MERE MORTAL have arrived! With members hailing from various parts of England, their debut MLP Tartarus, harkens back to the raw sound and atmosphere of the often under-rated UK Thrash Metal scene, with many listeners noticing a distinct similarity in vocalist Liam Fox's approach to that of Benediction-era Barney Greenway, as well as Bolt Thrower's beloved Karl Willetts. Permeated with the darkness, intensity and authority of those forbearers, Fox conjures images of apocalyptic death and despair, leading the charge of MERE MORTAL's thrash assault. Behind him bassist Tom Pimlott, drummer Adam Rogers, and guitarists Maegan Brooks and Joe Sam Williams charge ahead with a sound that remains equally close to the UK - evoking memories of bands like Virus, Sabbat, Hellbastard, and Sacrilege. Like so many of their progenitors, the members of MERE MORTAL began their musical journeys in the punk scene, and that level of urgency and directness is able to inform their approach to Tartarus, with songs kept brief, direct, and precise. MERE MORTAL's Tartarus is a fine tuned and deadly sharp assault on the once again thriving thrash metal scene.
Our take: Debut 12” from this new UK metal band that draws their membership from the NWOBHC scene. While the band’s logo references Napalm Death, the sound is more thrash than grind (no blast beats), though it’s thrash of the heavier variety that edges toward early death metal. I’m reminded of Kreator’s heavier moments, but someone better versed in 80s metal could find more appropriate reference points. The vocals, however, aren't high-pitched wails, but instead are scary and demonic (but not guttural), giving Mere Mortal a cult metal vibe that keeps them well outside the zone of Power Trip’s more commercial thrash/hardcore hybrid. Speaking of hardcore, you can hear the members’ background in that genre in the huge, Cro-Mags-esque breakdowns that pepper these songs. “Scarecrow” in particular has a massive breakdown that will surely inspire spin kicks. Despite these nods, Tartarus feels like a pure metal record, and even if comparisons to records like Best Wishes or Humanity Is the Devil wouldn’t be out of place, this is still a step further toward metal than either of those. The riffs are there, though, the songwriting is great, and the production is gritty yet powerful. If you are interested in this style, I would highly recommended checking this out.