Merciless Death
Merciless Death

Evil in the Night Merciless Death - Evil in the Night (Heavy Artillery) 2006

1. Slaughter Lord (3:03)
2. Deadly Assault (2:16)
3. Command Death (2:36)
4. Burn in Hell (3:46)
5. Exumer (2:51)
6. Act of Violence (4:10)
7. Final Slaugh (3:11)
8. Ready to Kill (3:34)

The first release on Heavy Artillery Records is Merciless Death's "Evil in the Night". This album is pure LA thrash metal worship served up '80's style. Everything about this band screams THRASH! The band name obviously is taken from the infamous Dark Angel song. The disc features cover artwork by legendary cover artist Ed Repka who has done covers for Death, Possessed, Nuclear Assault, Evil Dead, Megadeth, etc. and even designed the infamous Dark Angel logo. The music is dirty, heavy, fast, thrash metal. Merciless Death are not a band afraid to wear their influences on their sleeves, and on the front of their patch clad, denim vests either. Dark Angel-style riffs, Possessed imagery and most certainly early Exodus are a huge influences on this band. All eight songs included here are essential thrash metal listening. There is nothing in the way of innovation or experimentation. Rather the band are perfectly content to play classic thrash metal. The production sounds a bit muddled, things are not as clear as they should be, but this actually works in the band's favor. Much like those early thrash metal releases or even some early NWOBHM bands such as Raven and Venom, the dirty recording adds to the overall charisma of the album. Some thrash purists might even say this sort of production is a requirement. Unfortunately this CD clocks in at only 25 minutes, making this closer to an EP than a full length. However, all eight songs are great. There is no filler whatsoever.

It's also worth mentioning that the "hate list" on the back of the CD booklet really is hilarious. How about "much hate to people who prefer Pantera over Razor", "people who think Metallica & Megadeth are gods", or "much hate to people with the Reeboks High-Tops that shouldn't have them." This list sits just below a photo of the band decked out in their most metallic denim and leather garb, and of course white, high-top Reeboks.

Realm of Terror Merciless Death - Realm of Terror (Heavy Artillery) 2008

1.    The Abyss (:59)    
2.    Realm of Terror (2:55)
3.    Evil Darkness (2:29)
4.    Tombs of the Dead (2:56)
5.    Death Warriors (3:13)
6.    Cult of Doom (3:12)
7.    Tormented Fate (3:55)
8.    Fall to the Pentagram (1:07)
9.    The Gate (3:17)
10.  Summoning of the Ancient Ones (4:00)

The sophomore album from Merciless Death sports more of the same speedy thrash metal as their debut. Unfortunately Merciless Death write little in the way of hooks, and their songwriting is pretty one-dimensional. The songs all tend to blur together into one thrash-for-thrash sake mess, never really leaving a lasting impression in the listeners brain. I was more than mildly amused by their debut, as it showed a band wearing their influences on their sleeves, even if the songwriting, performances and production weren’t quite up to snuff yet. The early Exodus and Slayer influences were obvious on that album. With "Realm of Terror" the band continues to unleash more dark, fast, retro-thrashers. There is little in the way of original material or hooks as the band speeds through each and every song. Most songs here are around three minutes long, and the entire album clocks in at under 30 minutes. Once again the band continues to emulate Exodus, Dark Angel, Razor and Slayer, with a few songs even having near identical riffs. "Evil Darkness" has a riff that is very similar to Exodus’ "Piranha". However, I also hear some darker influences from the likes of Celtic Frost and Venom here as well.

The production is slightly improved over the debut, which helps makethe album more listenable. You can actually hear the bass guitar, although it becomes clear that the bass is simply following the guitars and isn’t really holding up the rhythm. The vocals are slightly different here as well. Whereas on the debut Andy Torres had a higher sound, not unlike Steve Souza, on "Realm of Terror" his voice is a bit lower and more menacing, sounding a bit like Steve Rowe from Mortification from time to time.

I like the fact that Merciless Death are committed to thrash metal and don’t care about bending to trends. I lov e thrash metal and am glad that there are young band’s carrying the torch. With "Realm of Terror" the band has made improvements in their production, now I look forward to hearing some improvements in the songwriting. Keeping their obvious influences, I hope they begin to add in some more memorable riffs and some ideas of their own. Some of that barely starts to surface on "Realm of Terror" with songs like "Summoning of the Ancient Ones", which tells me that with each new release I think that Mercliess Death will become a force to be reckoned with.

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