Exposé Online banner

Altura — Mercy
(Magna Carta MA-9014-2, 1996, CD)

by Jeff Melton, Published 1997-02-01

Mercy Cover art

Altura is a five-piece gigging band from Charlotte, North Carolina. Their first album is a definite progressive metal project with intricate time changes that support a core emphasis of aggressive, but balanced, songs. It should easily appeal to Dream Theater / Queensrÿche fans. Mercy is also a mature first effort, with a good mix and plenty of individual separation between instruments. One of the standout tracks is "One Dimension," a song about disillusionment that features some non-standard chord changes. I briefly met Rain Irving (vocals) and Franklin Ervin (guitars) at ProgDay 96. Rain is a real singer, not a screaming poser, and perfect for this melodic band. Vocal arrangements of this style can be viewed as the new focus by bands where singing is as important as posturing with attitude. Franklin's guitar leads fit well within the confines of the song structure rather than wrapped around it, which is often the case. Keyboardist Jason Lingle also has a choice solo break on "One by One" worth calling attention to. Although this is yet another album starting with a rain storm, this CD boasts pristine production provided by San Jose's Robert Berry, who gives it a clean, distinct overall sound and bite. Vocal engineering by Mike Wible is also notable. This is the best album I've heard on the Magna Carta label.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 11, 1996 releases

Related artist(s): Altura

Latest news

2018-09-05
Krautrock Documentary Seeks Funding – The next installment of the Progressive Warriors documentary series will focus on the vast body of music that falls under the banner of "krautrock." As most of our readers will know, previous films have tackled RIO and the Canterbury scene, as well as what we might call "mainstream" prog rock. » Read more

2018-07-31
Tomasz Stańko RIP – Tomasz Stańko, one of the greats of Eastern European jazz, has died at the age of 76. Stańko's career started in Krzysztof Komeda's quintet, where he contributed trumpet from 1963-1967, when he formed his own group. He worked extensively with Edward Vesala, Don Cherry, Zbigniew Seifert, Chico Freeman, Howard Johnson, Cecil Taylor, and many others. Many of his recordings have been released by ECM, an association that began in the mid-70s. » Read more

2018-07-09
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more

2018-07-01
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more

2018-06-25
Fred Chalenor RIP – We have news of another sad passing in the world of creative music. Bassist Fred Chalenor, whose creativity featured on albums by Tone Dogs, Caveman Shoestore, and many more, died on June 23, 2018 after a long battle with Alzheimer's. Tributes have poured in from the many musicians and fans whose lives he touched. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Indigo - Silent Memories – One cannot listen to Indigo's latest album without acknowledging that, while, good as some of these musical compositions might be, they tend to be spoiled by powdery and derivative lyrics sung in a...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues