Mercy is the fourth release from Chicago born DIY doom metal outfit Flesh of the Stars. The work possesses a bold, complex sound, that builds upon a union of doom and old-school British folk in both tone and momentum. The six-part work is a-typical in its song structure, weaving heavy, distorted riffs into delicate patches of melody, synth and vocals to create an unpredictable and distinct aesthetic.

The characteristic signature of Mercy is the stylistic bond of doom and folk elements; aggressive bursts of guitars, drums and bass lead an overwhelming assault on the listener, until dulcet vocals lull them in a temporary rest, accompanied by clean-picked guitar melodies and sparse piano work. With that being said, two tracks (‘Wisteria’, ‘Burial’) commit more entirely to each stylistic influence. The former, ‘Wisteria’, is a brief two-minute interlude that captures the elusive folk influence in a heady concoction of unsettled acoustic guitar, keening synth and the graceful vocals of Rachel Rustemeyer. On the other-hand, ‘Burial’ is a forceful march, defined by its chanted vocals interspersed with aggressive growling  bursts of doom ridden guitar and drums, even allowing for a bass driven groove to compound the momentum of the track. The crowning achievement of the album is the title-track ‘Mercy’, a twenty-two minute immersive journey, that demonstrates the masterful songwriting and unique tapestry the album crafts. Perhaps it is a little daunting as a first track for new listeners, but when heard in relation to the more singularly focused works, it breathes with depth. 

Flesh of the Starswork gives off an earthy, hallucinogenic feel; like a ritualistic experience belonging to a long dead Druid religion, it enthrals and drags the listener through crushing, dark landscapes of doom onto wistful, airy heights. Imposing and demanding, Mercy is a truly absorbing voyage to undertake.  

Mercy is out now and available to purchase here.

Words: Omur Sowar

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