MERCURY TIDE has risen up from the ashes of ANGEL DUST, amongst others. I love ANGEL DUST so I was sad to hear the news they were no more. My understanding before listening to this was it was less Metal than ANGEL DUST and more Gothic Rock. The pedigrees of the band-members supported this too…TIAMAT, CEMETARY, FLOWING TEARS, etc. Well right off the start that is not a strong plus in my books but since I really like the vocals of Dirk Thurisch and I pride myself on being an open-minded little Metal-head, I threw some hard-earned dollars at it anyway.
Low and behold…is this another Gothic Metal CD I like? What the hell? I guess for this Metal sub-genre, it comes down to vocals for me. I can't stand the typical male Gothic style vocals and guess what…Dirk has no part of that. He sounds as stellar as usual. To be quite honest, this CD is not really all that Gothic either. At the most, I can describe it as having some Gothic Metal overtones in some songs. The nice opener rocks hard but one can hear the presence of these overtones if one looks for them. Perhaps the overt rumours were created by an overzealous marketing department trying to capitalize on Metal's genre-of-the-day or based maybe just on pedigrees rather than listening…I know not but I am pleasantly surprised and elated. The guitars are driving and much of the time the songs are quite upbeat. There are many interludes and tempo changes and some nicely placed acoustic guitar and keys. The general atmosphere is a combination of relaxed and peaceful sections intermixed with a more powerful sound…reminiscent of the power of former band ANGEL DUST I would say. When used, the contrast is beautiful…perfect even at times. "Souls Of The Ocean" is an absolutely beautiful example of this combination. The tracks are all penned by Dirk himself thus explaining the ANGEL DUST similarities and small influence by the others. From what I understand, the lyrics are that of a personal nature, dealing with the inner struggles and search for one's self, obviously from the experiences and through the eyes of Thurisch.
On other tracks, they balls out rock, nothing less. Look to the amazing "Lost And Torn", "Back To Reality" and "My Dear Enemies" to see where I am coming from. I was sucked in easily by many of the tracks on the first listen and they grew from there. MERCURY TIDE can be added to the list of bands that know how to compliment their sound with keys rather than dominate it. I really appreciate that because it leaves some meat on the bones rather than going all wimpy and shit. They add depth to their music without sacrificing heaviness. The guitars are incredibly chunky which doesn't take away from that either. Focus on the guitars of "Another One" and see how heavy they make a track that otherwise is not…very cool.
So the break-up of ANGEL DUST, while sad, has produced quite a viable offspring. Thurisch has done an amazing job by surrounding himself with more than adequate players. Siggi Bemm steps up to master and produce "Why?" and the results are spectacular. Much of the lead guitar on the CD was done by session guitarist Bernd Aufermann formerly of ANGEL DUST as well.
This MERCURY TIDE CD has a definite place in today's Metal world. They have managed to create a Metal sound that is all their own. Imagine ANGEL DUST becoming a hard rock or more melodic Metal band and you are approaching that which my ears hear. Song structures definitely dip into the finest works of the 80's hard rock bands but come off fresh and new. I love the fact that they seem to have found a way to make the anthem-like, sing-along style of days gone by much more mature and relevant. They make listening fun while dealing with serious issues yet never coming off anywhere near childish or cheesy. That is quite an accomplishment in today's sombre and judgemental world. DO NOT disregard this CD without hearing it for yourself…it would not be fair to MERCURY TIDE or YOU! (Online October 20, 2003)