Have Mercy (MD)
Armageddon Descends



Release Date: 1986 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Ahead of its time and ahead of the competition, yet left behind.

The story of thrash is generally thought to go like this: first there was Motorhead, and all rejoiced; then there was Venom, and hell followed. From Metallica and Exodus to Sodom and Holy Moses (yes, they had a demo in ‘82 if you can believe that!), anger and aggression would dominate the genre. Less talked about is the story of the so-called US Power Metal scene, which despite its name has far more in common with thrash than with your Helloweens and your Running Wilds. Rather than follow in the footsteps of Venom, this sound was born in response to the New Wave of British Heavy Metal - faster, more intense, more technical, but no less theatrical and bombastic when compared to traditional metal.

Have Mercy is one such USPM band, featuring ostensibly Christian lyrics, whose five year run between 1983 and 1988 left behind a few demos and this EP. Though compiled and re-released in 2004, their name and their music continue to languish in the depths of obscurity. Which is a shame. By now it should be obvious that I could trivially vomit a dozen or so lines calling this “kimm thrash with a twist” and telling you to check it hard because it rules hard, it will make your balls turn into a fist, etc. I could hamfist comparisons to Tourniquet and Believer, or more appropriate ones to Helstar. But that wouldn’t really get across what caught my attention the most about this release - not merely the sound, but the context.

This little thing came out in April 1986. For reference, Darkness Descends, Reign In Blood, Pleasure To Kill and Morbid Visions all came out in the fourth quarter of the same year. Now is the music on Armageddon Descends as intense, is it flirting with more extreme genres of metal - no. But it’s pretty damn hard hitting nonetheless. How?

Blistering drums that feel especially punishing when the gas is turned up, genuinely excellent bass work, ear-rupturing vocals and of course “hard as feck riffs” that I must stress are surprisingly technical at times, though not quite to the twisted, alien extent as Watchtower. Moreover, both the songwriting and the musicianship are just thoroughly solid - relentless, yet replete with everything from fills, to bridges, to solos - it never meanders but never feels one-note either. Most often it brings to mind Helstar’s A Distant Thunder or Nosferatu, and at a couple moments even Coroner’s pre-Mental Vortex stuff. But here’s the kicker: this predates every single one of those by two or more years. If you were to compare it to something that was out in 1986, well, how about Flotsam and Jetsam on steroids, and without all the clean passages and interludes that leave Doomsday for the Deceiver feeling just a tad bloated? How about Metal Church on crack? You get the picture.

Now would I tell you it’s every bit as good as those more well known records, perhaps not. What I will tell you though, is that it is absolutely worth any metal fan’s time, and it makes me wonder how many more bands like this there were, ahead of the pack yet never discovered.



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user ratings (6)
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
parksungjoon
October 7th 2020


23053 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

shoutout to casavir for recommending this



shoutout to everyone who writes reviews to cope with their shit



bonus: one of the two guitarists here, tommy maxwell, went on to play for nothingface and hellyeah

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Casavir
October 7th 2020


4261 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

One of Combat's most overlooked releases.

parksungjoon
October 7th 2020


23053 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

is really good yea

JesperL
Contributing Reviewer
October 7th 2020


1888 Comments


the earth pushed back is better agreed
jk nice review parks!

Digging: Palm Reader - Sleepless

parksungjoon
October 7th 2020


23053 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i might take the approach of quick short writeups in the future, we'll see

parksungjoon
October 7th 2020


23053 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

oh yea i should leave a youtube link or something



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eHu5Xn9dlCg

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
October 7th 2020


29988 Comments


shit teh bed boi !

Digging: Rubio - Mango Negro

parksungjoon
October 7th 2020


23053 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

surely there are more appropriate places to discuss your fetishes?

brainmelter
October 7th 2020


7197 Comments


hell yea dude good review, never heard of these until now poz

Digging: Plague Rider - Rhizome

parksungjoon
October 7th 2020


23053 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

thanks!



hope people give em a try at some point

Archelirion
October 7th 2020


6274 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I love the balance between informative and entertaining you strike with your writeups man. This sounds dope as hell boss.

parksungjoon
October 7th 2020


23053 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

bless



hope u check it its only 22 mins long

Archelirion
October 7th 2020


6274 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'm honestly not listening to a whole lot of metal these days but I'll get this on the queue 4 u



How you been keeping anyway dude?

parksungjoon
October 7th 2020


23053 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i like music. it is good. theres a small ish list i put out last month that isnt all metal you might wanna check



a lot of music i used to enjoy is pretty meh. but new finds keep the fire going

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
October 8th 2020


22221 Comments


My man, happy to see you keeping these reviews up. Just gonna check cause you named Holy Moses and Running Wild.

parksungjoon
October 8th 2020


23053 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

thanks man hope you lke it

Shadowmire
October 8th 2020


6491 Comments


good review

pos'd

will not check

parksungjoon
October 8th 2020


23053 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

:[

garas
October 8th 2020


5233 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yay, park reviewed again!

It was a great read, and I'll definitely check this out.

Digging: Deafheaven - 10 Years Gone

parksungjoon
October 8th 2020


23053 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

nice man, hope you enjoy



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