Musical Joy

Mercury Rain

Mercury Rain

Mercury Rain

Mercury Rain started in 1998 in the United Kingdom, when after a several years of playing in various bands, Jon Hoare decided that a project band with the sole purpose of producing a CD was in order. Andy Pester was available for drum duties, and Dion Smith completed the lineup on guitar. Jon had worked with both Dion and Andy before, but ‘Mercury Rain’ had a more direction and drive than their previous projects. The band wrote about ten songs over about six months, and drafted in a local singer, Dave Moores to handle the vocals on a track ‘Nowhere left to run’. The track was never released, but finally things were moving. The real breakthrough came in September 1999 When Sonia Porzier joined from the French band ‘Tears of Ea’. Sonia’s voice and vocal style gave the band a definite direction, drawing comparisons from the media with ‘Lacuna Coil’ ‘The Gathering’ and early ‘Nightwish’. This is when the band began to look to the future rather than concentrating on producing just one CD. ‘Where Angels Fear’ was released in November 2000. The 5 track EP showcased a band with lots of potential, and hinted at heavier things to come. In 2001, Dion decided to quit MR, and Tim Henley took on guitar duties.Tim stayed with the band until May 2002, when he left after he and Jon fell out, and the lineup was once again in question. After auditioning several promising replacement guitarists, Dion was back in the band. After a year off from the band to pursue his own musical aspirations, Dion returned to the fold. It is fair to say that Dion was back with a renewed enthusiasm, and made a welcome return after a period of uncertainty for the band. With a renewed attitude and direction, and adding Rich Shillitoe on guitar, Mercury Rain returned in 2003 with a brand new full-length album ‘Dark Waters’ and a sound they termed ‘Gothic Power metal’. The album was self-released, and was good enough for the band to earn the opening slot at the UK’s ‘Bloodstock’ festival, playing the same stage as Nightwish and Paradise Lost. August also saw the band play their first live shows, touring the UK with ‘Power Quest’ and ‘Intense’ & ‘DragonForce’ amongst others. Another lineup change soon after Bloodstock saw Rich relinquishing guitar duties as the band settled down to plan and write the new album. Writing & enthusiasm for ‘St Matthieu’ was escalating to such an extent amongst band members that the disc had gone from being an EP to being a full album, destined to see the light of day June/July 2004. The band took time out from writing and recording to film a promotional video for ‘Shadow’s Scent’ in January 2004. An ambitious venture, involving Jon in a microlight aerial filming in early January on location at the world famous Eilean Donan Castle in Scotland. ‘St Matthieu’ included a limited edition bonus DVD featuring three live songs from the 2003 tour, plus the ‘Shadow’s Scent’ promo video. An extensive advertising campaign to support ‘St. Matthieu’ was well underway in August & September 2004 when the band secured a slot on the ‘Therion/Tristania/Trail of Tears’ tour in November 2004, covering some eight shows across France and playing cities such as Paris, Lyon, Rennes and Lille. Before the tour Andy quit the band due to personal commitments outside of music. Dion, Jon & Sonia were are sad to see him go, but the four of them felt that this was the right and necessary decision at this point in time. Andy’s replacement for the tour was Rodrigo Oliveira from Brazilian thrash monsters ‘Korzus’ looking to branch out and broaden his horizons. He played a big part on the tour, providing an awesome power behind the kit. After some time off in 2005, the band reconvened to plan for the future. A second guitarist joined the fold – Roy Chudobskyi (Cloven Hoof/Rainbow Rising) and Claudio Diprima (Thy Majestie) now ensures that the kit is in safe hands. The five piece have started playing shows in October 2005, with some new material and re-workings of existing tracks to accommodate the additional guitars. The sound is evolving all the time. Certainly heavier, but still with the trademark strong melodies and hooks, the reaction has been positive. Appearances at Manchester’s ‘Damnation Festival’ and the ‘Metal Female Voices Festival’ are imminent, and a new 3 track EP is also in the works. The band split-up in January 2006 but has since reactived in 2008. They are currently working on a brand new album ‘Sands of Time’ to be released in 2009.

Discography (That I Own)

  1. Dark Waters (2003) – First full length album by Mercury Rain. I originally bought their second full length album, St. Matthieu, before I bought this one but I had liked that album enough to try out their earlier work. Dark Waters is a really good album, certainly good for a first full length album I think. The lead singer, Sonia, has a pretty husky sort of soprano voice and the music does not seem to compete with her but rather is in perfect accord with her. The bass and drums impressed me the most on this album.
  2. St. Matthieu (2004) – The Second full length album by Mercury Rain. This was my first introduction to this band from the UK. I liked the sound of Sonia’s vocals. The guitars were heavy on this album, certainly heavier than on their first full length album. Honestly this album reminded me of a slightly watered down Nightwish.

In Conclusion
I think that Mercury Rain is a pretty decent band who has been trying to find their own style of music. I am glad that they chose to get back together and perform again. Perhaps their next album will be even better than their last two.

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