Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2018
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Privacy Policy

Into the Groove with Merciless Cold Indifference - 77%

bayern, June 25th, 2017

Mercyless remained in the shadow of the Big Four (Massacra, No Return, Agressor, Loudblast) of French thrash/death metal as the main probable reason for this seeming injustice is that they appeared relatively late on the scene, when the other four outfits had already established themselves as forces to be reckoned with. Embracing the still relevant at the time thrash/death metal hybrid, the band embarked on a journey to catch up with their compatriots, and by the time of their sophomore they had managed to carve a small niche for themselves, siding with other similar practitioners from the Old Continent like Protector, Messiah, Merciless, Baphomet, and Assorted Heap. Alas, their chosen stance was wearing out under the pressure exercised by the impertinent aggro/groovy/post-thrashy vogues until it became the familiar “adapt or die” situation that befell many old school defenders…

The guys had models to follow from their own peers when it came to transitional efforts: Massacra already had two released under the groovy “yoke” (“Sick” and “Humanize Human”), and No Return had also fallen under the post-thrashy “guillotine” with “Seasons of Soul”. As the decision had already been taken, it just remained to be seen how our “mercyless” friends would be able to pull it off…

As the majority of the fanbase’s criterion scales had all been seriously adjusted by the mid-90’s, I guess there mustn’t have been too many detractors once this “cold” offering had hit the stores. And, there’s absolutely nothing wrong, let alone “abortive”, with the opening “Abortive Attempt” which is a pretty acceptable modernized thrasher/post-thrasher with jumpy technical riffs and a cool semi-balladic break. “If They Live in Ecstasy” doesn’t spoil the impression too much although it’s just a moody atmospheric post-thrashy piece with cleaner vocal attempts made as opposed to the angry shouty main ones. “Fluids” is all about doom and deeper atmospherics the cleaner vocals more fully epitomized; and “Dorian” is a stylish more technical shredder with a wider array of rhythmic patterns including several pure progressive escapades; clean singing and more atmosphere again. “Neutral” is a soulful bluesy ballad, the first actual indication that the guys may as well mess it up towards the end; but “A Nice Day to Survive” brings things back to normal with more dynamic, bouncy guitars only for the latter to be drowned in groovy melancholic semi-balladisms on “Ap4pN”. “Personality in Relief” follows a similar pattern with even some keyboards sneaking in turning the whole fest towards progressive metal territories. “Servant” tries to preserve the post-thrashy vibe from the beginning, but there’s simply too much atmospheric serenity and beautiful melodic lead sections for this task to be successfully fulfilled, especially when the final “Still Life” enhances the beauty and tranquillity being another poignant ballad.

It was kind of good that the band tried to adapt to the new fashions through their own weird perspective rather than trying to reproduce The Black Album more or less faithfully, or jumping on the aggro wagon head-over-heels together with the myriads of Pantera and Machine Head clones. They made a fairly decent modern progressive metal recording which was not as closely related to their roots as No Return’s mentioned opus, neither was it such a drastic departure from anything that was created before like Massacra’s “Humanize Human”. It’s a kind of a pity that they abandoned the more aggressive thrashy histrionics which could have served them well, and may have placed them next to notable 90’s thrash practitioners like their compatriots Aleister, the Americans Aftermath, and the Spanish Ktulu. Instead, they chose the road down to a complete fiasco which was the next instalment “Sure to Be Pure”, a bland numetal non-sense released right when the old school sound was getting ready for another spell with the music industry; “an abortive attempt” on all counts, a not very dignified conclusion of their career…

Which was revitalized in the new millennium as the band returned to the fore with a direct look back at their early days. The two albums released so far are fairly good retro death metal slabs without any deviations from the norm, and the way it seems groovy, post-thrashy aberrations haven’t been listed as “helping hands”. No more “cold” experiments, the guys will make sure everything stays pure… and merciless.