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mercifulnuns 400billionsuns
Artist: Merciful Nuns
Title: 400 Billion Suns
Genre: Gothic Rock
Release Date: 9th October 2015
Label: Solar Lodge

Album Review

You know when someone tells you “a funny story”, and your lack of apparent mirth is generally followed by “you had to be there”? Alas, so it is with just about every Live album ever released. Think about it. At a gig, you’re swaying in a tightly packed gathering of like-minded souls, possibly drunk or high, adrenalin pumping with excitement and anticipation, the smell of dry-ice, sweat, beer, the throb of bass through the floor, the wash of colour, sight and sound, the glorious explosion of sensory overload… It’s never going to translate onto something you hear through little plastic headphones on the morning commute. A good live album leaves you feeling just horribly jealous, all the rest seem to serve no purpose other than to squeeze a few extra quid from the party faithful.

And so it is with ‘400 Billion Suns’. MERCIFUL NUNS continue to flatten their already well-worn path with a live album and a trawl through their back-catalogue. There’s plenty of tension and drama on the sinister growl of ‘Genesis Revealed’ or on the spirited romp through opening song ‘Speed Of Light’, but then things quickly get boggy. ‘Karma Inn’ is still so laughably SISTERS OF MERCY it hurts, and ‘Exosphere’ so laughably FIELDS OF THE NEPHILIM, the band can at least hold heads up high and proclaim themselves the best of the many, many tribute bands out there.

Vocally there are moments when the live setting suits Mr Seth, as he battles to be heard, and he can belt out a good shouty chorus when he needs to. But there is so much sameness on the majority of the tracks here that to the uninitiated, the spooky-Neph-spoken intros that become spooky-Neph-guitar-led blacker than black rock songs, leave those of us not moshing at the front most definitely at the bar by mid-way through this, arguing over the price of a warm beer and a shot of “local” vodka. And by ‘First And Last And Always’ (‘Occvltation’) and yet another sampled intro (‘The Maelstrom’) it’s all just getting a bit much.

Final song ‘The Return’ is a pacy, racy affair which might seem a good choice to finish a live album, but it smacks of pub-rock and is under-developed and flat. And that’s the problem with ‘400 Billion Suns’. The crowd seem to be having a rare old time, and the band are pummelling and powering through what you suspect is their best material. But for everyone else, listening in to this event that’s been and gone, perhaps you really, really did need to be there.


01. Intro
02. Speed Of Light
03. Karma Inn
04. Body Of Light
05. Genesis Revealed
06. Exosphere
07. Blackbody/Ultraviolet
08. Supernovae
09. Occvltation
10. The Maelstrom
11. God/Aeon
12. Hypogeum
13. Ancient Atronauts
14. The Return


Artaud Seth 
Jawa Seth

Website /

Cover Picture

mercifulnuns 400billionsuns


Music: 5
Sound: 5
Total: 5 / 10

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