October 15, 2013 The Mission – The Brightest Light (Album review)
The Mission UK are back! Wayne Hussey, Craig Adams, Simon Hinkley are back together with new drummer Mike Kelly. It has been 6 years since their last release, God Is A Bullet and thirteen plus years since the original lineup has been together. The Mission began when Wayne Hussey and Craig Adams left the band Sisters Of Mercy in 1985. They released their debut album in 1986 entitled Gods Own Medicine. The followed with a couple of success records in Children (1988) and Carved In Sand (1990). The music was more on the gothic side in the beginning until Masque (1992) when the band decided to take a different approach to their music and strayed away from the gothic side. Following a similar trend The Mission released Neverland (1995), Blue (1996), and Aura (2001). In 2007, they released God Is a Bullet which found The Mission re-inventing themselves again by going for more of a mainstream rock sound that is similar to that of U2. The band was going through rough times even before God Is a Bullet was released and in 2008 Wayne decided to disband The Mission. It seemed like the Mission was all but over until 2011 when the original band united together and played some 25th Anniversary shows. They eventually decided to work on writing a new album and finally The Brightest Light was released in September 2013.
“Black Cat Bone” opens the album with a menacing plodding tone. The song does not really change up much but it eases the listener into the album. Hussey has a little bit of an edge to his voice that is a nice touch and is something he has not done much of in the past. The next track to follow is “Everything But The Squeal” speeding things up a bit. The drums kick off the song, and would translate well live with the audience clapping along. Again, Hussey has that angry snarl in his voice, as if he is shouting at the world. We are then given “Sometimes The Brightest Light Comes From The Darkest Place” which is the first single off the album. It’s has a very metallic sounding guitar starting the song off and then the rest of the band kicks in for a full sound. A catchy little guitar solo by Simon Hinkler is placed perfectly in the track giving it that extra little something. This song keeps the album going at a steady pace and was a great choice for a single. Changing things up a bit, “Drag” is a rock song that is very Led Zeppelin influenced. It is a decent tune, but it kind of sounds misplaced at this point in the album. Five tracks into the record is “Born Under A Good Sign”. The sound of this track is pretty up beat and catchy with a chorus that is similar to something The Pretenders would have done. The track also has a likeness to something that would have came off the Mission’s last album God Is A Bullet (2007).
Keeping balance between highs and lows on the album and “When The Trap Clicks Shut Behind Us” slows the album down a bit with some acoustic guitars, which makes for a relaxing and laid-back track. It is actually nice to hear a song like this for a change of pace in the album. I would not be surprised if this is the next single. “Ain’t No Prayer In The Bible Can Save Me Now” brings back that snarl Hussey used towards the beginning of the album. This is another song that starts acoustic and then kicks off into a groovy jam. Craig Adams’ bass playing really stands out on this song making it another catchy relaxing tune. The song ends on a high note with everyone joining in for a group chorus. “From The Oyster Comes The Pearl” is a semi acoustic track with electric guitars placed throughout the mix. It is a little more laid back than the previous track, but has a catchy chorus and showcases a great guitar solo by Hinkler. “Swan Song” is a mid paced rock song bringing the electric guitar sound back in full force. With a very haunted sounding verse and a catchy chorus, it is very reminiscent of older vintage style The Mission
The album closes out with the dark acoustic track “Litany For The Faithful”. The song builds with just Hussey and his acoustic guitar to a full sounding acoustic based rock track midway with the entire band. The lyrics follow the same subject line of darkness, despair, hope and love which The Brightest Light maintains throughout this highly anticipated album.
If you have the means, the special edition of The Brightest Light comes with a bonus CD of 8 songs. Six of the tracks are special acoustic demos from songs off the record with just Hussey and a acoustic guitar. The other two tracks are not featured on the album and include “I’m Fallin’ Again” and “The Long Way ‘Round Is Sometimes The Only Way Home”. Both tracks are well worth the extra money for this special edition and a must have for any The Mission fan.
The Brightest Light proves The Mission back is back. It might not be The Mission of old, but it is better than not having them at all. It takes a few listens to get into the album, and after the second or third time you will be humming or singing along with each track. There are some great songs on The Brightest Light and it fits in pretty well with their very diverse discography. Cryptic Rock gives it a 4 out of 5.
Written by Wayne Noon