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Mercyless - The Mother of all Plagues

The Mother of all Plagues
by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 11 July 2020, 10:36 AM

MERCYLESS are a legendary old school death metal band from French.  They formed way back in 1987 and “The Mother Of All Plagues,” is their seventh full length album.  They have also released numerous EP s, splits, demos, and even a couple of live albums. Fast forward to 2020 and the band hasn’t slowed down with delivering their hyperblast of old school death metal.

After a forgettable intro, the album truly opens up with “Rival of the Nazarene.”  This track highlights all the elements that make this album such a solid blast.  The simple but effective song structures, riffs that are as heavy as they are catchy, and energetic death growls.  MAX’s vocals remind me somewhat of VADER because they are heavy, low, and a bit depraved but the inflection of the words is damn near perfect.  This song is mostly a rampaging monster but there are moments where the band shines through its own sound for some special and memorable moments, such as the melodic twists at the song’s end

I find the band is at their best when their sound mixes a variety of tempos, such as on “Banished From Heaven.”  The first minute and a half is crushing but then it slows down to a low crunch and a melodic guitar solo.  The very next moment is dark melodies intertwined with a decent solo and the rising action of the drums. “Bring Me His Head,” is as intense as its title would suggest.  The song’s groove grabs you early on and just repeatably slams your head into the ground.  As par for the course for much of the album, the guitar solos are rather clever and this one reaches maximum intensity just as the drums do.  The song’s middle part is subtle in its melodic backbone but fits in perfectly with everything around it.

The album’s production might be a bit too slick—I think a more raw, dirtier sound would make MERCYLESS sound even better but that quibble stands to the side against the very strong guitar tone.  “Laqueum Diaboli,” has thick, sweltering riffs that could be used as battering rams but they also give the song a menacing, dangerous vibe.  The guitar solo towards the end of the song is very clever, especially with how well it works with the riffs that seem to twist around it. “The Mother Of All Plagues,” is as well balanced as a title track should be and it is filled with many of the album’s best riffs and more intense passages. The first two minutes are pure fire and a nice contrast to the last half the song where the guitar really opens up.

MERCYLESS’ “The Mother Of All Plagues,” is a solid slab of old school death metal wrapped up in a modern package.  It doesn’t come close to their older albums but it is still an above average listening experience.

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 7
Memorability: 7
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

1. Infection
2. Rival of the Nazarene
3. Banished From Heaven
4. Bring Me His Head
5. Contagion
6. Laqueum Diaboli
7. Descending to Conquer
8. Inherit The Kingdom of Horus
9. The Mother of All Plagues
10. All Souls Are Mine
11. Litany of Supplication
Max Otero – Vocals, Guitars
Laurent Michalak – Drums
Gautier Merklen – Guitars
Record Label: Xenokorp


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