Hand Of Mercy: Have Mercy
Elliot Smith has his wall in LA, The Beatles have Abbey Road, Parkway Drive have the disappearing street sign, and now Hand Of Mercy have their own monument to moshcore.
In November last year, sandwiched between the Never Say Die European tour with I Killed The Prom Queen and Northlane, and the Australian Warped Tour, Hand Of Mercy found themselves back in Massachusetts with Shane Frisby, the man responsible for recording 2012’s Last Lights, about to begin the momentous task of following it up.
“We were much better prepared this time around, writing 15 songs so we had something to cut down from, removing what, I guess, we would normally think as being a filler song,” guitarist Josh Campiao says bluntly. “We didn’t want to write 11 songs, go ‘I don’t really like that song but I guess we’re stuck with it…’ You know?
“We wrote a couple of songs and finished off a bunch more while in Europe, so going in straight after touring we were all practised, we were ready to play our instruments, we didn’t have to warm up into anything.”
The extra attention paid during pre-production and their existing relationship with Frisby meant they could spend more time experimenting while recording, introducing a broader range of percussion and even branching out for some ambient recordings from locations around the studio.
“It’s a way to add something extra amongst the chaos,” says Campiao, and at the enthusiastic mention of a particular tambourine section he affably adds: “It does make you smile.”
There was more chaos to come; the departure of frontman Scott Bird was a spanner in the works if ever there was one.
“We were so on track to release the album that we were taken aback a bit and didn’t know what was going to happen or who to get, but we persevered, we had to push the idea of a record out of our head for a hot minute just so that we could get on task and find someone that we liked,” Campiao explains. That someone was former Take Us To Vegas member Nick Bellringer.
The recent teaming up of Rise Records and UNFD means that Resolve will get a worldwide release when the date rolls around, and it also marks the first time the band’s music has made it to vinyl. While the extra couple of inches an LP has on a CD make all the difference to the artwork, there’s an even bigger version of the album’s cover art for those keen to take the pilgrimage.
“We knew we didn’t want to do cartoony artwork, and we didn’t want to necessarily go with pictures of skylines and things like that, we were trying to work in what could be different.”
What they opted for certainly was – a photograph of a stories-high flash sheet mural by Melbourne artist Steen Jones. The process of painting was filmed and unveiled as part of the video for the first single “Desperate Measures”.
“It’s easy to write aggressive songs when the music is so aggressive; this time we wanted to put more of a positive on things as well. Thinking about the nature of Resolve, there is both sides to the coin.”
That kind of basic binary is represented by the good luck, bad luck, love, and hate citations that caption the panels of the mural, which the Sydney-based guys finally got to see in the flesh on a recent tour.
“When we were in Melbourne on the Rampage tour we went and visited it, and I was just on tour with Hellions on the Rise Of Brotality tour and we went and looked. It’s been attacked a few times, but the majority of it is still there as well, in Brunswick, off Victoria Street, if anyone wants to have a look.”