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Coloured Funeral - 90%

dismember_marcin, January 30th, 2017

Objectively speaking I have to admit that even though the French death metal scene never belonged to my favourites, they did have some exceptional and memorable bands. Some of you may still remember Aggressor, Supuration, Loudblast, Crusher… Personally my two beloved bands were Massacra and Mercyless. Oh man, these acts really did record some fantastic albums and ever since the early 90’s they belonged to my favourite European death metal bands. Mercyless is one of those bands whose music turned into something horrible on the third and fourth albums, I truly think they recorded utter rubbish. But their killer debut “Abject Offerings” and the even better follower “Coloured Funeral” are classic death metal records. If you don’t know them, then you just must catch up and grab them, believe me they’re fantastic. “Coloured Funeral” is close to perfection. This quite forgotten and underrated album brings some of the best technical and slightly progressive, but still harsh sounding death metal songs of all time. I love everything about this full length, starting with the killer and exceptional songwriting, filled with AMAZING riffage, many great melodies and just perfectly, technically played performance of every Mercyless member. And finishing with top notch production, which is on that harsh death metal edge, but is yet clean and powerful, so when this album is played loud then everything really turns into ruin and shit.

The album may require a few spins, before you’ll fully be able to grasp it. But that’s only due to the enormous number of details, riffs and not so easy or typical song structures. Luckily a lot of the fragments are quite catchy and memorable, what helps and makes the whole experience not only easier, but also more pleasant. I like the diversity of this music and how Mercyless combines death metal aggression and viciousness with a progressive style of playing. The effect is truly amazing. And even if we can compare this band and “Coloured Funeral” to bands like Pestilence, Death, Burial (Holland), Morgoth or Gorguts, then they still have enough creativity and identity to have their own unique style and sound. And this is why I consider Mercyless to be such a unique and exceptional act.

As always I mention some standout tracks below, but to be honest, I feel like I could name every song from “Coloured Funeral”, because this is complete and from start to finish a very good album, which has no fillers at all. And as I said, if you dig progressive, but vicious and aggressive old school death metal, then do not waste time and buy the first two Mercyless albums. They’re classics! Oh, Mercyless reformed and after reunion they recorded another two pure death metal albums, which I also loved. At the moment this is my favourite death metal from France.

Standout tracks: “Forgotten Fragments”, “Travel Through a Strange Emotion”, “Serenades... (into Your Limbs)”, “Naked Forms”
Final rate: 90/100

Excellent and unfortunately forgotten death metal - 94%

Noktorn, April 27th, 2009

I would almost go as far as to say that this album is a forgotten classic of oldschool death metal; it requires a great deal of patience and multiple listens to fully grasp, but it's time well worth spending in order to enjoy 'Coloured Funeral' to the fullest possible degree. Mercyless on this album plays a highly abstract, verging on progressive form of death metal that reminds me substantially of a less doom-oriented form of My Dying Bride's first full-length album; it has that release's same sense of dismal and ethereal dissonance, but without the romantic underpinnings which gave that release such a confused mood. 'Coloured Funeral' is one of the more intricate releases of early '90s death metal, and it's a real shame that it doesn't receive more attention from those who claim to love oldschool death metal, as this is certainly a gem which could attract substantial love if given more exposure.

Vocally, this is greatly similar to Morbid Angel circa 'Covenant', with a similarly throaty and broad delivery, percussive without being excessively Mullenish, and helping substantially to contribute to the heaviness of an already fierce album. The drumwork is particularly notable; I detect a significant influence from Napalm Death in the rhythms and the particular viciousness with which they're played. Fast, tight, Suffocation-style hammer blasts riddle the album, contrasting with the more traditional skank and double bass bits and more experimental, cymbal-heavy sections. The rhythmic interplay established by the drums and vocals are a crucial aspect of the album- much more important than you'd generally think for death metal, which really has become substantially more riff-based as the genre has developed.

Which is not to say that the riffs here are unimportant; far from it. They simply work more closely in tandem (Morbid Angel-style) with the percussive section than usual. The riffs are an extremely mixed bag in style if not quality. Mercyless is not afraid to be ruthlessly atonal ala Deicide's 'Legion', but also willing to play with flanged clean guitar sections and some arpeggiated chord work from time to time. The result isn't absolutely 'proggy' in nature; the more abstract sections are only parts of the death metal, not the essence of the album, but they're certainly one of the major contributing elements as to what makes this release so unique. The opening riff on 'Spiral Of Flowers' tells you a lot more about this band than words ever could: that, well, spiraling and chaotic riff reminds me a lot of 'Breeding The Spawn' or other albums like it.

The closest and easiest comparison to make would probably be to 'The Erosion Of Sanity'-era Gorguts, with a similar sort of artistic bent, but this seems wholly more abstract and otherworldly than Gorguts ever was, even on 'Obscura'. 'Coloured Funeral' has a very unique atmosphere that I haven't quite heard replicated anywhere else, though bits of it shine through on occasion: some Meshuggah work, in particular, hits the same notes as this album, with tracks such as 'Sublevels' echoing a lot of the same themes as this release. The violent yet dispassionate, romantic yet disassociated mood of this release brings to mind slowly drowning in a multicolored sea or watching a sunset as nuclear missiles launch on the horizon; there's nothing like this album and I doubt there ever will be.

This is certainly a release which deserves a great deal more attention than it gets, and all the two-years-in 'oldschool death metal fans' should take note of what a real forgotten classic looks like: 'Coloured Funeral' is the sort of album which defined why oldschool death metal was unique and intelligent music. Highly recommended.

Premature swansong for a great band... - 95%

natrix, August 25th, 2004

Fuck!

This album is really great! If you haven't heard of Mercyless, and you love the likes of Morgoth, Pestilence, and Possessed (as far as the choppy riffing goes), then you've got to hear this one. Mercyless were actually doing something really creative and interesting on this album, while still maintaining a large degree of death metal's inherent ugliness.

Apparently, Colin Richardson produced this album, but it sounds a little rough, which at times works in its favor. The guitar tone is dirty, but distinguishable. Max Otero's vocals...ah, what a pleasure! Similar to Patrick Mameli's work on Testimony of the Ancients, but rougher and with a strange accent that renders the lyrics even more incomprehensible. So yes! It makes the album heavier and quite enjoyable, considering this is death metal.

I'll briefly go through my favorite tracks on here. "Mirrors of Melancholy" has a strange, dissonant riff, kind of doomy

"Travel Through a Strange Emotion" is killer, from start to finish. The beginning has a choppy, unsettling riff that eventually launches into a steady gallop. A clean guitar plays over the "chorus," before hitting another heavy patch. The leads in this song are killer--totally tripped out tapping and crazy note bending. One of the things that immediately comes to mind while listening to this song is how crazy the time changes are in Mercyless' music. Fuck! They do that a lot!

"Agrazabeth" is a nice little acoustic interlude before "Serenades," my favorite track of this album The main riff kind of reminds me of "Black Sabbath," but with double bass going the whole way. The mid section brigns to mind Seasons in the Abyss-era Slayer, especially the lead break which is pure Kerry King. Very tight time changes on this song as well, and great lyrics.

"Beyond God" is a bit similar to "Travel..." but begins with a tapped riff, before heading off into mid-paced gallopping.

What a shame this band took a huge shit and turned into a nu-metal/core band. This is a very promising release that was sadly the absolute pinnacle of their existance.