New Zealanders, Mercy, have released their debut EP, called Dead Cold. Dead Cold is released independently on the 1st of March bringing a collection of hard hitting tracks designed to fire up any mosh pit.
Mercy are a pretty new band, forming in 2018 and Dead Cold is their first release, well aside from a few singles. The Christchurch based band have been working hard on getting this out as well as forming a decent fanbase in their native New Zealand. That hard work is paying off as they continue to grow in stature. Dead Cold should help them along nicely.
Dead Cold is a good length for an EP with 7 tracks and around 25 minutes of music on it. The predominant sound coming through is of the “core” style. Leaning towards the deathcore end but with metalcore elements and more than a little sprinkling of progressive creativity.
Dead Cold starts off with an intro track called October 3rd. At just over two minutes in length we get a little horror esque sampling of whispers and groans before hard hitting drums and rasping vocals kick in. The riff is stop start, very metallic with differing vocal tones and drums that blast off in every direction. It’s a heavy sound but lacks a bit of cohesion coming across more like a collection of sounds than a joined up song. A worrying start but thankfully it isn’t really an issue that crops up again on the album.
Instead what we get are a collection of hard hitting songs with punishing rhythm and aggressive vocals. Same old thing you might think but there are little moments of elevation with some of the progressive elements that make you sit up and really take notice. Moments that show Mercy have a few extra tricks up their sleeve.
Take the title track, Dead Cold, for example. A pretty good, but typical, riff and drum blaster of a track with vicious vocals is enjoyable but nothing new. Then as we move towards the end, the lead guitar starts pulling off little squealing lines at the end of each vocal line making you take notice. Cellar Door makes good use of lead guitars in the opening section adding a layer of depth that really makes the song. Added samples come in for a heavy chorus before it all stops leaving a melodic guitar that builds back up with dance like drum patterns. As everything clicks back in we are treated to a heavy, multi layered section that is sure to get necks snapping. Slowing down then building back up is their thing on this track and it works. Each build up acting like a mini breakdown to reignite the pit.
Slow Dance features guests Raymond Martin and Josh Bain. Mostly it moves a slow, grooving pace with heavy vocals and typically blasting drums. A little less progressive it focuses more on punishing brutality, helped by the additional vocal verses from the guests. Skeleton Key also features a guest in Matt Bolch. We see the sampling return here too. There is a slow, echoing start to the song before it jumps in with an exciting section of powerful vocals and a wicked riff. It’s one of many favourite tracks actually, helped by the excellent solo near the end.
Torched has some serious groove and again goes for the stop start style with loads of bass. The guitars add some drawn out notes and squeals lifting the track away from generic. Some of the drumming is ridiculous too, the speed and power is machine like.
Dead Cold ends with the longest track on the album and features guest vocals from Shannon Ickringill. Fantasy has a punishing slow start that sees vocals hit demonic levels over ever increasing drum speed and multi-layered guitars. As it builds you expect an explosion but instead it drops back into a thumping bass line before quickly building again. There is a lot to love about this song. The instrumental sections are intense, heavy but also morosely beautiful. These instrumentals separate verses of vicious heaviness making for a truly exciting and creative soundscape not always attributed to the core bands.
Dead Cold is a really enjoyable listen. I didn’t really like the opener, October 3rd, but any negative thoughts were easily washed away in the sea of punishing rhythm, exciting guitars and forceful vocals that follow. A new band, Mercy may be, but they already seem to have their own style that stands them out a bit from the crowd. A solid debut and an exciting band – I look forward to hearing what comes next.
Dead Cold is available now on all the usual streaming platforms. Help the band out though by grabbing a copy from their Bandcamp page here. Keep up to date with Mercy at their YouTube channel, Facebook and Instagram. Be sure to like, follow and/or subscribe while you are there.
Dead Cold by Mercy (Self Released)
The Final Score - 8.5/10