Waves Of Mercury - As Seasons Fleet (EP) (2013)


We've often spoke to bands rising from obscurity about the difficulties of fielding a full line-up; hence why there are so many one man bands flooding through the scene. For David and Greg Richardson, a full band just never panned out the way they wanted to. After their attempts failed in 1998, they brought the their work to the studio as a duo. Greg would supply guitar and fretless bass, while David would provide the drums and vocals. With help in the lyric department from a handful of writers along the way, they would, several years later, come to be known as Waves Of Mercury. Their foundations lie in the world of doom metal, down tempo and emotionally savvy, but with an emphasis on intricate guitars and melodic harmonies. But where their creative influences begin and end is the true mystery, with some pieces of their work sounding like hero worship, while others could be signs of a lucrative future. Either way, "As Seasons Fleet" will sound familiar.

With the main component echoing the traditional doom sound of My Dying Bride, "Spring's Hollow Bloom" is a six minute evolution happening before your eyes. Instead of a one dimensional track, it changes; the harmonized vocals are the mainstay, while the music surrounding them comes and goes in waves. The shift from doom to progressively more melodic clean passages is an easy one, particularly with a intelligent bass line to pull them along. Layering is key here, with different comnbinations of guitar, bass and drums playing off of one another. Conversely, "The Dying Of Our Summer's Day" is not as successful an endeavor, with the vocals in the verse feeling forced at times. They are immediately redeemed in the chorus, thanks to the psychedelic tremor in the voice of singer David Richardson. A more high tempo second half does wonders for the track as a whole, especially when it is filled with deft musicianship.

The more emotionally written "Falling In Autumn," with lyrics by Antony Johnston, seems to be the best fit for the duo performing it. Classic sounds dominate here, cutting back and forth between driving guitar riffs and smoother ones, bringing together Blue Cheer and Sabbath at times. Greg Richardson, the man behind the strings of guitar and bass, does some of his best work here, mirroring his winding guitar melody with a bass line that moves almost as nimbly. Choosing to go for the most straightforward track on the album as the finale, "Winter, Your Fortress" is a difficult one to dissect and reconcile. You have a song that, for all intents and purposes, is a carefully crafted doom masterpiece, rivaling the current My Dying Bride catalog. However, when David Richardson unleashes his odd whisper growls, it fails to gain any traction. His normal, clean vocal suits the style, as does the spoken word he unveils here; but the other, more passive aggressive side of the coin falls short. Greg, on the other hand, thrives in this setting, creating astonishing amounts of mood with his work.

For as good as the work is by the Richardson duo, this latest output by their Waves Of Mercury project doesn't resonate the way you hope it will. The pieces are in place, but there is something missing. Perhaps it is Johnston's lyrics, which seem to pull David out of his comfort zone at times, causing a few ill advised vocal changes. Or maybe it is that the music itself too closely resembles one of the undisputed titans of the doom genre. Whatever the reason may be, there are plenty of selling points to be found on the EP; picking out which ones work or don't work for you is another story. But with this duo working together, you can be assured that you will get something well above the minimum expectation. How far above remains to be seen, of course. Much like the seasons they reference, their sound changes over time. Where it ends up after "As Seasons Fleet" will play a huge part in how bright their future can be.

7/10

Bandcamp - http://wavesofmercury.bandcamp.com/
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/wavesofmercurymn