The UK needs more thrash and death metal and it’s a simple fact that Merciless Terror are bringing it with raw power. 2013 has been a great year for the old school thrash/death group from the Midlands, including a successful set playing the New Blood stage at Bloodstock 2013, along with touring the UK and Germany. Their début Vile Extinction has got to be one of the greatest metal albums released in 2013; combining thrashing drums, death metal guitars and brutal vocals, it has something for everyone, even including a little black metal to spice it up a bit. The album, released on 7th October, has already had strong positive feedback.
Intro track “Omicide” evokes a black metal/doom feel, very close to Mayhem’s style. The drums are what makes this track special: they bring up the hairs on the back of your neck, and you feel the anticipation to hear the rest of the album becoming just too much to bear. As soon as “Doctrine of Malevolence” starts, you automatically want to be in a wall of death. You have 8 seconds of a thrash riff before the brutal low vocals begin to take hold, and you realise this is pure anger you are listening to. Sadly the vocals are hard to make sense of, but very brutal nonetheless.
If “Circle of Contempt” were in a competition to see which track had the fastest drums, then it would be a strong contender. Everything is fast-paced, loud and rough, just how thrash is meant to be, only with death metal vocals. The riffs just before the breakdowns really epitomise much of what the album is about: impending doom. The lyrics in particular focus on the damnation of humanity, speaking of how the human race will be eradicated.
It soon becomes clear that “Enraptured” is a very weak track, as the only thing that stands out is the guitar solo 58 seconds in; everything else in the song just seems very plain. Conversely, “Baptized in Blood” makes up for what the former lacked, really showing the range of vocalist Dale Linsdell. The spoken word at 1:34 really gives the track a certain edge. The line “Standing alone at no man’s land” actually makes you feel like you’re stuck on your own whilst damnation occurs around you.
A track opening with a whirr of guitar is always sure to be a hit, and “Hateful Abomination” is the best song on the album, with a mixed range of vocals, rolling drum fills and death metal guitar riffs. Dale’s opening roars really set it off, inducing a desire to simultaneously headbang and punch someone in the face. “Hateful Abomination” is original and fresh, but you can feel also the influence of other bands such as Cannibal Corpse and Deicide at the same time.
“BLEUGH!” is the universal sound for a great track to begin, and such is the case for “Process Of Eradication”, a mostly melodic track but still brutally heavy. Luke Tasker’s guitar playing in said track takes centre stage along with Dale’s howls. The song, full of the death metal-required blastbeats, makes you feel pumped up and ready for anything the band can throw at you. In contrast, “World Desolation” is a disappointment after two tracks of brutal death metal. The guitar solo at 2.18 is the only thing that makes it a competent track, after the solo the song becomes quite boring. If it still had the raw energy and originality of previous songs then it could have stood out.
Speed-death metal is how “Imminent Death” would be described, if it had to be pigeon-holed into a genre. The song opens up with fast vocals, even sounding like they have two separate vocalists at some parts. The song is only 2 minutes long but it sure packs a punch to wake you up. On a calmer note, “Dystopic Visions” is a gentle instrumental track, consisting mostly of acoustic guitars but with an astonishing guitar solo that gives a eerie atmosphere to the song. This would have been a more appropriate intro to the album, with “Omnicide” better suited as a penultimate track.
Closing number “Existence Denied” has a heavy thrash influence, with higher-pitched vocals that are slightly reminiscent of Mayhem in their long high screams. With grindcore-influenced drumming to boot, this is the ultimate wind milling track. Another great solo from Luke brings in originality and a feeling of imminent doom approaching. What makes this song particularly good is that it has a little bit of everything, but there is also room for improvement.
Mark my words, Merciless Terror are going to be huge within the next 3 years. They will be playing major festivals and bringing out some amazing albums. Death metal is where their hearts lies, and every member possesses obvious talent; you can feel the passion in every blastbeat. Every album has its weak points but the stronger tracks always make up for it, and here is no exception. Vile Extinction is the heaviest soundtrack to the abomination of humanity. When the world ends, this will be playing over loud speakers in towns and cities.