I hope that you've strapped on your seat belt because Hand of Mercy is about to take you on one bumpy ride that is Last Lights. This is a ride that you are sure to enjoy especially if you're a fan of The Ghost Inside or Parkway Drive. Formed in Sydney, Australia, this five piece band is out to make a name for themselves among the other large bands that call Australia home.
The first track "Dexter" begins the ride fast but generally unimpressive with a lot of chugging. It's nothing to write home about until you hit the groovy part about thirty seconds in. The song continues like this until there is a minute left when things really start to heat up. Things quickly build up into ....a breakdown. This particular breakdown isn't awful, but there are plenty more in the time remaining in Last Lights and they aren't all as pleasant as this one.
However, don't let the breakdowns deter you from listening to this album. There are a lot of moments within the music that make the journey worthwhile. The guitar leads on just about every song make up for many of said moments. The guitarist can really lay down some melodies that are guaranteed to keep you interested and on guard. Not every lead is melodic though. There are numerous riffs that shake the foundation of my house.
The fourth track titled "Quarter Deck" has a subtle instrumental intro that sounds like it would belong to Parkway Drive. Don't let the intro fool you though because it transitions and the vocals hit you in the face like a brick. While on topic of the vocals and Parkway Drive, they sound like Parkway Drive's legitimate child. Fast and heavy vocals that sound perfect when layered with a nice melodic lead. One thing the vocals don't satisfy is range. Throughout the entirety of the album, they barely leave the mid range which causes it to grow slightly stale halfway through the album. To make up for the monotonous vocals, there are lots of gang chants and sections where the music stops to let the vocalist throw down and do his thing.
The second to last track, "Interlude", really confuses me. Usually bands put an interlude or instrumental towards the middle of the album instead of right before the end. This track disrupts the flow of Last Lights and really puts the listener off. Fortunately, the last track, "Last Lights", is also the best track on the album and makes me completely forget the pause that happened moments earlier.
Last Lights does leave a lot of lasting impressions. The music and melodies speak for themselves and will get a lot of attention. The epic gang chants are sure to become an anthem for the fans at any live show. While the breakdowns are overused, there are still some decent ones worth picking out. "Benson", "Quarter Deck", and "Last Lights" are the tracks that absolutely need to be listened to. Keep and eye out for Hand of Mercy and pick up Last Lights when it drops on August 17th. It's a ride you won't forget.