Review 238 : Mercyless – The Mother of All Plagues – English

France isn’t the last one about cult bands, and Mercyless is a living proof.

Founded in 1987 under the name of Merciless by Max Otero (guitar/vocals, Undead Prophecies), the band takes its actual name in 1991. Despite line-up changes and a break between 2001 and 2011, the band is still alive. Nowadays composed of its founder as well as Matthieu Merklen (bass, Obszön Geschöpf), Laurent Michalak (drums, Affliction Gate) and Gautier Merklen (guitar, ex-Akthesis, ex-Dehumanize), they release now their seventh full-length.

After Infection, the introductive sample, it’s a Death/Thrash sample that begins. The band reigned over the French scene, and they’re determined to make us understand it. Old School riffs strike hard, with saturated howlings from beyond the grave that reminds us the band’s beginning. Sharp harmonics, piercing riffs, heavy and greasy rhythmic, spiteful vocals… nothing is missing. The french band literally smashes us, mainly thanks to Rival of the Nazarene and Banished From Heaven, the two firsts tracks that doesn’t leave the instrument’s mastery aside. We find the old school effectiveness on Bring me his Head, a massive song that highlights blast beat and brutal riffs without hiding some catchy lead guitar parts.
We resume with Contagion, a fast instrumental and harrowing song that launches us on Laqueum Diaboli. The song smells Old School rhythm parts, effective riffs and sharp leads, as well as a solo signed by Stéphane Viard (ex-Mercyless), as well as Descending To Conquer, a fast-pacing track. Blast beat, heavy rhythmic and backing vocals are on the bill, just like on Inherit the Kingdom of Horus. With a foot in mythology, the band develops its Death Metal as it is in their blood since their youth, and it sounds obvious. The Mother of All Plagues, the eponymous track, is the more Old School sounding in my opinion. Between greasy howls, bloody riffs and an impressive rhythmic basis, it’s an interesting one! Then the band adds a solo made by Florent Santina (Abyssal Ascendant). We continue with All Souls Are Mine, a massive track that cleverly melts fastness and catchy riffs for a mixing that calls for headbanging, and will shred bones thanks to the guest appearance of Michel Dumas (Agressor) and Anthony Derycke (Catacomb). Last song, Litany of Supplication will please to the firsts records lovers with those undead howlings since the very beginning. But the ones that need a mosh pit will also love it due to a solid rhythmic.

Mercyless’ reputation isn’t fake, because The Mother of All plagues is a full-length that melts Old School and legend. The band is amongst french pioneers, and it is however at the top of its shape. The mix allows nostalgic fans to be young again, as well as it allows newcomers to discover their universe.


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