Wednesday, December 28, 2016

review: Mercyless

Pathetic Divinity
release date: October 7th, 2016
label: Kaotoxin Records
Mercyless (France) is a traditional death metal band that came to the attention of the metal world in 1992 with its very good debut album Abject Offerings, a work that rolled into one the best elements of the genre's rising wave; big and memorable riffs; guitar solos with personality; great, clear production of the time; awesome growling in the tradition of the greats that founded the genre. Mercyless has been through its ups and downs in the music business and has released some six studio albums, including this new one.
In the past the band has experimented and even lost its way, but in 2013 they returned to form with Unholy Black Splendor. Things were looking up and it was a genuine effort by the band. In 2016 they remain true to their original mission of death metal with Pathetic Divinity. Committed to writing songs, Mercyless concentrates on doing what they do best, which is headbanging metal. Some may call it old school or traditional or something like that, but Mercyless it is simply death metal the way they became known.
Mercyless 2016 features heavy growling that is somewhat intelligible; it's a big mass of jumbled screaming. The vocals do sound like the Mercyless of old, in the style of the founders of the genre in the 80s; deep, with enunciation, with emphasis on making the vocals be a big part of the songs, not just another form of percussion. The guitar tone is substantially heavy, upfront and thick, with a vibe of grooving sounds. There are hooks and melodies that can catch the listening ear. The guitar solos remain the main fountain of melodies for Mercyless, given that the songs carry a heavy weight to them. The album has a rumbling quality to it and you can be sure that the rhythm section is definitely responsible for that pounding rumble; there is quite a bit of blasting, but it's located in certain segments when the songs call for it.
Mercyless 2016 has a lot to offer to those partial to death metal, especially if we're talking about the more traditional forms of death metal from the legendary days transported to the times of today. To those that remember Mercyless from the old days, the band knows that they need to show that they still have the spirit of old. This album goes a long way towards showing that this is the case. [review by MMB]
OFFICIAL: Among the genuine originators of the mid-80's French Extreme Metal scene, few were the ones able to really export their unholy art, get the recognition they deserved from the worldwide underground and be still around quite 25-30 years after their inception: LOUDBLAST, AGRESSOR, SUPURATION, MERCYLESS and PUTRID OFFAL. Formed in 1987, MERCYLESS released their kvlt debut, "Abject Offerings" (produced by world-class producer Colin Richardson) in 1992 through UK's Vinyl Solution / World in Flames. Preceded by three demos and an EP, followed by countless gigs in Europe, the album, with its trademark riffing and vocal styles on top of a brutal, uncompromising yet crystal-clear production and a truly personal approach of unholy Death Metal, immediately earned the band the worldwide recognition it deserved. Soon followed by "Coloured Funeral" (1993, Century Media) and European tours with DEATH, MORGOTH, UNLEASHED, TIAMAT and ASPHYX, both albums and MERCYLESS altogether are still seen as some of the kvltest Death Metal band and releases of the early nineties. MERCYLESS eventually released two more albums ("C.O.L.D.", 1996 and "Sure to Be Pure", 2000), both through Germany's Impact / System Shock - the later full-length being a posthumous release), showcasing a more progressive and cold Thrash / Death before disbanding in 1998 after a final Spanish tour.
Back from the grave in 2011, the band started re-releasing its back-catalog (a compilation of demos and rarities in 2011 and an official bootleg in 2012) before entering the studio again to record their comeback (fifth) full-length, "Unholy Black Splendor" (produced by Dan Swanö), released in 2013, and a split EP, "Blast from the Past", with just-resurrected French act CRUSHER in 2015, soon followed by a European tour with fellow french veterans LOUDBLAST. Meanwhile, MERCYLESS reissued their kvlt debut with three different labels on CD, LP and cassette tape. KAOSKVLT, the new KAOTOXIN division dedicated to old-school gems reissues, releasing on early 2016 to celebrate the album's 25th anniversary what's most probably the trvest, rarest and kvltest version: a 100 collector copies cassette tape edition. While celebrating these reissues, MERCYLESS signed to Kaotoxin and entered the Psykron (PUTRID OFFAL) and Conkrete (OTARGOS, ANATA remasters...) studios to record their sixth studio full-length, "Pathetic Divinity". Preceeded by a free digital single titled "Altered Divination" in June 2016, the album will be unleashed upon mankind on October 2016 marking the start of a year-plus long series of celebrations for the band's 30th anniversary.

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