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Review of the Album "Shadows of the Cross" by Romanian Thrash Metal Band Mercaptan

Ara is a journalism graduate from California State University, Northridge, who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.

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Here Comes Romania's Version of Metallica

Mercaptan (yes that’s how the band’s name is spelled) is from a country that some people may not be able to locate on a map. They are a two person band from Romania. Even I could not believe it when I saw that there was a thrash metal band from Romania. Romania is normally a country that is known for having great athletes but not heavy metal. Their debut album Shadows of the Cross is heavily influenced by Metallica during their Death Magnetic album days. It is almost impossible to miss hearing the influence that this album has developed. This album might as well be considered a tribute album to Death Magnetic because of the style of the songs the way that they are written. The band consists of 17 year-old Kovacs Zoltan (rhythm guitar and vocals) and Richard Andrei playing lead guitar.

About the Songs On Shadows of the Cross

The second song “Train of Consequences” is really similar to the song The End of the Line in terms of its style and structure. Even the guitar solo in this song really resembles the solo in that song. On the one hand, it is good to know that bands such as Mercaptan have the chance to keep the thrash metal scene going after Metallica’s exit from the scene. Lyrically, the mentioned second song is about being trapped in a situation that seems difficult to escape from. “The Day That I’ll Be Free” is similar to the song “The Day That Never Comes.” “Abortion” is a song that sounds very much like the song Cyanide and it has a heavy Judas Priest feel to it as well. The song in terms of the lyrics is about what happens to an unborn child as their life is snuffed out of them. Seeing that a band from Romania has put out a thrash metal album is a good thing because it is time for other nations on Europe to take steps to be recognized. Mercaptan is an example of the expanding thrash metal scene so much that it has become a musical global phenomenon. For those of you that enjoy the album Death Magnetic and you crave metal music that is newer, Shadows of the Cross is definitely the album to check out. “The Unmendable” is a beautifully influenced “The Unforgiven 3” kind of ballad song without the vocals of James Hetfield. It speaks to the massive influence that Metallica has been on so many bands. The album ends with the fast song “Suicide Mission” as it sounds like the song My Apocalypse. That is a fitting way to end this album because that song is so great that sometimes you run out of words trying to describe that last song on Death Magnetic. Let us shift the focus back to the song “The Unmendable” because of how it came into fruition. The soft beginning part sets the stage for what is to become a solid ballad for those of you that crave softer songs done by metal bands. The song is about someone that is in hiding because he does not know what to think. He feels like he has these voices in his head. He wonders if he can find the way to communicate. The person described in this song feels very much alone.

"The Unmendable"

"Lifeline"

Kovacs Zoltan born in February 2004 has the potential to become one of the best thrash metal rhythm guitar players over time. Listening to this debut makes you want to see Romania become a breeding ground for thrash metal and this album is only one piece of the puzzle but it is a very good start if that country wants to get started in developing some good homegrown talent so that thrash metal can flourish. This may be the best way to sound like a legendary band and make it melodic enough!

© 2021 Ara Vahanian

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