Mercury Circle – Killing Moons
Following the release of their 2020 EP Dawn of Vitriol, Finnish Dark Rock band Mercury Circle release their debut album Killing Moons this Friday (October 8, 2021) via Noble Demon Records. Although the easiest label to file the band’s sound under is simply “Dark Rock”, they offer such a unique blend of sounds and themes that it’s almost impossible to give them one defining genre.
I think one thing everyone can agree on, is that this album is incredibly diverse. Killing Moons is so sonically rich, melding together elements from all over in a bubbling caldron of sound. The “Dark Rock” soul of the album holds the listeners hand as they’re guided from song to song, experiencing constantly evolving sounds and themes from various cultures, genres, instruments, and eras. Deep emotional and poetic lyrics that provide vivid yet haunting imagery. Themes you get a whiff of but cant put your finger on, and just as soon as you’re about to identify it, the focus turns to something else. So many layers and sounds and yet the transition is always smooth and naturally placed. At times, Killing Moons sounds like it could very easily be the score for some epic space or post-apocalyptic themed sci-fi film (Interstellar comes to mind). Other moments, a pure ode to 80s/90s goth rock. Jaani’s moody vocals create an unpredictable texture to the already complex sound, ranging from raspy and edgy to melancholy and almost angelic, occasionally complimented by female vocals of various calibers and styles.
Songs like “You Open Up The Earth”, “The Gates Wide Open” and “Seven Archangels” showcase eastern or other ethnic sounding instrumentation and haunting vocals, mixed flawlessly with synths that carry an 80s/astral spacey vibe (which is woven as solidly through the album as the dark rock sound). “Avalanche” and “Killing Moons” are heavy on that sci-fi /space vibe, including clips from some distorted/radio dialogue adding to the mysterious other worldliness. “Black Mirrors”, “Like Matches” and “Seven Archangels” are more goth/dark rock with catchy riffs and edgy beats, but still tying in the other ethereal elements found through out the album. The ending track is probably the doomiest song of the album. “Death Poem”also seems to me, the song most relative to the Dawn of Vitriol EP and could easily be a bridge between the two works.
Killing Moons is a lot more complex than I expected. I was in love with the Dawn of Vitriol EP and the three singles “The Gates Wide Open”, “Killing Moons” and “You Open Up The Earth” almost instantaneously, but now that we have the complete album, I think it will take many spins until I can fully grasp and appreciate the album in its entirety, wholeheartedly.
01. The Gates Wide Open
02. Black Mirrors
03. You Open Up The Earth
04. Killing Moons
05. Seven Archangels
06. Call On The Dark
08. An Arrow
09. Like Matches
10. Death Poem
Jaani Peuhu – Vocals, Guitars, Synths (Iconcrash, Swallow the Sun, Hallatar)
Jussi Hämäläinen – Guitars, Synths, Backing vocals (Hanging Garden, The Chant)
Juppe Sutela – Guitars (To/Die/For)
Ande Kiiski – Bass (Sleep of Monsters, Rytmihäiriö)
Jaska Raatikainen – Drums (Children of Bodom)