Album Review :
Mercy Screams - Pathways EP

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Band: Mercy Screams
Title: Pathways – EP
Label: n/a
Release Date: March 3, 2010
Review By: Steve
Track Listing:
1. Intro
2. Repetitions
3. Oh The Blood
4. True Romance
5. Thief In The Night
6. Pathways

Mercy Screams is a five-piece metalcore band out of Fredericksburg, Virginia. I recently stumbled upon them through an IVM reader’s news tip. They released their first six track EP in March entitled Pathways.

Musically, Mercy Screams is not breaking any boundaries; however, the metalcore they play is pretty good. Pathways is full of good riffs. The riffs are hard, fast and piercing at times like at the beginning of “Thief In The Night” to slower, chugging riffs like at the end of “True Romance.” Mercy Screams does a great job of mixing up the tempo in most of the tracks to keep the listener off balance and wondering what is coming next.

Vocally, this album is kind of so-so in my opinion. The first half of the EP I really liked the vocals but the last three songs kind of turned me off a bit. What is it that turned me off? It was the clean vocals that really did it in for me. There are no clean vocals in the first three tracks but the last three lead guitarist Ian adds some clean vocals. It is no secret to anyone that I am not a fan of clean vocals in metal/hardcore but there are a few exceptions. While Ian has a decent voice, the clean vocals seemed to take away from the brutality of the tracks and were really distracting for me. I feel that they were not needed. Jeremiah’s intense guttural growls and screams are excellent. As far as lyrics, Mercy Screams lyrics cover a whole host of spiritual issues ranging from the grace of God never leaving us, a love song to Christ, and Satan coming after our souls.

My favorite track on Pathways is “Repetitions.” I liked this track partly due to the aggressive nature and piercing riffs but also the lyrics really hit me in a personal way with some situations I am currently going through in my life. Jeremiah screams, “we are all guilty / we are saved by grace / he will never turn his back / even when we walk away / were lost in this / we hide our face / we are ashamed / now what’s lost is found / were not backing down / were not giving in.”

Besides the clean vocals the only other issue with Pathways is the rough production of the EP. At times some of Jeremiah’s vocals seem muted; however, with a DIY album that is to be expected, but it does not take away from what is a very good first effort by Mercy Screams.

Overall: this is a very solid first effort by Mercy Screams. Mercy Screams has crafted a very good EP using a wide array of riffs and solid song writing into a brutal album. If you are a Christian metalcore fan then do yourself a favor and go check out Mercy Screams and support their music.