominion Records
Too many acoustic intros, too smooth of a guitar tone and a a vocal style that is quite annoying. I had heard some really good things about this band’s debut, so I was surprised at how mediorchre this, their second CD, is. In 1994 Mercury Rising recorded their first full length album “Upon Deaf Ears”. This CD generated a lot of good press in many fanzines and grabbed the attention of several indie labels including Dominion Records whom they are now signed to. I don’t think “Building Rome” will cause as much of a stir as their debut, just disappointments.
In terms of the music, the vocalist over-employs a vocal technique where he ends just about every damn note with a over-emphasized vibrato effect that is really irritating. It’s not like this guy can’t sing, he is in key and can hit the notes, it’s just that the technique is way overdone! The guitar player is proficient, there are a number of solos where he rips…not too bad at all! The rhythms though need less clean parts and more intensity. Lyrically this stuff is quite thought provoking. Metaphorically, the CD title “Building Rome” refers to the challenge that we and society must overcome to achieve success. Mercury Rising’s musical style is more hard rock with metal overtones. This is not something that will be making many trips to my CD player…too bad. With luck they will get some fire in them next time around.
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