Mercy Isle play their brand of melodic, symphonic metal with the core of a rock band and the catchiness of a pop act.
A frequent issue I have with a lot of bands that play this style is the lack of guitar presence, but one of the things I like about Undying Fire is the fact that the guitars aren’t relegated to just being merely there; they actually have some meaty work on this release.
Of course, the focal point of any band like this is going to be the singer, and in that regard Mercy Isle are no different to any of their peers. As for her voice, well, it’s very, very good indeed. She has a clear, powerful voice that shows good range and handles emotion well. She’s backed up by the occasional growl or male clean voice too, adding a bit of further variety to the vocals.
Another thing I like about the band, related to my previous points, is that they don’t feel the need to use their singer all of the time, as impressive as she is. Sometimes it’s all about the music and letting the rest of the band shine through. It’s pleasing that they’re confident enough to allow this to happen instead of hiding behind her voice as some bands playing this style unfortunately have a tendency to do.
The songs are well-written and have enough hooks to both capture and hold attention. There’s a decent amount of variety across the tracks too, and at 44 minutes in length the duration is judged just right. The album makes a strong impression on the first listen, which is reinforced on subsequent ones showing that there’s more to this album than just instant gratification.
Different moods and feelings are explored with obvious talent. The bright European symphonic metal is aided and abetted by melodic metal, hard rock and soft ballads.
All of the various things you’d expect a quality album of this style to have are in place, and it’s clear that the band really know what they’re doing with the material.
I used to listen to a lot of this kind of thing many years ago and these days find myself a bit jaded with a lot of female-fronted symphonic metal. I can’t help but really like Undying Fire, however. It’s so well delivered and the songs have just the right amount of diversity and familiarity that the album can’t help but be a winner really.
Very highly recommended.