MERCILESS DEATH - Eternal Condemnation (THRASHING MADNESS - CD 2009)
Here are the old demons from Merciless Death! And no, I don’t mean the new American thrash metal band (which is actually not bad at all), but the old Polish thrash / death metal act, which destroyed many souls with their killer music in the 80’s and early 90’s. Certainly this is a band, which must be known to the followers of the old scene, as some of their recordings are truly superb. I personally like “Sick Sanctities” and “Holocaust” materials most, they are really amazing pieces. But there’s also one more recording, which is worth to get and listened to… and it is the debut demo of Merciless Death, which they have recorded in 1987, titled “Eternal Condemnation”! Honestly, I never had a chance to hear this old demo, it kind of was avoiding me for all these years… I used to have cassettes with “Sick Sanctities” and “Holocaust”, but never heard that damn debut! The better then that we have such label as Thrashing Madness, which specialises in exhuming many old, often totally unknown and impossible to find Polish metal artefacts. And “Eternal Condemnation” is one of those materials, which they’ve released on CD! And did so in cool way, with killer extended booklet, where you can find a detailed history of the band, many band photos, lyrics… Finally the CD version offers two versions of the demo – one with English and one with the Polish lyrics and as a bonus also five songs, which were recorded during Merciless Death performance at the famous Jarocin Fest in 1988! Ha, what a cool addition!
And sure, sound quality here is not the best and it will be something that the youngsters, so used to polished and crystal clean productions, will abhor. For them it will all sound like noise and chaos… And OK, especially that live recording sounds like a bad bootleg, with a lot of distortion, hardly listenable guitar riffs and drums, etc… but such recordings really have its charm and are a nice memorabilia from these very old days, when the world (not just music world, but the world in general…) was so different. And besides, remember that Poland back in those days was still deep in the arse of the communistic regime, but it is amazing that despite this the country managed to spawn such bands like Merciless Death, Vader, Imperator and Dragon, which were crushing the skulls with some relentless, obscure sounds.
As for the demo, “Eternal Condemnation” sounds more like the ancient, archaic, evil thrash metal mayhem than their future more death / thrash oriented recordings. There’s obviously a lot of influence from the US masters like Dark Angel, Possessed and Slayer, blended with a crucial German thrash metal obscurity… And Venom! But the riffs are sharp as a razor, the vocals are harsh and the whole demo is just damn aggressive! The sound quality is typical for the old demos, really, so it is poor, raw and primitive, almost like a rehearsal – and maybe it even is a rehearsal? But what the hell! It’s been 27 years since recording of “Eternal Condemnation”, what can you expect? Most important is that the songs are really cool! Sure, they may sometimes sound infantile, basic and archaic, but that is the charm of those times. And besides, I bet that with a better production, these songs would be even better.
Finally I must say that Thrashing Madness did awesome job, when releasing the CD, and I especially liked to read the biography of Merciless Death, which presents the early days of the band in details, along with many surprising and interesting facts. And the collection of old, archival photographs is also fantastic. Nothing else I need from such re-releases. Definitely a very recommended CD then, even if – as I mentioned – from the musical point of view I prefer such “Holocaust” more… but I suppose the best thing to do it is to collect all three CDs with old Merciless Death recordings. Some are even available in vinyl format!Final rate: 70/100