Merciless Reign
Haunting the Aftermath

This four-piece Ohio band is comprised of Chris Krucker on drums, Billy Paxton on guitars/vocals, David Almendinger on guitars and my man Arn Argenio on bass.  Merciless Reign released their debut, Catharsis Through Chaos in 2014and it kind of went under the radar.  Now the band is releasing their second album, Haunting the Aftermath which while having thrash metal tendencies, is geared more towards death metal and I even noticed a bit of some black metal melodies and vocals in certain parts.  But overall this is some brutal death metal played and recorded in true organic style, right outta the early 90’s.  Catchy, heavy, fast and the band is not afraid to slow things down either and let the riffs permeate for a bit, while Arn lets loose with his bass work rumble, creating quite a bit of bottom heaviness (Napalm Death are one of his fave bands-btw).

After “The Merciless Beginning” intro, things get quite filthy and nasty with “The Wraith of Time”.  Excellent drums in the beginning filled with a classic early 90’s beat before going into a nice little ditty of a blast beat.  Excellent guitar melodies and gruff, deep vocals which I can understand.  Then Billy lets out some higher pitched vocals.  There is a pretty killer stop-start slow-down pretty early on which made me launch cars across the globe, knocking alien spacecraft out of the galaxy.  Nice guitar pinch harmonics and guitar slides.  Nice monster slow-downs with screams across the double bass.

“Refuge in Refuse” is next, going right to the jugular with the opening blast beats.  Pretty unrelenting.  I love “Revel in Rot”.  Classic opening and the pinch harmonics are just squealing all over the place to go along with the pig adorning the album cover.  Killer double bass and nice mid-paced section.  Nice guitar solos to boot.  “Immolate” sees Merciless Reign flex a little of their melodic side.  With a melodic and epic opening.  The track takes us to a mid-paced meandering with some excellent guitar riffing and more melodic tendencies with ethereal solos that are dream-like in their approach.  The rest of the songs (13 total) are all quite awesome.  “Throne of Misery” is pretty frickin’ heavy, monster riffs and nice bass underbelly swatting your head clean off your pathetic shoulders.

Merciless Reign’s Haunting the Aftermath caught me off guard.  I’ve known Arn for over 20 years, when he was first in Drogheda and he welcomed me into the death metal community when I joined Internal Bleeding in ’94 and he has continued to play in other bands and Merciless Reign are pretty special.  I want true organic death metal.  When someone hears that they may think the production is rough-but it is not.  While remaining organic, all instrumentation is mixed perfectly and nothing overtaking the other.  The guitar tones are amazing, as is the bass playing and drum work.  I enjoy understanding the vocals, as well.

The cd is pretty bare, with just the front insert, no lyrics.  This is manufactured on a cd-r, so you know they are not as durable as a standard silver-back cd.  However this is through a label that is relatively new and more and more labels are going the cd-r route, it seems.  I gotta say, I love that I can remember these songs, the riffs and of course the chorus on “King of Corpses” is damn killer.  Go and like the band’s Facebook page and order their cd and shirt.  If they come to play near you, please go see them and support the band.  Even tell them they put on a good show (they just opened for Napalm Death).  Haunting the Aftermath from Merciless Reign is a buy or die and one of this year’s best underground death metal releases!

 

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Frank Rini
September 6th, 2018

Comments

  1. Commented by: loftcomplication

    I listened to this through three times yesterday. Those Riffs…my god! I even used it on my tempo run and it was just what I needed.

    I’d venture to say those first 6 songs after the intro are the strongest on the album. Not to say the rest are bad by any means but those first songs just set the tone and riiiiip.

    Theres enough variety to satiate a lot of DM fans to I feel those high vocals mixed with the lows on some tracks in spots sound visceral as fuck. I love the production as well fits the songs perfectly gives enough punch when it needs to and makes the record sound better with less I guess.

    Thanks for the review! This will be in heavy rotation!


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