Abject Offering

After the success of Death, notably Leprosy and Spiritual Healing, a number of European clones also became successful in the early ’90s. England had Cancer, Germany had Morgoth, The Netherlands had Pestilence and Asphyx, but France’s scene lagged behind a bit comparatively speaking, really only offering MassacraLoudblast and Agressor until Mercyless entered the fray in pretty spectacular fashion in 1992 with their debut album Abject Offerings.

Of course coming in 1992, the Death sound had progressed from Leprosy and Spiritual Healing as Human had been released in 1991, and Mercyless‘s slightly more more complex take on gravelly death metal reflected that development, but still was unmistakably Death based, like the aforementioned peers, but with just a bit of their own more thrash and technical elements. The end result is a damn solid, and at the time, rather underrated album, even though the same US label Restless Records released Cancer‘s first three albums, which garnered fair international acclaim, despite being even more of a Death rip-off. Regardless, Abject Offerings was and, twenty years later, still is a fine album.

Starting with the standard ’90s keyboard intro “Nyarlathotep” the album delivers 33 minutes of classic death metal. Of course rooted in Death, but vocalist/guitarist Max Otero was obviously a big fan of Obituary and John Tardy having some impressive gargles and growls as well as a few of the riffs. But as was the real signature of death metal’s glory days, it was about great songs and memorable hooks intertwined with the then still ever shifting, primal brutality. And truth be told, I actually forgot how good this album was at the time amid all of the legendary Swedish and US death metal coming out at the time, which along with being French, was another reason it was overlooked back then (the irony is that I actually ordered this back in 1992 from a UK mail order site thinking I was ordering the Swedish Merciless). Especially when I hear the likes of “A Message for All Those Who Died”, “Substance of Purity”, “Without Christ” and personal favorite “Burned at the Stake” the album instantly comes flooding back. I don’t think we’ll be able to say that about many millennial death metal releases in 20 years.

Reissue wise there’s new artwork, some linear notes and a louder bigger/beefier remaster (thought the original Colin Richardson production was fine), nothing too ground breaking, but the music speaks for itself, though material from the band’s previous three demos would have been nice (unless I am missing something from the digital promo I received).

Mercyless followed Abject Offerings up with the even better Colored Funeral, (which I also hope gets reissued as I once owned both) but kind of shit the bed after that getting more experimental and less death metal with two subsequent albums (I have not heard the band’s 2013 comeback effort Unholy Black Splendour, though a quick YouTube listen seems to indicate a seeming return to form). But with Abject Offerings holding up so well over 20 years later, that’s a testament to the quality of this album and the band.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
December 16th, 2014


  1. Commented by: Cirkus-lizard

    Colored Funeral rules. One of my favorites from that era. Although I own this one, I never really got into it. I shall queue this one up today. Thanks for the reminder.

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