Merciless Death "Evil in the Night" CDPosted on Friday, April 6th, 2007 @ 7:56am » permalink
I picked up "Evil in the Night", the debut from California thrash trio Merciless Death, on whim since the Ed Repka cover art is fucking awesome. That's a good sign, as I haven't bought many albums for the cover art alone since I was a little kid first getting into Iron Maiden or whatever, but still, I had my doubts as to whether or not it would deliver. I believe this is the first release for the relatively new label Heavy Artillery, and you just never know, right? Well, I'm pleased to report that this whole "thrash revival" thing finally seems to be paying off, as more and more bands are taking the steps necessary to adhere as closely as possible to the 80's thrash aesthetic, and Merciless Death is damn sure one of those bands. I mean, shit, they even wear jeans, jean and leather jackets, and white high-tops; and there's a huge photo collage on the inside of the booklet that looks so old school I can't believe it. Seriously, these kids just look 80's… it's fuckin' weird!
As for the music, look for a succinct eight tracks in about 26 minutes that keep things pretty consistent in terms of moderately fast tempos, sneering vocal yells, and quick, often mildly chaotic lead bursts. Much of the riffing reminds me of a "Show No Mercy" era Slayer with more of the raw aggression of the "Hell Awaits" period, though the more in your face vocal approach helps to keep them from sounding too much like Slayer or anything like that. Plus, they're not really going for "catchy" songwriting or anything, so despite some solid, "hooky" riffs here and there where they briefly ease up on the speed, they pretty much go for the throat with a slew of fast riffs, basic vocal arrangements, and classically oriented early-80's thrash compositional tactics. No frills, really, and that's fine by me. Hell, just look at the lyrics:
Masses chant an evil spell, Raising souls from which they fell, Sadistic force of unholy rule, More souls into deadly hell, Under… the executioner's command!
The recording is of course on the intentionally rugged side, but I have no quarrels there. They give the bass just enough room, the drums sound pretty dry and natural, and it's a fairly balanced approach given the niche of dated appeal that they're shooting for. And I've already mentioned the badass cover art, so… they've covered all the bases here. I'm impressed, and already looking forward to more. Hear for yourself:
I believe the label's next release is going to be a new record from Avenger of Blood, which is fuckin' great, so I'll be keeping an eye on their future output without a doubt. Definitely support their efforts with a purchase if you like what you hear: