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Timeless classic, excellent album!!! - 90%

dismember_marcin, January 26th, 2015

I guess I should start with some history facts first… Back in the early 90’s, like most of the Polish metal fans, I was buying / trading all these pirate Polish cassettes from “labels” like MG or Takt. They were releasing many great foreign death or thrash metal albums, not only from big bands like Slayer, Metallica or Morbid Angel, but also a lot of smaller, more underground stuff. Oh, I remember having so many killer, now classic, albums on these pirate tapes… like for example Torchure and “Beyond the Veil“, Acheron and “Rites of the Black Mass”, No Return with “Contamination Rises” or Baphomet “The Dead Shall Inherit”… Just to mention few, as there were more! And one of them was also Mercyless and “Abject Offerings” album. I don’t remember where I got this cassette from; I never read any interviews with this band, I don’t think anyone recommended them to me, so I guess I just got this tape, because I liked the artwork and maybe I got someone in the shop to play it to me… And such death / thrash metal sounds were my favourite thing back then, so I probably could not resist. Oh, this turned out to be truly a killer band and amazing album! Years later I also got a CD version of “Abject Offerings” and I still consider Mercyless to be one of the most underrated and killer European bands. This album is just so damn good. I don’t know why they were not as lucky as some other bands, but maybe it has something to do with the fact that really Mercyless did only two great albums (“Abject Offerings” and “Coloured Funeral”) and later, when death metal stopped being so popular they did just poor recordings and soon split up, never breaking through into the first death / thrash metal league. I come back to “Abject Offerings” quite often and recently I had one more opportunity, as Max Otero (guitarist / vocalist) sent me over a newest version of the album, released in 2014 by Great Dane Records. It is then a killer opportunity to remind or recommend this awesome band and their classic debut, more so also because it is now easy to find in distros around, so maybe you’ll have a chance to get it and listen to some of the best French death / thrash along with Massacra!

But let me just say first that this new digipack version does look quite poor in my opinion and the layout is rather disappointing. It’s just a simple fold out digipack, with no booklet, which would contain the lyrics or some archive material… So, all you’ll find here is the artwork – which by the way has also been changed (but it stays in the same style as the original artwork) and one band photo. What a shame that they did not take more care of this release! Even my original CD looks better, as it has quite few band photos and all lyrics! So, this 2014 re-release is disappointing from the visual side… Luckily the music still sounds damn awesome and it’s the only reason why it is so worth getting! Yes, this album didn’t grow old at all!

“Abject Offerings” is just pure, classic thrashing death metal, so typical for the early 90’s. Imagine a mixture of bands like Pestilence, Massacra, Death, Possessed, Morgoth, Burial (Holland), Torchure, Cancer and so on… This is really nice, technical, but intense and aggressive material, with quite few faster, but also some slower songs… all in all, very diverse, technical, but maybe not too complex, but really memorable, sometimes even slightly melodic death / thrash in the old school vein. I really like the riffs here, as they’re aggressive, but also memorable, with some truly awesome parts or guitar solos and really nice arrangements. There are so many details, all these nicely arranged parts that the album really makes a stunning impression. And more so, this album did not grow old after all these years. It still sounds so damn fresh and spotless really, better than many other albums from the same time. And that is something remarkable. And it only proves the highest quality of this album and that it’s just one of these special, classic death metal records from the old days, which are just a must to have for all fans.

So, I am disappointed that “Abject Offerings” is so rarely mentioned among the best European death metal records from the early 90’s, I hope that this reissue will bring some more credit to Mercyless. This digipack, despite its poor presentation, is truly must to have, also a new vinyl version is coming, so… what else can I do, than once again recommend “Abject Offerings”? Fantastic album. Also, check out Mercyless’ come back record “Unholy Black Splendor”, which is also a fantastic, killer stuff!

Standout tracks: “Abject Offerings”, “Substance of Purity”, “Without Christ”
Final rate: 90/100

Excellent Possessed worship - 92%

natrix, December 2nd, 2011

I really can't get enough of the weirder types of death metal. Bands like Pestilence, Morbid Angel, and Morgoth all injected a fair degree of left brain thought into the the death metal genre. Mercyless also gave us Coloured Funeral, an album that I feel is one of the top 5 avant garde death metal albums ever, easily up there with Blessed Are the Sick and Testimony of the Ancients.

This is not nearly as adventurous as Coloured Funeral. This doesn't sound too different from Morgoth's first two albums, especially in terms of vocal delivery and the overall dark sound. Mercyless is, however, far more technical, and while they don't use as many strange melodies and polyrythms as on the follow up, their use of melody sets them apart from Morgoth.

The strongest influence you'll hear on here is Possessed. The riffs are choppy and jarring, and often shift from blasting to a midpaced shuffle. Slow moments are very few, most notably on "Substance of Purity," which has a creepy main riff. Combined with the drawn out growls of Max Otera, this gives Abject Offerings a really dark feel.

Mercyless certainly boasts some of the best musicians. The drum work is particularly impressive--there are lots of clever fills here and there. As I've noted, rhtymically, Abject Offerings boasts nasty riffing. Guitar solos are generously sprinkled throughout the album. If you love Trey Azagthoth's whacked out tapping and Patrick Mameli's composed leads, then you'll be very satisfied here.

What really strikes me is the strength of the arrangements. Abject Offerings could have been a terrible, unlistenable album in spite of it's musical merits, but this French foursome arranged the songs in a surprisingly mature way. Just listen to the longer tracks such as "A Message for Those Who Died" and "Selected Resurrection," to hear how these masses of ugly riffs work together.

It's criminal that Mercyless never got the respect and attention that they rightfully deserved. What's even worse is that after the masterpiece that is Coloured Funeral, they abandonned their death metal roots and created two poor albums.

Strong, yet forgettable - 72%

the16th6toothson, August 31st, 2008

This along with the Italian Cenotaph to me stood and still stand out to me as the token ''If you liked Pestilence...'' bands of yesteryear. Here you were find vocals EXTREMELY similar to Patrick Mameli's, and a pace that never goes too far into sludgy or too hard into hyper speed (though ''Substance of Purity'' & ''Selected Resurrection'' do get fast). It's safe DeathMetal done with conviction, and a faint air of personality but ultimately you will start to forget what song you're really on...

Every solo is well placed and structured, some more distinct and personal than others but every one works. The double bass work is fluid and consistently cohesive, the guitar sound is smooth and moderately heavy and the vocals heave and are decently enunciated.... But ultimately you will start to forget what song you're really on...

The production brings the riffs to the forefront, with the solos cutting through very nicely, next in the levels is the vocals, which are tasteful and coherent. The drums, are a bit buried, which might be the leading cause of the ending of those first two paragraphs i wrote...

No song is ''bad'', nor is any song a high point in the genre's existence, merely these are simply goods songs written by a band that is right above average.

Fans of latter Pestilence, most of Morgoth's material, Disincarnate and even fans of Massacre would enjoy this-but it's mired but the inability to really ''stick''. The next album had the same problem, but was still fine-after the first two full lengths the band totally went weird on us all, but not for nothing-it's what they are truly remembered for, selling out!

Recommended (?) to those of us who can't get enough DeathMetal no matter how ''in-the-middle'' it is, NOT recommended to fly by night fans who simply stick to the top tier.

Not At All Bad - 70%

corviderrant, March 4th, 2004

Mercyless were one of the few bands from France I heard that I actually enjoyed at the time this was released (early 90s). Colin Richardson actually manned the board for this album, and while the production is good and relatively clear, it still sounds a bit low-budget. The guitars have a good clear crunch, and the drums could have been a little punchier and more prominent, but otherwise this is not hald bad.

Musically, Mercyless were very much inspired by the likes of Morbid Angel and Pestilence (who wasn't influenced by those two bands back then, though?), with staccato, choppy riffing that whizzed along at a healthy clip most of the time. But they mixed it up with slower power chord rhythms that were actually pretty catchy, as well as the odd arpeggiated part here and there, and Stephane Viard was a pretty damn good lead guitarist, blending Van Halenesque tapping with emotive bending and tasteful runs that ran the gamut from fast and furious to slow and melodic. Drummer Gerald Guenzi had happy feet--he loved his double kick work--and Max Otero's anguished growl/howl vocal approach suited the music perfectly, and somehow his thick accent added character also.

The best tracks on this album are the beautifully-arranged "A Message For All Those Who Died" and "Flesh Divine", and the rest of the album is pretty standard issue for the time. That said, this was one of the better debuts I heard that year, and I'd recommend it for fans of old school Eurodeath.