Commandment - No Mercy

14 songs
51:28 minutes
***** ***
Pure Steel


Specialised in all kinds of primordial metal, Pure Steel Records generally sign bands deeply rooted in the Eighties, but sometimes they also excavate long lost treasures that never got the attention they deserved in the first place. One such example is Commandment from Illinois who were active in the latter half of the Eighties. Their debut Engraved In Stone from 1988 was already re-released a couple of years ago on OPM Records. One year later, the demos for the follow-up No Mercy were recorded, but the rapidly changing musical landscape made it impossible for them to find a label.

One can question the usefulness of giving these never before published songs a second chance, but the authenticity of the music actually speaks for itself. Strangely enough it’s vocalist David Nava, who unfortunately has already passed away, that split opinions about the band. I happen to like his high pitched vocals that perfectly well fit the Eighties speed thrash hybrid that was quite frequent back in the days. Commandment remind me of Agent Steel whenever they play their faster material, while their mid-tempo excursion recall the early Crimson Glory. This very special sub-genre was never truly big, but had its share of fans from the mid to late Eighties. No Mercy can’t really compete with today’s production values, but the recording quality is still quite ok for those who used to be active metal aficionados and cared more about the songwriting than supra-polished sound.

If you dismiss the one minute short Guitar Solo (self-explanatory if rather unoriginal title for an instrumental), you’re left with only eight songs that make it just over half an hour. The CD features five hidden tracks from the early demo Law Of The Streets, but frankly, even I can’t stand the bootleggish sound of these otherwise cool pieces.

No Mercy should still be an interesting acquisition for fans of Eighties progressive speed thrash metal. If you loved bands like Agent Steel, Helstar and the likes, then you might get a nice surprise with Commandment. The band is actually back together, with a new singer, and working on new material for a hopefully soon upcoming album.

Back to Reviews