With the untimely death of Andrija Veljaca in 2005, the legacy of Swedish metal pioneers Mercy was sealed and secured. Mercy are among those few bands which explored and conquered multiple styles of metal. Guided by Veljaca, the only consistent member of the band, Mercy began as a youthful, raging Heavy Metal outfit before shifting toward a heavier doom sound by the mid-1980s. Indeed, for many unfamiliar with Mercy’s early material, the band is most commonly associated with its doom-laden offerings, particularly the 1985 album “Witchburner” featuring Eddie “Messiah” Marcolin on vocals, who later achieved greater fame for his work with Candlemass. Mercy’s often overshadowed Heavy Metal-era deserves greater attention, however, and with this series of reissues, licensed from TPL records, NWN! honors the legacy of Veljaca and Mercy by making this material available again, most of which has not been repressed on vinyl since the 1980s. In addition, NWN! has endeavored to commit to vinyl demo material and other rarities that are out of print or have never previously been released on record.
Having gained recognition with the release of the “Swedish Metal” MLP, Mercy played a number of live shows, including a fest appearance alongside other notable acts such as Hanoi Rocks and Tygers of Pan Tang, and made multiple radio and compilation appearances. By 1983, songwriter Andrija “Weechking” Veljaca set about writing new, more sophisticated material. Recognizing the need for a fuller sound, the band enlisted rhythm guitarist Magnus Klinto, and the four-piece band traveled to Stockholm where they entered the studio to record demo versions of four new songs. Although the Session 1983 tracks were not widely circulated, they showed maturation in terms of both the quality of the songwriting and the execution of the performance. On the strength of the demo, the band received the opportunity to record a full-length debut for the Swedish label Finger Print Records, and by January 1984, Mercy was scheduled to record at Decibel Studios in Stockholm, one of the most renowned studios in the country. Just before entering the studio, drummer Paul Gustavsson contacted Eddie “Messiah” Marcolin, offering him the opportunity to sing on the album. Marcolin, who was just 16 years old at the time, countered that he was primarily a drummer, not a singer, even though the young Marcolin’s vocal performances in other local bands had already garnered attention. When Marcolin asked if he could play drums as well, Gustavsson quickly responded that the drums were his domain and urged Marcolin to just focus on his singing. Two weeks after joining the band, Marcolin was in the studio recording vocals for Mercy’s self-titled album, although he took no part in writing the lyrics. Compared with the feral, street-fight sound of the “Swedish Metal” MLP, “Mercy” represented a more polished effort by the band. With the self-titled debut, Mercy firmly established itself as a major force in the Swedish Heavy Metal scene. It would prove to be the last Mercy recording to feature the classic Heavy Metal era lineup, however. By the time of the 1985 follow-up, “Witchburner," Valjaca and Marcolin would reconstitute the band and enter into darker and doomier territory. This faithful reissue of Mercy’s legendary self-titled debut is the first vinyl edition since the original.
- J. Campbell
released June 30, 2018
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