Mercury Switch

Time to Shine

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Credit Mercury Switch for at least trying to do something different with the East Coast-centric melodic metalcore genre, which they infuse with a few unexpected detours for album number two, 2005's Time to Shine. First number "Valley of Vengeance" may sound like little more than a Killswitch Engage outtake, and in all honesty so do portions of almost every song on hand here, but the ambitious quintet quickly sets about tugging the format ever so slightly to and fro after that. In what soon proves a favored parlor trick, for instance, they enjoy matching fleet-fingered displays of progressive metal-like precision (for the boys) with startlingly melodic and commercial chorus sections (for the ladies) on songs like "Hollow Ayes" and "Attached at the Wrist," then slather highly unusual synths over both ambient interludes ("Lightning With the Pain") and aggressive tracks ("Altered Beast"), and on the standout "Struck By Lightnin'," they emulate the Deftones' textured guitars and tortured vocals to perfection. That all of the above repeatedly alternate guttural death vocals with clean singing lines and somberly spoken passages goes without saying, but how about the balls to also try their hand at some falsetto shrieks in "The Devil's a Woman Tonight"? Someone here is clearly a fan of the Darkness. And, proving once again that Mercury Switch are trying to be different, the last is in fact the third movement of an album-closing five-part suite! Gloriously entitled "The Invitation of the Reaper," this also contains a nice instrumental buildup ("Pt. 1: Introducing the Keeper of Caskets"), another relatively textbook metalcore number ("Pt. 2: Getting to Know a Shadow"), an aimless acoustic dirge ("Pt. 4: Standing on the Edge of Reason"), and, finally, an epic combination of both the serene and the furious dualities in the band's nature ("Pt. 5: Self Despairing Journey"). Sure, the group's stylistic daring doesn't necessarily translate into top-notch songwriting, but it's most certainly interesting and impressive enough to ensure that Mercury Switch will pick up a few more followers with this second effort.

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