Mercury Rising - _Building Rome_
(Dominion Records, 1998)
by: Aaron McKay (
This isn't really my forte, musically speaking, but I cannot help but be blown away by this work of art from Mercury Rising. A magnum opus. I strongly dislike to draw comparisons between groups (unless it cries out to be done; does anyone remember Kingdom Come?) because each, for the most part, struggle for their own individuality in and of their own right. So, with the utmost reverence and respect to Mercury Rising, I would argue that there are evident traces of Queensryche and Fates Warning here, with a warm nod toward Rush in the vocal department, and a diplomatic power-riff interpretation, a la Iron Maiden. The instrument separation is fantastic. Each is clear, distinct and uniform so that, it would appear, the listener has no occasion to miss a note of this album. The formation of MR took place in 1991, followed by a five song demo released 1993. In 1994, MR's first full length was unleashed, _Upon Deaf Ears_. Four years passed until _Building Rome_ made its way to the public, but -damn- was the wait definitely worth it. _BR_'s track four, "A Narrow Door", is astounding. The beginning lulls you into a golden dreamscape with multi-textured imagination, then drops the hammer into some of the most intense metal riffing. It truly needs to be heard to be believed. Lyrically, this band is a breath of late Autumn air. Maybe it is my constant exposure to dark, black, or otherwise macabre material, but MR has a stark intellectual feel and intelligent manor to their writing. A welcome change, I admit. _BR_ is truly a journey that, I think, can be viewed in many lights and on many levels to be interpreted by the listener; each person hearing what is relevant to them individually. Only a handful of groups can pull this off with Chuck and Death (FUCKING AWESOME!) being the undisputed trailblazers of the musical adventure. Chris Brush (bass), Mike Evans (guitar), Jeff Moos (drums), Clarence Osbourne (vocals), and Judd Rizzo (guitar) pull together on the truly astonishing _BR_ to release a power metal effort that I can only say I will have trouble waiting to see performed live.
(article published 1/10/1998)
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