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Album Review: Hand of Mercy - 'Last Lights'

31 August 2012 | 3:15 pm | Staff Writer
Originally Appeared In

Another quality Australian release

More Hand Of Mercy More Hand Of Mercy

You can throw away any distinction tags. There’s no longer a difference between local and international quality. In the past, affirming an album “good for a local release” was almost an unintentional slur, which implied domestic bands were somewhat inferior to their international peers.

Circa 2012 and Australian bands are releasing albums that in performance, application and production quality are on an equal plane. It’s no longer disproportionate and it’s now music in the most pure and fundamental sense – an even playing field for all.

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Sydney mosh, hardcore, metal, call them what you will, quintet Hand of Mercy are a perfect illustration. The first thing that strikes you from new offering ‘Last Lights’ is the strength of the audio delivery. The album has presence. It’s assertive and demands attention. The full-length doesn’t risk a waiting period that allows listeners to become accustomed. Instead, it forces engagement.

Recorded in Boston, ‘Last Lights’ has a typical tenacity. It feels like a Bury Your Dead-type release, but retains the hardcore qualities bands like Parkway Drive are currently championing down under.

That’s not to say this studio album is without fault. This isn’t an exercise in glowing and blind endorsement. But, ‘Last Lights’ has more good qualities than bad and that is the important thing.

Dexter’ kicks in early. It might seem like an unpatriotic bit of analysis, but the album has an American hardcore feel present. Think the aforementioned Bury Your Dead and Remembering Never and you’re on your way.

Absence Makes the Heart Go Wander’ adds a bit more melody to the equation, while ‘Quarter Deck’ is again versatile. ’23 Hour Lockdown’ and ‘Rumble in the Grundle’ return the heavy elements. An ambient interlude as the penultimate song transitions into closer (and title track) ‘Last Lights’.

Honest and presented with enough reason to justify a listen, ‘Last Lights’ is another release Australian hardcore can be proud to embrace.

Considered pace, enough variety and a determined delivery ensures Hand of Mercy’s ‘Last Lights’ achieves its purpose. It does pander to pre-existing musical blueprints, but its impact still feels genuine.

1. Dexter

2. Absence Makes The Heart Go Wander

3. Benson

4. Quarter Deck

5. 23 Hour Lockdown

6. Rumble In The Grundle

7. Can't Stop, Won't Stop, Did Stop

8. Hope Crusher

9. Strong Armed

10. Interlude

11. Last Lights