Merciless Death
"Realm of Terror"

(Heavy Artillery 2008)Merciless Death - Realm of Terror

If nothing else, Merciless Death have the thrash aesthetic down pat. They've got a wicked album cover courtesy of veteran metal artist Andreas Marschall. Their liner notes are riddled with photos of the band sporting their leathers, vintage tees, and white high-tops. Their music, too, is everything thrash should be. "Realm of Terror" is powered by ultrafast guitar abuse, punctuated by solos that cut like a shattered piece of glass in the jugular. If you feel a "but" coming, that's because…

Although all of the ingredients needed for a killer thrash album are there, "Realm of Terror" is just…missing something. From the time the title track opens up with its diabolical picking, Merciless Death rip through a half hour without really doing much to distinguish one song from the next. Consistent to a fault, they blow away even the pretense of variation with a barrage of furious riffage. Exacerbating the problem is the vocal styling of bassist Andy Torres. Not the most dynamic singer to begin with, he has a knack for slurring every monotone word together, making for vocal lines that sound something like "Dispososa Mercy!/Walibacosoo Decree!" This is a shame, because there are some cool lyrics about Conan and Cthulhu buried in there.

"Realm of Terror" may be one single flavor of thrash, but at least it's not uniformly shitty. Merciless Death know how to write solid headbanging tunes, play the hell out of those tunes, and seem to genuinely have fun doing it. They just need to let someone else handle the vox and inject some creativity into their songwriting. Because music is kinda like sex; both can get stale if you don't throw in some variety every once in a while. Just ask married people.

B-

buy it!