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Decent if unspectacular thrash/speed. - 60%

caspian, November 27th, 2008

Never actually heard of these guys before, and it’s understandable why they’re a fairly obscure outfit. No frills, fairly unoriginal speed metal in the earlier years (pretty sure this compilation’s in chronological order) before the whole thing slowly morphs into fairly unoriginal thrash. Thrash is a lot like beer and pizza though, even if it’s stale and old it still does the job, and Have Mercy are decent enough.

It’s not terribly original. The earlier stuff seems to be Priest worship, and while it’s probably the same year (or possibly before) the riffs and strange falsettos also suggest some Running Wild and Merciful Fate. It’s enjoyable enough but not particularly special; more charmingly incompetent then good. The drums aren’t up to much chop, slowing down for all the faster bits, the falsettos and most of the vocals in general could best be described as “prepubescent”, but as the songs creep by everything gets tighter, the vocalist’s balls drop (lyrics don’t get all that good though, like this gem from “The Slayer“: The commandment says it’s a sin to kill/but is it a sin to kill satan?) and things get more enjoyable. I don’t know if these guys replaced their guitarists somewhere around the second demo but the riffs and solos seem to really tighten up past the first few songs; “The Slayer” has some awful vocals but great riffs, and the solos in “Have Mercy” are of an admirable quality.

Definitely have a feeling these guys wents through a lot of different line ups; the vocalist sounds completely different (and really, really bad) by the time the otherwise excellent “Mass Destruction” comes through. By now we’re halfway through the record and things are slowly getting there. Sure, the vocalist does sound like a young Prince Charles trying to sing speed metal vocals, but the riffs are excellent quality speed metal riffs and the solos are a nice mix of shred and melody. Pretty solid stuff, really, it’s fairly tight but still with a fair bit of energy and a real demo-like feel (probably because it was a demo). Things get thrashier in the last half (with a new vocalist, again) and that’s probably where this is at it’s best, though it’s never particularly fast or fierce, almost like they got some thrash riffs and gave it a more relaxed, slowed down feel. Some good moments in these parts though; the intro to “Hells Haven” being full of some rather solid Metallica-esque riffing, although it seems that some new guitarists came in to add a strangely dissonant sheen over much of the otherwise fairly straightforward Slayer/Megadeth/Metallica mid paced riffing.

Maybe that’s why this band remains fairly obscure. All of the individual “eras” (as in, groups of songs that probably belong to the same demo) show some potential and some good riffs and what not, but with the seeming constant change of guitarists and vocalists they were never really able to build up on a single style and really excel at that. It’s a shame as most of the songs show some relatively unoriginal but still pretty cool ideas; whether it’s some relatively chunky thrash riffing or inspired, energetic speed metal in songs like “Death Watch”; there’s a bit of worth in most of the riffs, and if a bit more time could’ve been spent on developing these sort of things then surely much better things could’ve followed. As it stands, though, this is some average but not terribly amazing speed/thrash, and unless you’re a fanatic for this stuff there’s not a huge amount of point getting this record.