Merciless is one of the best Thrash Metal band of all times. In they long existence made some masterworks, like the debut album called „The Awakening”. Last year they came back from the ashes and the new album „Merciless” came out!
Greetings Erik, I’m Leslie from Hungary. I know from your label, you were in Spain. What did you do there? How did you feel yourself in Spain? Did you have a good time? Or you were on tour?
Hello Hungary! Yeah I was in Barcelona on a short vacation, great place man, go there if you got nothing better to do!
I’m very happy, that Merciless is back. What was the reason, the motivation of your comeback? I think the fans are surprised, aren’t they?
Don’t know if people got suprised, but we´ve recieved a lot of great response anyway! Our bassman Karlén recorded one song -98 with some other dudes helping him out, after that I got inspired and started to write songs to.
As I as know, you have had an attempt in 1999, you have given some gigs…
That’s right, we did a couple of gig in Sweden and got a fucking awsome welcome back response from the great fans that showed up, that also gave us inspiration to really make a new album.
Behind the drums can be found Peter Starwind, who has played both on „The treasures within” and on „Unbound” albums. Why didn’t take part the original drummer Stefan Carlsson in the reunion of Merciless? Do you know something about him?
First of all! Stefen C. Hereafter called “Stipen” played on our 2 first album, Peter joined on “Unbound”. Stipen was playing with other bands during the time of the reunion, BUT! He´ve been playing 5 gigs with us lately as Peter has been to busy playing with Entombed.
When did you begin to work on the new album? Did you rehearse much? Were born such songs, which aren’t get on the new album? Tell us please about the new record, about the songs, about the lyrics and about the cover. Are you satisfied with your achivement? Are you satisfied with the sound?
As I said the work began back in -98, we made the songs at home then me and Peter got together and made demos, after that we sent it to Rogga who add the vocals in another studio, a great way to work, we didn´t rehearse more than 2-3 times before the real album recording. There are 2 songs that we didn´t brought on the album. Yes we´re satisfied about the record, even proud of it.
When you compare te new album to the old, classical ones, there are similarities and differencies? Did you develope during the passed years?
I really hope so, even if you wanna keep your style you got to do something new and different, otherwise there´s no point to make another rec. Right!
As a matter of fact your style (thrash metal) isn’t changed, pure, aggressive, fast thrash metal can be listened to the album. Do you agree with me?
To what refer the title?
To the band dude!
The new album was released by Black Lodge. What must we know about this label? How did you get in touch with them? How many items did they sell from the new album?
It´s in fact the best label we ever had, great guys to work with! Don´t know how much the rec has sold, about 4000 so far I think, mostly in Sweden.
Of course I may ask you about your past. When was Merciless established? Do you remember about your first rehearses? Which bands have had an effect on you? How was the Swedish scene at the time?
We started back in -86, 14-15 years old boys thrashing there brains out. Our first reh. place was an old garage which we rebuilt, tiny but evil place! The scene started more seriously about 88-89 when we played around Sweden with Entombed, Dismember , Grave , Tiamat and others.
In your opinion, were such bands, they were talented, but they never become successful, for them didn’t success the breakthrough. For example, I like Obscurity very much. Do you know something about them?
I don’t know much about them, just remember their demos, we never came in contact with them.
You have recorded two demos. What kind of responses did you get? For 5 years was your released on 7” EP by To The Death Records. Did you listen to this release?
We got great response on the 2nd demo which gave us the deal to record the Awakening. Don´t think I´ve heard that release acctally!
Your debut „The awakening” was released in 1990. Tell me please about this record. In my opinion this is a classic underground thrash stuff.
It was an early reign in blood, only 27 min. pure fucking hate. We recorded and mixed it in 5 days and the songs was laid live, only vocals and git leads were put on afterwards.
In 1999 was „The awakening” re-released by Osmose Productions. Is a difference or similarity between the original version and the re-released one?
The rerelease is remastred and contains 4 live tracks from -90.
„The Awakening” was released official by Deathlike Silence Production which belonged to Euronymous. How did you get in touch with him? Does he help and support the band? What kind of personality was he?
He contacted us, they came to Sweden one day during the recording, that’s the only time I´ve met him so I didn´t really know him.
When Euronymous camed up: do you like the old Mayhem? What do you think about the death of Euronymous? Why did kill him Varg Vikernes?
I don´t know a shit about that, we play music that´s enough for us!
At the beginning of the ’90-s was an Norwegian movement which was called Inner Circle. Did you hear about this organization? Do you know, what did they do? Anyway, do you like black metal?
Not very much acctually, there are some cool bands of course, Darkthrone for ex.
Back to Merciless. Your second stuff was „The treasures within” in 1992. What can you say about this album?
The songs was good but the sound was terrible, now rereleased remastered with new cover, much better!
This album and the next one were released by No Fashion Records. Why did you leave the label of Euronymous? Did promise something your new label? Were they better than Deathlike Silence Productions?
DSP didn´t play much attention to Merciless after a while, think they focused more on Mayhem so we decided to change.
In 1994 came out „Unbound”. How was this album? At the time wasn’t thrash metal popular. I think, all Merciless releases are great.
The most melodic stuff we´ve made, it was great to work with producer Dan Swanö who took the album to a higher level a think.
Were you on tour? With which bands did you play together? How many gigs did you give? Why didn’t you record an live-album? Do you like live-albums?
The only longer tour we´ve ever made was -93 with Entombed in Scandinavia, we recorded a live DVD in May last year, will be out now in Feb., think we´ve played like 50 gigs but only 5 outside Sweden.
What happened with Merciless after the releasing of „Unbound”? Why did the band split up? What did you do, what was your occupation?
We lost inspiration to go on, canceled tours and lack of support from rec. comp, and the scene was preatty dead. I didn´t play in other projects but Karlén and Peter played together in a band called Loud Pipes.
Some great thrash bands of the ’80-s are back again, like Destruction, Death Angel, Assassin, Holy Moses, Necrodeath, Nuclear Assault, Nasty Savage, Agent Steel etc. There is a rebirth of thrash? Will be thrash popular again?
I think the Thrash will stay popular for a couple of years more, then we have to wait 20 years to the next period.
Do you like the bands, which I mentioned? Do you like them? Did you listen to their comeback albums? Why did they return again?
I don´t really know the reason why we came back, I guess we all got a call to this music, we listened mostly to Destruction, Kreator, Slayer.
What do you think about the career of Metallica? Did you listen to „St. Anger” album?
They where a great band on the 3 first rec. then I don´t care much about the rest.
What does it mean for you thrash metal? How could you characterize the essence of thrash metal? The first five thrash albums of all time in your opinion and why?
Sorry, to much to chose from!
What could you say about the Swedish underground scene? What is the difference and the similarity between the metal scene of the ’80-s and the metal scene of nowadays? In your opinion, is metal a lifestyle or business?
Both! If you have the opportunity to make money on playing music you´re burning for, why not? The scene in the ’80-s was much smaller, that’s the biggest difference.
What do you do in your freetime? Do you read often fanzines? Which fanzines do you like? In your opinion, playing are fanzines an improtant role in the underground scene?
Yes of course! And I also read about The Fanthom and Spanish!
Erik, I hope my questions weren’t boring, I hope you enjoyed, liked the interview. Tell me please about your future plans. Please, close the interview. Hail Merciless, hail thrash metal!
Thanx a lot for interview, we really hope to meet you on a Merciless gig in Hungary some day, Cheers man!
by David Laci