MERCYLESS - Abject Offerings (GREAT DANE Records - CD 2014)
I guess I should start with some history facts first… Back in the early 90’s, like most of the Polish metal fans, I was buying / trading all these pirate Polish cassettes from “labels” like MG or Takt. They were releasing many great foreign death or thrash metal albums, not only from big bands like Slayer, Metallica or Morbid Angel, but also a lot of smaller, more underground stuff. Oh, I remember having so many killer, now classic, albums on these pirate tapes… like for example Torchure and “Beyond the Veil“, Acheron and “Rites of the Black Mass”, No Return with “Contamination Rises” or Baphomet “The Dead Shall Inherit”… Just to mention few, as there were more! And one of them was also Mercyless and “Abject Offerings” album. I don’t remember where I got this cassette from; I never read any interviews with this band, I don’t think anyone recommended them to me, so I guess I just got this tape, because I liked the artwork and maybe I got someone in the shop to play it to me… And such death / thrash metal sounds were my favourite thing back then, so I probably could not resist. Oh, this turned out to be truly a killer band and amazing album! Years later I also got a CD version of “Abject Offerings” and I still consider Mercyless to be one of the most underrated and killer European bands. This album is just so damn good. I don’t know why they were not as lucky as some other bands, but maybe it has something to do with the fact that really Mercyless did only two great albums (“Abject Offerings” and “Coloured Funeral”) and later, when death metal stopped being so popular they did just poor recordings and soon split up, never breaking through into the first death / thrash metal league. I come back to “Abject Offerings” quite often and recently I had one more opportunity, as Max Otero (guitarist / vocalist) sent me over a newest version of the album, released in 2014 by Great Dane Records. It is then a killer opportunity to remind or recommend this awesome band and their classic debut, more so also because it is now easy to find in distros around, so maybe you’ll have a chance to get it and listen to some of the best French death / thrash along with Massacra!
But let me just say first that this new digipack version does look quite poor in my opinion and the layout is rather disappointing. It’s just a simple fold out digipack, with no booklet, which would contain the lyrics or some archive material… So, all you’ll find here is the artwork – which by the way has also been changed (but it stays in the same style as the original artwork) and one band photo. What a shame that they did not take more care of this release! Even my original CD looks better, as it has quite few band photos and all lyrics! So, this 2014 re-release is disappointing from the visual side… Luckily the music still sounds damn awesome and it’s the only reason why it is so worth getting! Yes, this album didn’t grow old at all!
“Abject Offerings” is just pure, classic thrashing death metal, so typical for the early 90’s. Imagine a mixture of bands like Pestilence, Massacra, Death, Possessed, Morgoth, Burial (Holland), Torchure, Cancer and so on… This is really nice, technical, but intense and aggressive material, with quite few faster, but also some slower songs… all in all, very diverse, technical, but maybe not too complex, but really memorable, sometimes even slightly melodic death / thrash in the old school vein. I really like the riffs here, as they’re aggressive, but also memorable, with some truly awesome parts or guitar solos and really nice arrangements. There are so many details, all these nicely arranged parts that the album really makes a stunning impression. And more so, this album did not grow old after all these years. It still sounds so damn fresh and spotless really, better than many other albums from the same time. And that is something remarkable. And it only proves the highest quality of this album and that it’s just one of these special, classic death metal records from the old days, which are just a must to have for all fans.
So, I am disappointed that “Abject Offerings” is so rarely mentioned among the best European death metal records from the early 90’s, I hope that this reissue will bring some more credit to Mercyless. This digipack, despite its poor presentation, is truly must to have, also a new vinyl version is coming, so… what else can I do, than once again recommend “Abject Offerings”? Fantastic album. Also, check out Mercyless’ come back record “Unholy Black Splendor”, which is also a fantastic, killer stuff!
Standout tracks: “Abject Offerings”, “Substance of Purity”, “Without Christ”
Final rate: 90/100