Your new album is called ‘Through Our Darkest Days’, I guess the title is about what happened with the band over the last years?
In part that's true. We took some inspiration from our own lives and our situation and development as a band. But like with every other Mercenary album, there's also a general existential lyrical theme which in this case is about overcoming despair and getting through hardship. Our own story wouldn't be terribly interesting if it didn't have resonance and relevance by potentially inspiring others, giving them hope or at least letting people recognize a glimpse of something larger, an emotional response to some aspects of the universal human condition.
There are a few songs with very melodic and catchy clean singing parts. In my opinion better than on ‘Metamorphosis’. Did your singer René Pedersen have more input on this new album than on the predecessor?
We wrote both albums together, so there's not really any big difference in terms of input or who wrote what. We work together in an open creative process without any set or predetermined roles – everything is in principle up to discussion. So the development was a shared decision to make things more melodic. It came naturally to focus more on the choruses and of course it made a big difference that René had grown as a singer with the experience of making the previous album and touring a lot following that release.
What is in your opinion the biggest musical difference between this album and ‘Metamorphosis’?
Usually I explain this by saying that on 'Metamorphosis', we felt a need to distance ourselves to our old sound and do something new, whereas on the new album, we tried to fuse everything we liked from the old albums together. So, perhaps for the first time ever as a band, we were not trying to run away from our past but instead turned to embrace it.
Have you been doing some festivals this Summer?
We did a few, yeah, but with the timing of the release in July which was a bit late for the festivals, we are hoping for some more next year.
Can we expect a club tour this Autumn/Winter?
Well, given that it is now November, we just got back home after finishing a great Danish headliner tour and an equally great European headliner tour with Omnium Gatherum. We haven't scheduled any big tours for 2014 yet, but we'd do some headiner shows in
Most of the fans/writers find ’11 Dreams’ The Mercenary album so far, do you find that a blessing or a curse…?
Actually the old fans seem pretty divided between '11 Dreams' and 'The Hours that Remain', and I guess for every album, there are fans who got to know the band at that time and have that on as their fave for that reason. But '11 Dreams' was of course the album where we went from a small underground label to gaining the support of a bigger label in the shape of Century Media, so it's the album where a whole lot of people noticed us for the first time. And of course I wouldn't say it's a curse – we consider ourselves fortunate to have written songs 10 years ago that people still remember, appreciate and want to hear at shows, even though we can rarely find time within a set to play more than one or two songs from that album.
I think that the melodic death genre has come to a point where it is difficult to think out something new, almost everything has been done. How is Mercenary going to develop themselves on the next album, will there be big changes?
First of all, I don't really see us as limited to the melodic death metal genre. It's an easy term to for us to use to let people know roughly how we sound, but there's not really a lot of death metal in our songs and we don't really constrain ourselves to the quite narrow sound a lot of melodic death metal bands have. We have always joked that we have a very unique sound because we steal from a lot more bands than most other bands would have the decency to do. But there's actually a truth in that. We incorporate as many elements as possible from the different subgenres of metal because of our love for metal and I guess we are combining all those elements differently for every album. The important thing for us it just to make the different elements go together in a harmonic organic unity. I see no reason why our next album should be an exception, even though it's way too early for us to speculate about that right now. It will happen when it happens and in whatever way which feels natural and relevant at that point.
This 5 albums should every metal-head own:
Symbolic, Heartwork, Natural Born Chaos, And Justice, Rust in Peace.
Anything else you want to share with our readers?
Yeah, if the people who read this want to support the scene in general or us specifically, then please support the scene by actually buying albums, whether it's physically or digitally. So many people are using legal streaming services like Spotify now, and while that might be great as a user, it's depriving bands of a vital income. We might as well give the music away for free if it wasn't for the promotion a label will put an album to make a profit for themselves. So if you want your favorite bands to continue making albums and being able to invest their money into touring, please make an effort to actually support them directly. And thanks for reading this.
Thanks for answering the questions!
You're welcome. Thanks a lot of the interview!
Interviewed by Reinier de Vries