GHOST - The Lost of Mercy (THRASHING MADNESS - CD 2014)
I’ve noticed that in the last month I actually wrote more reviews of old, re-released demos / albums than the reviews of new bands and their recent recordings. But I am not complaining, as it’s always great to remind some classic shit, especially if it comes from lesser known, sometimes criminally underestimated bands, whose old CDs are as easy and cheap to buy as gold. I am happy that the re-issue frenzy has also reached some old Polish bands and recently I was mainly reviewing the stuff, which Thrashing Madness was releasing, such as Merciless Death, Silence, Armagedon, Nightmare, Lastwar… and now it’s time for another Polish classic death metal release, which is Ghost and their only full length album “The Lost of Mercy”! It’s really worthy reissue, because the original CD pressing of this album costs as much as Hazael’s “Thor” but is even more difficult to find. And I am not a kind of person, who would spend half of his monthly wages on a CD! So, in my opinion this is just excellent that “The Lost of Mercy” has been reissued. Thrashing Madness as always delivers a good quality CD, with fat booklet (which hardly fits the jewel case, so thick it is hehe!) – and in the booklet you’ll find a second part of Ghost history (first part shall be introduced on the demo compilation CD!), some liner notes from the band members and people, who knew the band back in the old days… finally there are some photos, lyrics… And most importantly, the CD contains several bonus tracks, of which the most significant is the 1998 demo “Renown”, which I have never heard of before – I seriously thought that Ghost split up right after releasing “The Lost of Mercy” and never recorded anything else… until now! – and four live recordings from various gigs. In total you’ll get 17 tracks, over an hour of old school death metal!
Now, starting with “The Lost of Mercy”… I think I haven’t listened to this album for well over decade now. My cassette has vanished with all other old tapes I had and obviously I could never afford to buy the CD. But I still remember the whole album very well, every song is in my head. But I listen to the album with great pleasure. Ghost nowadays would simply be called old school to the bone death metal, very much influenced by such bands as Obituary, Bolt Thrower, “Leprosy” era Death, Massacre, Cancer, Disincarnate, even Asphyx in some parts. When compared to such Armagedon, it is obvious that Ghost were more brutal, with more massive and heavy sound and riffs… But the materials stands out with some great arrangements, great variety of riffing – with some slow, simple, but damn heavy parts coming next to some fast stuff and with some truly awesome lead guitar parts; oh, just listen to “Cross of Stone”, which is just excellent track, offering everything what I just mentioned, including some leads, which even James Murphy would be happy with! I even think that Murphy’s Disincarnate is the closest band I can compare Ghost with! Disincarnate and maybe also Polish Trauma (from their “Invisible Reality” demo days)!
I do admit that maybe not all songs from “The Lost of Mercy” are top notch – such “Extreme Reality” and “The Day After” for instance are quite mediocre, sometimes they tend to become a little monotonous and coarse, especially if the vocals seem to growl in the same manner all the time. But it is very minor detail, surely one which doesn’t spoil the listening and I still think that “The Lost of Mercy” is more than just solid and great album. There are many pearls there, with the previously mentioned “Cross of Stone” in the first row; then there’re such killer tracks as “Alien”, “Flag of Shadow Master”, “Bestial Rites”… “The Lost of Mercy” contains also three I think re-recorded songs from also well remembered “Bad Obsession” demo (which I think was my very first demo tape I ever bought in my life!!!!!), of which especially “Morbid Game” sticks out with some excellent riffs. Oh, I really like this song a lot; it is fairly unchanged when compared to the demo version, only small arrangement changes I think and it just sounds better and heavier than before. “King of Darkness” also sounds powerful and belongs to the most brutal tracks of Ghost.
Finally there’s “Renown” demo, which I was so curious about… and damn, I think I like it even more than the album! Maybe it’s because “The Lost of Mercy” has this tendency to bore in few moments, while “Renown” are just three songs and there’s no time for monotony? I don’t know, but I guess it’s just the fact that these songs are simply better – heavier, but also more straight forward, better written, with some truly crushing riffs and even some Bolt Thrower-esque melodies… Anyway, the result is very good! Also the production is not bad at all; it may not be as clean as the albums’, but that works for the better I suppose, as it seems to be rougher but more deadly. “Just Say No!”, but especially “Freedom Calls” are truly great songs, so I recommend you listening to them. Finally there’re also four live songs, recorded in 1993-94 and I must say they sound not bad at all. Just listen to “Morbid Game” recorded at Jarocin festival 1993 – it sounds really brutal and powerful!
So, I must write it again – finally I have “The Lost of Mercy” on CD!!! This reissue is simply awesome, also for the “Renown” demo, so even if you already have the first press CD you better also get this reissue, so you’ll listen to some more music from Ghost. Very, very recommended! So, we had Hazael, Armagedon and Ghost reissues among others… now I am waiting for someone to put out Betrayer, Violent Dirge, Schismatic, Necrobiosis recordings. And probably some more bands I forgot now to mention!
Standout tracks: “Alien”, “Cross of Stone”, “Morbid Game”, “King of Darkness”, “Freedom Calls”
Final rate: 80/100