Okay, I admit it. I can't resist this shit. I'm Pavlov's dog and the gods of thrash just rang the fucking dinner bell. You can be as sick of retro throwback bands as you want, you can say we don't need a band like MERCILESS DEATH around when we have the original 80's classics to jam, you can say MUNICIPAL WASTE write better songs and CROSS EXAMINATION is funnier, and you know what? I can't hear you, because I've just sprouted a thick, wiry Mexi-mullet with cheap Sony headphones permanently fused to it, and blasting my eardrums into trebly, off-the-rails oblivion is this rancid slice of 1980's thrash metal so goddamned authentic, it ought to come with a free painter's cap with the MERCILESS DEATH logo badly stenciled onto the bottom of the brim.
Basically, these three burnouts have no interest in anything but thrash metal, the good, the bad, and the ugly of it. They single out "people with the Reeboks High-Tops that shouldn't have them" for special entry in their "much hate" list in the liner notes. The singer mimics Steve "Zetro" Souza to the point where you can almost hear him eating too many doughnuts so he can run out of breath at just the right moments. And Jesus H., will you just feast your eyes on that Ed Repka cover? A band that commissions that artwork, in the year 2007, and causes it to be, can really do no wrong. And open the CD booklet. Go on, open it. You know what you're going to find. That's right. A fucking photo collage, complete with a pasted-in Judge Dredd.
It shouldn't even have to be said that the music enclosed herein is utterly without subtlety, breathing room, or the influence of anything newer than the Iran-Contra scandal. The thing is, as much of this shit as there is out there, MERCILESS DEATH may be the flat-out best at pulling it off. They're not "thrash-influenced," they're not hardcore kids making fun of the DARK ANGEL albums they found at a flea market… they are a fucking thrash metal band from the mid-1980s. It's as if they're trying to will themselves back in time by the sheer power of downpicking, vaguely out-of-tune soloing and redolent leathers with a cutoff denim jacket on top (festooned with a RAZOR back patch, of course). Basically, you could throw "Haunting the Chapel", "Bonded By Blood" and "We Have Arrived" into a blender, liquefy, and pour over a raging circle pit, and you'd have the experience of listening to this record.
Yeah, you're thinking, but a 9? Look — this band does one thing. They don't profess to do anything but that one thing. And they do that one thing better than you do any thing. They dish out blistering solos, polka beats, savage riffs, cranky snarling vocals, and in-your-face bloody thrash metal attitude, and they never let up until you either get into it or go join the poseurs in the bathroom, still looking at their hair. The best part about MERCILESS DEATH is that you know — you know — that if no one on earth gave a rat fuck about them or what they were doing, these three dudes would still be sporting HOLY TERROR buttons on their denims, and still wearing high-tops, and still sitting around each others' apartments headbanging and getting drunk and, more than likely, starting destructive and ludicrous three-man mosh pits in their living rooms.
MERCILESS DEATH is thrash metal to the core of their being. End of fucking story. Go buy this.