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Mercyless – Sovereign Evil

Sovereign Evil
by Thomas Kumke at 22 December 2020, 9:03 PM

MERCYLESS hailing from Mulhouse, France were formed in 1987. They were active until 2001 and restarted in 2011. Max Otero is the only founding member left in the current line-up. MERCYLESS are an old school Death and Thrash Metal band and during their career they have released seven full-length albums, two live albums as well as several EPs and compilations. “Sovereign Evil” was released via French label XenoKorb which are specialized in Death, Doom, and Thrash Metal. The EP has a length of almost 15 minutes.

Their latest full-length album “The mother of all plagues” was only released in summer 2020 and all four tracks were part of the collector edition already. Now, MERCYLESS rereleased those tracks as a cover EP. For those who are interested in checking out MERCYLESS, I added the video release of “Laqueum Diaboli” from their latest album with the YouTube link below.

It is not so easy with covers. They are often fun to listen and they are surely fun to play. On the other hand, the choice of covers is important as well as the way how the covers are arranged and interpreted. MERCYLESS selected four classics that were influential for a whole generation of Metal bands and also Death Metal bands. Would Death Metal exist as we know it today without HELLHAMMER, POSSESSED or VENOM? Possibly not. And what about the impact of MOTÖRHEAD on the whole Metal world? Given that, the choice reflects the band’s own roots and they selected them to honor those all-time greats.

Song selection is also not an easy thing, I felt, MERCYLESS choice was arguably a good one. “The Third Of The Storms” by HELLHAMMER may not have been the most obvious choice, but it reflects the HELLHAMMER style. The same holds true for “In League With Satan” by VENOM which is one of the very early classics and is still part of every VENOM setlist. MERCYLESS went for “The Exorcist” by POSSESSED which is for me at least an obvious choice, since it is one of the classics from the “Seven Churches” album. Finally, they selected with “Go To Hell” one of the early MOTÖRHEAD classics from the “Ace Of Spades” album. A lot of bands have covered MOTÖRHEAD, but this song has probably rarely been covered.

I like the interpretation of all four covers. MERCYLESS have not played them in a Death Metal style. No screams, no growls. All songs sound very authentic. “The Third Of The Storms” starts with the trademark Tom WarriorUrgh”, and the sound of all four covers but especially “In League With Satan” and “Go To Hell” were played very closely to the originals with the addition of a bit of heaviness here and there. The production also maintains the rawness of the original sound. “Sovereign Evil” will be a treat for Metal fans who want to travel back in time to arguably the most innovative and successful period in Metal.

Arrangement:  9
Musicianship:  8
Memorability:  8
Production:  8

4 Star Rating

1. The Third Of The Storms (HELLHAMMER cover)
2. In League With Satan (VENOM cover)
3. The Exorcist (POSSESSED cover)
4. Go To Hell (MOTÖRHEAD cover)
Max Otero – Vocals, Guitars
Gautier Merklen – Guitars
Laurent Michalak – Drums
Yann Tligiu – Bass
Record Label: XenoKorp


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