Writing reviews of hardcore and metal albums seems like a constant struggle to find new and interesting ways to say “heavy,” and that's probably appropriate because the albums themselves seem to be an attempt to do the same thing. Thankfully, while Most Precious Blood's Merciless can certainly be described with its share of synonyms, it can also be described as a simple, solid metal-influenced hardcore album.
Even though the band has added some light electronic touches, mostly with sampled choirs, none of it really gets in the way, and the album would easily transfer to a live setting. The record builds on much the same influences as Our Lady of Annihilation; classic hardcore with some light metallic touches. In fact, take this as a positive or a negative; there is nothing about this album which confines it to 2005. It could just as easily have come out five years ago or five years from now, because there is little to no trend-hopping, minimal melodic vocals, and no Pantera-derived breakdowns.
Rob Fusco's stellar vocals still anchor the album together, and his seething snarl is well complimented by the powerful rhythm section. The band plays with the tempos a little, from slower, groove-laden moments to gallopping double-bass bursts. “Shark Ethic,” which opens the record, is laden with production touches like a singing choir layered over the thumping bass drum, but soon returns to familiar territory. These flourishes are common, like a keyboard part attached to “Two Men Enter, One Man Leaves.” The opening of “Driving Angry” does include a somewhat unecessary, clean vocal part, but it is quickly abandoned and Fusco takes center stage.
Lyrically, the band also sticks to the ethos spawned by early metal/hardcore acts: Cruelty-free lifestyle messages abound and preached with the same abandon as straight-edge anthems on a Youth of Today album. One of the tracks is even titled on John Robbins' seminal vegan lifestyle book, Diet for a New America.
If there is a failing to the album, it's that later tracks spend far too much time opening and closing with unecessary vocal samples, disrupting the flow from track to track. “Curse of the Immortal” is almost a minute of vocal samples, and “Temporary Solution to a Permanent Problem” also wastes valuable time and energy on this note. This is particularly disappointing as the melancholy track is one of the strongest on the album.
Overall, Merciless is a strong album from one of Trustkill's most consistent and reliable acts. Outside of some unecessary electronic trickery and the aforementioned skits, the songs themselves are incredibly solid and versatile and give some hope to the future of metal-influenced hardcore outside of the trendiness of the current scene.