01. With All the Pride and Dignity of a Drowning Summer 02. Evidence of Wasted Ink 03. The Rescued 04. Houdini Has Lost His Key 05. The Death of Stars Like the Sun 06. Room One Thirty Four 07. Aspartame 08. A God Reclaims His Throne 09. Stutter 10. Force is Always an Option 11. Revenge Tastes Like Blood and Broken Teeth2003 Century Media Records, Abacus Recordings
by Rob McFeters
“The Mercury Lift” is the third album from Birmingham, Alabama’s Haste. If you aren’t familiar with Haste, then you should know they have been around for more than six years and are one of the hardest working bands in the business. They are also one of the only heavy bands that I know of that tastefully employs dual vocalists, and that can mix such diverse influences (from Quicksand and Sparkmarker all the way to Pantera and EyeHateGod), and have the songs come out seamlessly. On the previous Haste album, “When Reason Sleeps,” the band incorporated a bit more melody and singing than they did on their first album. For “The Mercury Lift,” there is even more melody and singing. At points, some of the more upbeat, melodic songs give me a hint at what a band like The Used would sound like if they had any underground credibility. However, Haste hasn’t completely abandoned their heavy side. While not as prevalent as on their previous two albums, the crushing, southern-rock influenced breakdowns, and double-bass breaks are still here. The thing I heard about the most before this record came out was the guest-vocal appearances. On two songs (“Houdini Has Lost His Key” and “Room One Thirty Four”), additional vocals are provided by Rodney Reaves and Jason Barker, who are in other local Birmingham bands (Wayne and Gainer, respectively). “The Rescued” was contributed to, lyrically and vocally, by Jeff Jenkins from Codeseven. The song that stands out most to me is “A God Reclaims His Throne.” Randy from the mighty Lamb of God laid his brutal vocals on this track and also helped write the lyrics. This particular song has a strong groove and some of the guitar work reminds me of older Snapcase (i.e., “Lookinglasself,” “Steps”). The production on this record is simply crushing and beautiful at the same time. Every nuance of these songs is brought to the front, with nothing lost in the background. I have always liked Haste’s guitar tones, which have contributed to a southern-rock/metal influence, but on this record, I particularly enjoy the bass and drum tones. Likewise, I have always been a fan of Jeff Gardner’s drumming. It isn’t too over the top, but if you pay a small bit of attention, you could how technical some of his drumming really is. I do have one complaint about this album, and it is completely personal and selfish. As I stated before, Haste’s enormous (sometimes sludgy) breakdowns have been pushed back for a more melodic approach. While they still thrown in one of these breakdowns here and there, I really miss that sound, because that is what initially got me into this band. Bottom Line: If you haven’t heard Haste by now, let me tell you that you are missing out. It seems like hardly anyone remembers the heavy music of the early nineties, in the vein of Quicksand, and Helmet. I suppose, around that time, people were too wrapped up in Pearl Jam or something like that. But Haste brings that Quicksand influence and injects it with such a catchy melody that nearly every song is an experience. Quite simply, this is a great record.
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