Review Summary: This album perfecly blends sonic agression with precise intricacy and control. A huge improvement over the debut, and never really surpassed by the band.2 of 2 thought this review was well written
Sweden is well known for having some of the best death and thrash metal bands in existence. It seems rather strange that one of the very best bands to came from Sweden, is very unknown to the vast majority of fans in these genres. Merciless was a band that had surpassed so many others in terms of aggression. From 1989-1992, there were very few in the death/thrash subgenre that could compete with this band, besides Germany's Protector, and the highly underrated band Incubus (now Oprobrium). Their raw and brutal debut is one of the most intense albums from the 80's (it was actually recorded in '89, but released in 1990), and in a similar fashion to Incubus featured thrash beats played at almost blast-beat tempos. Their worthy follow-up, The Treasures Within, features a similar amount of aggression, now with better musicianship and much more technical guitar work, recalling the more technical period of Death.
A much more deathly Merciless is displayed on The Treasures Within. In contrast to the raw, brutal, and unrelenting debut, these songs have some added complexity, and tempo changes. This is very similar to Swallowed In Black from Sadus in that it preserves the aggression of the debut, with better musicianship, and more technicality. Now, instead of going all out 100% of the time, the band expands their songs, adding room for more varied song structures and more technical passages. An example would be the title track. The song starts off in a merciless (no pun intended) fashion, with sonic intensity that sound similar to song on their debut, but when the song hit 1:20, shift in the speed and riffing occurs. The riffs become more technical, and drumming more intricate, backed up even further an 1:52, when the band becomes even more complex, showing the main differences between this album, and the debut. Still the band decides to focus more on the speed of the music, leaving the more technical moments seemingly incomplete.
This album in terms of complexity, was an improvement over their debut, however, I still prefer The Awakening for its sheer aggression. This only thing that disappoints me about this band is that they never really surpassed the level of intricacy displayed here. Unbound was much more polished, but was more stripped-down as well. The Treasure Within shows that the band had the potential to become quite similar to band like Pestilence, and Death in the technical death metal genre, but they never sought to achieve this. The follow up, Unbound is still a great album, but it seems to me as if the band is holding back.
This album as well as the debut are the band's best work and are highly underrated, but superior in terms of quality to most releases out there. Sadly the band didn’t quite achieve the level of success and recognition their peers, like Entombed, and Unleashed. Recommended for anyone who like Death, Thrash Metal, or just quality metal in general.