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Missa Mercuria - "Missa Mercuria"
Generation Records 2002

German all star project, a mixture of power and progressive metal elements (western classic stuff) and also some hard rock. Andreas Lill did all drums, while keyboardist Günther Werno takes a winner's price for sure among the songwriters here. Günther Werno and Stephan Lill. Therefore it is nothing unusual if some songs run very much in Vanden Plas musical direction. Unfortunately I find D.C. Cooper (Silent Force shouter) who did vocals for Divine Spark unsuitable. To much space remains unused due to his thin vocals. Back vocals in chorus somehow fix that but overall expression of a song just can't convince.

And what is the Mercuria's message all about? Learn from yourself. Don't search for answers elsewhere, everything what is meant to happen lies inside you, you are perfectly balanced being with your own determined destiny, so express your real you. This way of thinking is a perfect cure for all diseases that derives from learning to live in fear that we all do as prisoners of this material system - our invention, a product of our enslavement to Christian fundamentalism and state authorities.

First highlight is for sure Mother Earth, phenomenally structured high ambient piece, with vocal lines that multiply in every following circle of chorus theme. You can't find better vocal (Lori Williams, a gospel singer) to serve this information through verses here. Next track is actually done by entire Vanden Plas team except the bass that is played by producer of this project Dennis Ward (Pink Cream 69). Opening guitar riff, keyboard lines and drum bombing plus Andy Kuntz's unique and (once again) impressive vocal performance gives you an opportunity to feel a kind of real Vanden Plas magic chemistry here.

Generally speaking a whole record is consisting from dramatic instrumentals and diverse structured yet compact songs that bring together different moods and makes this record very dynamic. Sound is typically "germanized". Drums and guitars are pushed in front and thus sound very alive, also bass line can be clearly detached. Guitars are sharp edged, riffs (where need to) carefully palm mutilated and thus spits out amazing power and sincerity of this metal record. Entire drama comes out hellish alive due to its great production. Opening riff of the title song remembers slightly on Dream Theater's The Ytse Jam main riff, with tastefully added keyboards that fulfills the space. Beyrodt's (Silent Force, ex-Sinner) riffing is pushed in front and with help of A. Lill's diverse drumming skills we got a phenomenal piece here. What raises atmosphere here is gothic female vocal nicely doubled by helping background multiplied vocal lines. Not to forget about Alex's incredible finger flicked solo eruption. Musically equally strong expression Fairytale Of Truth that follows is genuine structured mid tempo song with no massive riffing attacks, where keyboard and piano arrangements steps fully into the light and provides phenomenal counter-weight to the previous song. But next song just felt out to be too weak and cheesy especially 'cause of unsuitable vocals. Another peak is set for a grand finale. Five parted Journey Through Hades resurrects from two variable instrumentals. High mood changes completely after intro of third part (mid-tempo Bursting Ego) mainly because it is sang by David Readman (Pink Cream 69), a great choice for this song. The guy brings in that special feel once again in the phenomenally structured hard rocking piece called Rectificando.

The debut of Missa Mercuria is a nice try. It captures aliveness and intensity of compositions. Variable high moods are achieved via great orchestral classic arrangements that breathe in perfect symbiosis with diverse alive progressive metal bombing and make this record a very interesting thing to experience.

Author:   Ale¹

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