REVIEW: One - "Walk the Mercy Mile"

By Marcus Pan

Chain Border

Walk the Mercy MileAustralia's One begins its history with a band called Meridian. Releasing Sundown Empire in 1996, the band suddenly split due to various reasons. Frontman of Meridian now returns with the new outfit, One, a gothic rock one-man group with its debut album out on Nightbreed Records (UK). Walk the Mercy Mile is a decent collection of One's first eleven tracks.

Sticking closely to the gothic rock style, One's music is rather rigidly arranged. The arrangement is good and I find Wilkinson's use of strong, popping bass lines refreshing. While as the CD continues some will find that One/Wilkinson sticks with a very similar arrangement style across all tracks, some will enjoy the rigidity of the music genre Wilkinson has chose to create within. This reviewer however finds the rigidity to lead to slight monotony as the 42+ minute CD rolls on. Wilkinson's voice is very strong and low, a lower octave baritone or bass. The guitar work is strong as well and very strictly arranged throughout the music. I've already mentioned the bass and the rhythms are standard fare yet well played.

Highlights of Walk the Mercy Mile include the fifth track Gods of Love, a bit faster than some of the other moodier tracks and with a unique keyboard line with a computeresque flair bubbling just beneath the vocals. The guitars are strong and riveting if a little on the underside of the song. I also find Dead Heart quite a good track. This one is slower with a strumming start that, suddenly, breaks into a very powerful guitar line that builds to a strong climactic chorus. Also requiring mention is One's cover of Shout (Let it All Out). A surprise for me. Wilkinson tears the song into a metallic stance with scratching, almost Korn style guitar accents. Keyboards are mellow and soothing, yet eerie in its makeup. Quite well done.

I must mention that Wilkinson's One project is quite unusual. Quite a bit of music here contains Christian feelings and beliefs. That's all good and well, but it bared mention because I've only seen one other gothic group, of any of the sub-genres that the goth crowd can find themselves in, that is pro-Xtian. The use of biblical lyrics within songs such as Be With You and Receive the Word, while metal-laden and with a moody atmosphere was refreshing. If anything, One must be given a thumbs up for standing up for what they believe in even though it's surely to bring them some heat from the hardcore goth/metal crowd.

In closing, One delivers goth-rock style music. It's very rigid within this context and to some fans this may be great. For others like myself, a bit more movement or changes of the style might benefit them I think. Fans of the Sisters of Mercy, Mission, etc. will find One an excellent addition to their collections. While fairly standard and not quite new or refreshing within the music genres I cover, it is nonetheless very well arranged, well played and quite good for what it is - gothic rock music. And with a Xtian slant, even.

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