|Review: Commandment - No Mercy|
Label: Pure Steel Records
Year released: 2010
Genre: Heavy Metal
Review online: April 20, 2010
Reviewed by: MetalMike
Rated 2.75/5 (55%) (4 Votes)
Normally, I really like old school Heavy Metal, especially with "retro" production values and that NWOBHM we've-got-more-desire-than-actual-talent sound. I have to admit, No Mercy from the U.S.'s Commandment, really tested me. No Mercy consists of songs originally recorded in the late 80's and honestly, they don't stand up at all today. The bulk of the album was apparently only roughly recorded and mixed and never properly finished. The suspect production aside, that doesn't make up for the songs, which are dull, and the performances, which are lackluster.
Residing somewhere between Omen-styled U.S. Metal and more modern Power Metal like Iron Fire (thanks to the late lead singer Dave Nava's incessant shrill screaming), Commandment flounder about on No Mercy like a fish out of water. There are no memorable tracks, even after multiple listens. The guitars are buried in a muddy morass of fuzzy reverb. The solos are not much more than repeated toodle-oodle-oodles up and down the fret board. They all sound quite similar and the result is that none do much more than break up the songs into "before" and "after" parts. They do give a brief respite from the vocal shrieking, however, so thumbs up for that. The bass is quite clear, interestingly enough. Perhaps bassist Kevin Clayton snuck into the studio after hours and did some "fine tuning" on the mix.
Now the first 9 tracks are not great, but, for some reason, the band has included 5 "hidden tracks" as a bonus. If it weren't for these 5 songs, No Mercy would be just another forgettable release, but these songs are so poorly recorded and produced, they actually made me angry. Whether recorded at some live show or perhaps a practice space, they sound as if they were recorded on someone's boom box. The tape hiss is omnipresent throughout and the band sounds as if they are underwater. These songs hurt my head. Why are they here? Bonus tracks are supposed to be a bonus, not a white elephant that negatively impacts the value of the album.
Unless you are a sucker for raw, under-produced 80s Heavy Metal, Commandment's No Mercy can safely be avoided. Hopefully the new material the band is working on will get the full studio treatment.
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