Among the genuine originators of the mid-80's French Extreme Metal scene, only a few managed to truly export their unholy art, gain recognition from the worldwide underground, and continue their musical journey for 25-30 years after their inception. LOUDBLAST, AGRESSOR, SUPURATION, MERCYLESS, and PUTRID OFFAL are some notable names in this category.
Formed in 1987, MERCYLESS released their cult debut album, "Abject Offerings," in 1992. The album was produced by world-class producer Colin Richardson (known for his work with Carcass, Machine Head, Napalm Death, etc.) under UK's Vinyl Solution / World in Flames. Prior to this album, the band had released three demos and an EP titled "Immortal Harmonies," "Visions from the Past," and "Vomiting Nausea" from 1988 to 1990. MERCYLESS also played numerous gigs across Europe, and their debut album, with its trademark riffing and vocal style, coupled with a brutal yet crystal-clear production, earned them well-deserved worldwide recognition.
Following this success, "Coloured Funeral" was released in 1993, again produced by Colin Richardson, this time through Century Media. The album was supported by tours with DEATH and ANACRUSIS, as well as another one with MORGOTH, UNLEASHED, TIAMAT, and SAMAEL. MERCYLESS shared the stage with several renowned bands like CANNIBAL CORPSE, OBITUARY, ASPHYX, HYPOCRISY, LOUDBLAST, AGRESSOR, SUP, DESULTORY, MASSACRA, and more. Both albums, along with MERCYLESS as a whole, are still regarded as some of the most cult Death Metal releases of the early nineties.
In the subsequent years, MERCYLESS released two more albums: "C.O.L.D." in 1996 and "Sure to Be Pure" in 2000, both through Germany's Impact / System Shock (the latter was a posthumous release). These albums showcased a more progressive and cold Thrash / Death style before the band disbanded in 1998 after a final Spanish tour.
MERCYLESS rose from the grave in 2011 and began re-releasing their back-catalog, including "In Memory of Agrazabeth," a compilation of demos and rarities in 2011, and "Visions from the Past, Live 1989," an official bootleg in 2012. They then entered the studio to record their comeback (fifth) full-length, "Unholy Black Splendor," produced by Dan Swanö (known for his work with ASPHYX, OPETH, DISSECTION, etc.), which was released in 2013. They also collaborated on a split EP titled "Blast from the Past" with the resurrected French act CRUSHER in 2015. The band embarked on European tours with fellow French veterans LOUDBLAST, CATACOMB, and NO RETURN.
In 2016, MERCYLESS signed with Kaotoxin (now XENOKORP) and entered the studios of Psykron (PUTRID OFFAL) and Conkrete (known for remasters of OTARGOS and ANATA) to record their sixth studio full-length, "Pathetic Divinity." Preceded by a free digital single titled "Altered Divination" in June 2016, the album was released in October 2016, marking a year full of celebrations for the band's 30th anniversary. The album was followed by European tours with PUTRID OFFAL, LOUDBLAST, and AVULSED, and shows with GRAVE, OBITUARY, RITUALIZATION, BEHEADED, THE MONOLITH DEATH CULT, FLESHCRAWL, and others.
In 2017, the band underwent a change in bassist, with Yan Tligui replacing Matthieu Merklen. The group continued working on new material for their next album, which they entered the studio for in June 2019. Titled "The Mother of All Plagues," the album was mixed and mastered by HK Krauss at Vamacara Studio (known for work with Loudblast, Sinsaneum, etc.) and featured cover art by Mexican artist Nestor Avalos (known for work with Bloodbath, Dark Funeral, etc.). This new album showcased a darker, more violent, vicious, and brutal sound, staying true to their uncompromising style. "The Mother of All Plagues" was released in August 2020, receiving positive feedback through magazines, fanzines, radios, and more. The band embarked on gigs, festivals, and tours to support and promote this new offering.
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