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Most Precious Blood | Merciless | review | hardcore | Lollipop

Most Precious Blood

Merciless (Trustkill)
by Tim Den

Having been a big fan of Our Lady of Annihilation (and the band's former incarnation, Indecision, of course), I was stoked to check out the new record from Most Precious Blood. Time and again, these Brooklyn hardcore stalwarts have stood the test of longevity, pumping out unrelenting heaviness that stays within the genre's confines, yet somehow manages to be satisfying and invigorating. But what's this? Why am I not thrilled with Merciless? Chalk it up to the fact that the band made such a GIANT leap between debut Nothing in Vain and Our Lady of Annihilation that the growth shown on Merciless pales in comparison. Indeed, the chugging riffs are more predictable than before, with chords afraid of venturing outside of the low-E-high-E formula. Breakdowns, too, seem less awe-inspiring. When they work - like on "Diet For a New America" - it's got all the right accents and momentum. But when it falters - like on "Mad as the March Hare" - they feel forced and a bit clumsy. Vocalist Rob Fusco's delivery is still guttural and fear-inducing, but his tendency to stretch syllables across measures gets monotonous after a while. It's as if he's breaking e-v-e-r-y sound of every word to fill space instead of writing more lyrics.

Still, the pure weight of Most Precious Blood's thick attack means instantaneous gratification for the mosh kid in you. It's almost impossible to not get psyched when opener "Shark Ethic" snowballs into a fearsome avalanche of choirs and palm mutes. Elsewhere on the album, "Two Men Enter, One Man Leaves" and "Oxygen Debt" make that "fast part/fast part/breakdown/ending" way of writing hardcore songs a cause for celebration. When metalcore's nailed to a T like this, who cares about reinventing the wheel? The band do experiment just a tad with their riffing and composition, though, to great result: "Narcoleptic Sleepwalker," by far the album's emotional, murderous center. A slithering guitar line rides atop of the chugging rhythm, sliding into big power chords as the bass takes over the melody. And as Fusco screams "life will change. Keep dreaming" 'til he boils over, mentally and literally smashing up the recording studio, Merciless reaches its pinnacle. This is hardcore that touches your soul while kicking your teeth in.

While not the earth-shattering follow-up I was hoping for, Merciless is nonetheless an enjoyable metalcore record from a band that believes - and practices - the true essence of the genre. And in a time when most of their peers are either chauvinistic knuckleheads or trend-hopping fakes, I'll take what I can get of honest hardcore.


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