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Merciless Death - "Realm of Terror" (CD)

Merciless Death - "Realm of Terror" CD cover image

"Realm of Terror" track listing:

1. The Abyss (0:59)
2. Realm of Terror (2:56)
3. Evil Darkness (2:30)
4. Tombs of the Dead (2:57)
5. Death Warriors (3:13)
6. Cult of Doom (3:12)
7. Tormented Fate (3:56)
8. Fall to the Pentagram (1:07)
9. The Gate (3:17)
10. Summoning of the Ancient Ones (4:01)

Reviewed by on August 16, 2008

"High energy, 80's inspired thrash metal is what 'Realm of Terror' delivers"

Formed in 2003, the thrash trio Merciless Death is amongst the many and still growing number of 80's inspired modern thrash bands. Following a solid debut (2006's "Evil in the Night"), Merciless Death's sophomore effort, "Realm of Terror," shows that this band is dedicated to only one purpose - no non-sense thrash metal.

The primary lyrical themes of “Realm of Terror” are war, death and hell. The lyrics, though typical, are fun in a brutally evil sort of way, and fully metal and sure to offend someone somewhere.

Musically, little advancement has been made in comparison to "Evil in the Night." High energy, 80's inspired thrash metal is what "Realm of Terror" also delivers, but with seemingly no differentiation from their debut. There are many quality riffs and head banging moments, but few of them stay with you after listening to them. The guitar solos are very Slayer-inspired, as all of them are up tempo shred fests with no apparent compositional direction other than sheer speed. They're fun to listen and “play” air guitar to, but the solos gradually lose value and the listener’s attention with each song.

Another downside is the production. There has been virtually no improvement at all from "Evil in the Night." Though I admire the anti-professionally produced spirit, too poor of production takes away from the music. At times the rhythm guitar and bass are indecipherable noise. The overall guitar tone isn’t very good either, and there are also tempo issues with the vocals, rhythm guitar and drums briefly shifting out of sync.

One improvement from "Evil in the Night" is the delivery of bassist/vocalist Andy Torres' vocals. It is more gruff and deeper and sounds much more natural than his Paul Baloff-esque shouts as heard on "Evil in the Night." The brief 59 second intro instrumental, “The Abyss,” is also kicks off the album nicely.

Overall, “Realm of Terror” is a pretty good album. However it isn't anything ground breaking or original and has some flaws one can’t ignore. I enjoy listening to Merciless Death and respect where their hearts are, but I anticipate better production and further musical progression on their next album.

Highs: In your face, no bullshit thrash metal.

Lows: Poor guitar tone and fairly run of the mill.

Bottom line: Recommended for fans of Slayer, Exodus and modern thrash metal.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)