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Predictably poor - 55%

Noktorn, May 3rd, 2009

While this isn't quite the worst case of a death metal band 'experimenting' in the mid-'90s, it's still nothing that you would likely want to listen to for its own sake. 'Cold' is a very archetypal example of the mid-'90s DM collapse: a band coming off the heels of a great album making a bid for more mainstream success and consequently failing miserably. In defense of Mercyless, their failure isn't a tenth as egregious as, say, Morbid Angel's was, and 'Cold' does have some interesting elements and a level of songwriting quality which would ALMOST make me think that this was a legitimate album, but in the end, it's still nowhere near 'Coloured Funeral', and as such can be ignored by those who aren't listening to this for historical perspective.

Many of the usual suspects are here: the music is generally based on a somewhat technical, experimental variety of post-thrash metal featuring sporadic clean vocals and some rather awkwardly placed keyboards. To the band's credit, the narrative and winding style of songwriting found on 'Coloured Funeral' is mostly preserved without really wandering into trite verse-chorus territory, but the content itself isn't very well laid out. The songs generally attempt to draw an overly large amount of attention to the experimental elements, which end up leading the compositions most of the time despite the fact that in most cases they're the least interesting thing going on. Hints of industrial and electronic influence pop up here and there ala mid-era Godflesh, and they're just as clumsily implemented as you would imagine; this isn't an album like Gorefest's 'False', but just another case of unadvised experimentation from an established band.

Occasionally some pretty cool moments will pop up: 'Fluids', cheesy as it is, is one of the better examples of this particular style and era of metal, and 'Neutral' is a genuinely good song with its rather relaxed, grey style of delivery. The majority of the material feels like filler, though, to the surprise of none. While the average quality of the music on 'Cold' might be better than the majority of releases in this same vein, it's still not particularly good; the experimental influences stick out, and not in a good way, the riffs are generally unmemorable and have little bite, and the music in general has a clumsy and awkward feel about it, as though even the band themselves was completely aware of how unnatural it sounded.

The only real reason to pick this up is for historical perspective; you probably won't really like the music. All this does is give a good overview of what was happening in death metal in the mid-'90s: awkward, stilted, kind of dumb, and with flickers of cleverness popping up here and there. I certainly don't recommend this on musical terms, but it's a good a look at the time period as any, and with a little less odium to go with it.