The Mercury Lift

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Haste's music is not quite what you'd expect based on their label, underground metal giant Century Media, who have seemingly chosen the band as a way to test the (potentially lucrative) emo-metal waters. The first song on The Mercury Lift, "With All the Pride and Dignity of a Drowning Swimmer," kicks off with a body-slamming guitar riff, double-bass drums, and some patented screamo vocals, but come chorus time, they shift gears into a melodic emo-punk chorus that would sound perfectly at home on Top 40 radio. The rest of the album carries on in much the same way, alternating between heavy, aggressive hardcore-metal and saccharine, radio-primed emo-pop. This is actually the same sort of formula they followed on most of their first album, When Reason Sleeps, and to be fair, the idea of using a "clean" vocalist alongside a more typical-for-the-genre screamer is one with a lot of potential. And for listeners who appreciate the Get Up Kids and Converge (or Glassjaw and Earth Crisis) with equal enthusiasm, Haste's dual-vocal style may well hit the spot. However, from an underground metal/hardcore listener's perspective, the singing is hard to take, coming across as cloying, calculated, and forcefully melodramatic rather than sincerely emotional. Which is a shame, because everything else about this album is well done, from the full-sounding production to the tight, energetic performances the rest of the band puts on. There's even a nice growling guest spot from Lamb of God vocalist Randy Blythe on one track, "A God Reclaims His Throne." Perhaps it's simply a matter of taste, but Haste's emo-metal-hardcore blend may be too diverse for it's own good. Either that or it's being pitched to the wrong audience.

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