MISSA MERCURIA – Missa Mercuria

MISSA MERCURIA - Missa Mercuria


Lion Music
Release Date: November 18, 2002

Guitars: B
Bass: B
Percussion: B
Keyboards: B
Male Vocals: A
Female Vocals: C-
Lyrics: A
Recording Quality: A-
Originality: A
Overall Rating: B

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

Missa Mercuria is a Heavy Metal rock opera set in the Greek Mythology era. The premise is Hermes, the messenger of the gods, decided to quit because mankind won’t listen to him. Missa Mercuria, a female, contemplates, and eventually decides to assume the divine messenger duties vacated upon Hermes’ departure. Interesting, but in Roman Mythology, Hermes is named Mercury – obviously a male — so Mercuria evidently is the author’s female manifestation of this same individual. Anyway, in addition to being a messenger, mythology tells us Hermes/Mercury was the conductor of souls to Hades (hell), and the god of travelers, of music, and of cheats and thieves.

All of these divine characteristics are embedded in this album’s story line. In short, mankind’s violence, terror, and greed caused the gods, who live in the minds of humans, to be ignored, and society is on the brink of total collapse. Missa Mercuria is summoned to bring the message that mankind must radically change its thinking with respect to virtually everything, and then build civilization back up via the power of the elements of fire, water, earth, and air. To do so, Missa Mercuria, as her duty is prescribed, takes mankind down to a journey through Hades for the sole purpose of purging current thought processes and misconceptions of the modern cultures, only to reemerge via rebirth and reformation. Whewwwwww!

The story line and lyrical concept to this album were developed and written by D.C. Cooper (Silent Force) and Karin Forstner, and both collaborated extraordinarily well to keep the concept together AND to convey this concept via catchy lyrics and memorable choruses. The music was written in concert by Gunter Werno & Stephan Lill (Vanden Plas), Alex Beyrodt (Silent Force), and Alfred Koffler (Pink Cream 69). The genius of Dennis Ward (Pink Cream 69, Angra, and others) handled the production of the album.

Musically, this album is superb. There’s periodic power coupled with a host of unique sounds and instruments, creative musical tricks, and great stereo effects … very original both in concept and delivery, and recorded with impressive clarity. In particular, the guitar work is the most notably well produced. Stephan Lill handles most of the guitar passages, but gets some assistance from Alfred Koffler and Alex Beyrodt. Their work takes control of most of the tracks in this album; especially noticeable in many of the songs where regular verse transitions into chorus – the guitars sell the chorus transitions moments before vocal accompaniment, offering a prelude (of sorts) of what is about to come up next. The percussion work is solid and well mixed, and the keyboard work is tasteful and really sets the mood of many of the songs, especially the handful of instrumentals.

The album starts out with a few morphing instrumentals that give way to the Firegod (D.C. Cooper) taking the stage to say his piece via “Devine Spark,” possibly the best song on the album. Cooper, during this song, along with Andy Kuntz (Vanden Plas) and David Readman (Pink Cream 69) at various points throughout the album, deliver outstanding vocal performances – another clear-cut highlight of this rock opera.

Next up is the Watergoddess in “Whisper Of The Soul” – musically as innovative as anything on this album, but Sabine Edelsbacher’s vocal style simply ruins this song. Conversely, the calypso-ish beginning of “Mother Earth” is strongly supported by Earthgoddess Lori Williams’ vocal appearance, resulting in one of the best songs on the CD. The Airgod, Andy Kuntz, then serves up a Vintersorg-like, scientific/philosophic vocal cabaret with “Spirit Of Wisdom” – another success.

After a mellow instrumental featuring the violin and a wind instrument of some sort, Missa Mercuria takes the stage with the title track. This character is played by the soprano opera singer Isolde Grob, who basically sings like she either has paralyzed lips or a sweat-sock stuck in her throat. The lyrical verse and chorus patterns are truly great, but her off-key vocal delivery, like the Watergoddess, ruin the song … too bad, because this is potentially the strongest song musically with the best guitar work.

Up to this point, the story line essentially remains intact with the background short story provided with this CD. The next 2 tracks, however, “The Fairytale Of Truth” and “Farewell For Love’s Sake,” seem to serve no tangible storyline purpose and end up coming across with as little chutzpah as “Carrie” by the band Europe.

After these soft-sole tracks comes the segment entitled “Journey To Hades,” which starts off with two instrumentals that do an admirable job of setting a somber, if not eerie and spooky mood for the next track, “Bursting Ego” – a song featuring a strong vocal performance by David Readman; another artistic gem having the purpose of convincing man that it is indeed now time for him to experience the shadowy world of Hades to save himself. After another short instrumental (assuming this track was written to convey the actual entering into Hades through the threshold), up comes “Rectificando,” which has man crawling and groveling on his knees as he realizes the end result of his debauchery and misguided ways. Musically, the guitarists use a bow-on-string style of playing, similar to what Deep Purple did on “Knocking At Your Back Door.” It works, and adds a certain degree of power, presence, and force to this song.

After the epiphany resulting from man’s trip to Hades, the palate of life has been cleansed and new hope arises in the final instrumental, “New Eon Arises.” There’s plenty of piano and keyboard work here, and the music certainly evokes a feeling of rebirth and hope … a beautiful end to a well-conceived “rock opera” effort.

Overall, this album is pretty complex … it’s not exactly an album to pop in for casual listening, rather it’s an album that demands (and deserves) a listener’s undivided attention. Missa Mercuria is the type of recording that was made for headphone listening to better enable the listener to pick up all of the intricate instrument use and to focus on the story line present in the lyrics. There’s a few really awful points in this album, as noted above, but overall this CD is an innovatively crafted piece of musical art that will be appreciated by Metalheads who especially enjoy something unconventional and unique.


  • Dan Skiba

    Dan is a former partner at Metal Express Radio, and also served as a reviewer, photographer and interviewer on occasions. Based out of Indianapolis, USA he was first turned on to Hard Rock music in the mid-1970s when he purchased Deep Purple's Machine Head as his first album. He was immediately enthralled with the powerful guitar sound and pronounced drumbeat, and had to get more! His collection quickly expanded to include as many of Heavy Rock bands of the time that he could get his hands on, such as Ted Nugent, Judas Priest, and Black Sabbath, to name just a few.

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