INTERVIEWS                    GUESTBOOK



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1. Hello Max. Your new album "Pathetic divinity" was released a few weeks ago... In which state of mind are you? Quite excited and anxious? The flow of reviews and interviews is soon to come?

Max Otero / Hello!! In fact it just began with a bit of delay, but it started circulating. Excited and motivated of course, because each album is a new challenge for us, we can't wait for peoples to hear our new songs and defend these tracks live... As of now every feedbacks are good!!

2. The first album released since the comeback of the band, "Unholy black splendor", was in a very old school death metal style, very close to the origins of the styles, almost thrash metal by moments... While the songs of your new album are a bit more varied, warmer, and a bit more melodic... Could we say these new tracks are getting closer to the style of the "True Mercyless"? Perhaps "Unholy..." was some kind of restart, re-warming album that allowed you to feel at ease again?

Max Otero/ I think you answered the question! Very simply, a comeback at the front of the scene deserves a very thorough work, and after 10 years of standby, we obviously needed a bit of time to readapt. Unholy Black Splendor is a good picture of the situation, we already have a very precise idea of the music we wanted to offer, but we necessarily had a bit fewer of recoil, than for the new one "Pathetic Divinity" which is more mature and thoughtful, in my opinion.

3. So with this new album Iretrieve a bit more of the MERCYLESS I listened to at the time, with more fast parts (Blasts) and some melodic sides that sometimes almost turn to doom... How would you describe the album to someone who didn't hear it? And to someone who doesn't know the band?

Max Otero/ Ah! Good question... I would say this is a Death metal album to be very rooted in the 90's, old school with a very organic side, and also a very straight-to-the-point production!... I can't do better for a description!

4. To describe the music I would be attempted to quote a blending of MORBID ANGEL ("Altars" for the energy, and more recent records for the heaviness), DEATH (Leprozy/ Scream bloody gore), MORGOTH (Cursed), with a bit of PESTILENCE... Would you like to add a few bands to this list? Is MERCYLESS a decidedly old school outfit, or do you allow yourselves to keep an open-mind with newer influences?

Max Otero/ Your description suits me very well, it's right and I have nothing to add... I would say we don't consider things under that angle, one can say the band is old school because this is where we feel the best and our striking force is the most efficient, it's a style that flows in our veins, and we do not need to think about it because we compose this music in the most natural way possible.
Now we are opened to a lot of newer influences, but the experience of the past taught us, we shouldn't disperse ourselves with attempts of songs that don’t fit the image of the band.

5. The second guitarist of the band, Stéphane Viard, who was also an original member, left the band in 2014. And so you find yourself to be the last original MERCYLESS member... Will that make a difference at the level of the composition? Did Stéphane contribute to "Pathetic divinity"? Are you the main composer, or are the other (More recently arrived) musicians playing a role at this level?

Max Otero/ Stephane contributed to the composition of two tracks on this album, as well as leads, he isn't a part of the band anymore but he will probably take part here and there for punctual featurings in the future. Also perhaps for last minute help in case of gigs, because he's a childhood friend and remains very close to the band. Otherwise I remain the keeper of the temple, because I always had a very clear idea of what MERCYLESS should be, at the level of the production and compositions... So obviously I remain the main composer, with Laurent (Drums). A band that clearly knows the path it should embrace to preserve its identity and style.


6. How long did it take to compose this last album? Perhaps some tracks we already begun before the release of "Unholy...'? (Perhaps you even have few ideas of riffs that were recorded in the 80-90's, on old dusty tapes? (I know some bands play this game, but now is it a good walk?)

Max Otero/ No, we started working on the album in May 2015, with new ideas only, and with a very precise idea of the main lines. We did an enormous work on compositions and their arrangements, for a total duration of almost one year. We compose short songs and our albums have a short duration, because we want to reach the essential.

7. You recordings that appeared since the comeback of the band weren't released by labels to be especially specialized in old school Death metal. Is this a volunteer choice? Do you prefer to reach a larger metal audience, rather than a pack of peoples who are totally in a precise style, even if you don't touch every pure juice death metallers?

Max Otero/ Frankly, this didn't happen in that manner, there were no preconceived ideas at the beginnings... And we won't imagine fairytales, these labels did what they could with their funds (This said it's not enormous!)... But when we came back we had to work hard to catch the interest of potential labels, because even if we had a past, we had a lot to prove... The world of labels and business has changed a lot the last years, and with these thousands of bands and the lack of funds for labels, it's not easy to make a place for your band... We do not aim to find an eclectic label, but just someone to do his job seriously... And trust me, there aren't many!!

8. In the middle of the 90's, the band evolved in a different style, it was more progressive and not too much death metal anymore... Do you still enjoy some of these songs? Perhaps some could one day go through a more death metallic readaptation, and so you could play it live?

Max Otero /  It was another epoch, another line up, other influences... It was a very blurred epoch for me... I simply wish to forget this era, even if I don't regret, because you learn a lot from your mistakes!

9. You have released a vinyl split with CRUSHER in 2015, on Deadlight entertainment. Can you talk a bit about it? Was this project organized by the label, or does the initiative come from a member of the bands? To be totally honest I was quite disappointed with the songs of CRUSHER that only offers some kind of cheap SIX FEET UNDER, it's not very glorious :)

Max Otero / It's simply Crass of Crusher who invited us to be a part of this split, because someone made him an offer... Since we never released a split before we took the opportunity to record a new song. We were in the pre-production process of the new album; so we did some try-outs at the level of the production, and I find the cover artwork to be very nice!... Now as you say I find Crusher were a bit too fast to record in my opinion, the band was reformed around Crass since only a few months... A bit short in my opinion.

10. At the time of your first albums, I remember you were talking about a mystical character named Agrazabeth (If I don't mistake) that dictated yourself some compositions during your dreams... Are you still in touch with this dreamy muse? Is it a spirit from beyond, some kind of baleful spirit such as a ghoul, or another entity?

Max Otero / Dreamy muse... The word is right... You have good memory... It's an influence from beyond the dreams... The capacity to understand this materialistic world... It's a singular spirit that provides me with very precise ideas of how to put in shape the music that comes through my mind... Obviously this muse very easily navigates through the wrath of malicious spirit... From there I take the force and energy of MERCYLESS... This comes from a very special meeting I had in 1988, it was with someone very involved in esoterism, occultism... This is very strange but I cannot tell you more...

11. You have a quite scorched vocal tone, I imagine this could quite hurt the throat after hours of macabre regurgitations… Have you got a particular tip to maintain your vocal cords and avoid being nailed to the floor too rapidly?

Max Otero/ It’s true that I use the throat contrary to many metal vocalists, and so I should be very careful when several dates are following each other’s, or when I’m in the studio, but through the years I have developed a technique to save my voice during tours, and I have a very special way to record my vocals in the studio… The first thing is simple; that is I work a lot during the composition process so that the recording of my vocal parts can be really quick, and I can keep all the force and intensity during the sessions… So I can record two tracks per day, and then I spend two days without recording, and I can record for two more days… It will take me two hours a day.

12. You played quite a lot of gigs since the comeback… What kind of places fit the best the music of the band ? You generally prefer the crowd from which country? Are there places in particular where you’d like to play? (It seems South America is the best at the level of the crowd… South East Asia could also be nice)

Max Otero/ It’s true we played quite a lot since 2011, and certainly more than at a given time. We aren’t hard to please, we play where peoples agree to take us, we can play in caves or festivals, or big rooms as openers, it’s a bit the daily bread for a band like us… And sometimes we are even treated as beginners… This is how it is and we don’t complain, we accept this situation… It’s the world of metal, isn’t it?
We enjoy the French public, because it is reactive, we also like the Spanish or Belgian crowd… Then Germany, Holland, it’s a crowd to be quieter and more attentive to the music… We obviously hope to enlarge the panel for the next concerts, we would like to play in Portugal, and South America would be really killer, because peoples are crazy in there!!! United States could also be very nice… Well for now we try to play as much as possible, because it becomes more and more difficult!!!

13. Someone of the label had the good idea to offer the whole album as free streaming on Youtube, at the moment of the release… This enabled me to check out the music very fast and realize this interview AhAh What’s your opinion about the whole downloading and streaming bazar… Taken to the extreme, nothing has any meaning anymore…

Max Otero/ … Yes, as you say it has no more meaning… The times become really difficult for the bands, in a matter of sales… Then you can easily notice some bands tour more and more to have more cash coming in and sell more merchandising… And so there is an escalation of tours that never end and the merchandising is more and more expensive… In my opinion the next problem of the metal scene will appear at this level… The production and release of music almost has almost no value anymore, and so we can notice the quality of music generally decreases (How could one release a good album when bands are touring 300 days a year!!)... For some peoples, the release of an album has only become a reason to promote something and go back on the road… Personally speaking, it’s a long time since I really enjoyed an album in its entirety… But if I want to see a band live this will be without a problem, with all the festivals and gigs you can easily see a band 4 or 5 time a year without problem…
There is also a problem of broadcasting rights with streaming, for me the real problem are all the internet majors (Spotify, Deezer, Itunes….) who monopolize music, who sell it for almost nothing, and pay the artists with remains of dust… We are the spectators of a real mass thievery, justified by the fact they broadcast music on their own platforms… We will see how the following evolves!!

14. Listening to your last album, I said to myself you should still listen to the old albums of the cult bands, and you might as well enjoy the albums of more recent bands, the content isn’t totally stuck in time
J So, can you tell us a bit more about the more actual bands you enjoy and are quite often a part of your playlist? Are you rather Entombed copies Swedish death, more obscure bands to be close to Incantation, barbaric black death close to Blasphemy?

Max Otero/ It’s true I remain eternally nostalgic of the 90’s, and I still enjoy as much listening to
Possessed, Morbid Angel, Slayer (early !), Pestilence, Hellhammer, Bathory, Sadistic Intent, Ex Mortis, Sarcofago, Asphyx…. Etc… I don’t know what else to say, it is how it is, I love the sound, the production, the imagery of this time!!! Then of course I’m not closed to what happens in the current scene, I like the last releases of Behemoth, Rebaellium, Krisiun, Skelethal Remains, Coffin Texts, Dehuman….
etc… For Swedish Death metal it’s true I like a lot the first Grave and Entombed albums, but since more than 20 years we are fed with followers who come with the same sound, same production, same style… I have a problem with it, it kinda repeats itself too much… Even if I like the last entrails album! (Ah Ah!)… Ok guys, put away your HM-2 distortion pedals for a moment!!!... Then there are also the obscure and extreme bands à la Incantation, Acheron, Blasphemy, Nifelheim, Watain, Gospel of the Horns…… This kinda speaks to me as the “music for the forces of evil” Ah Ah!

15. I like to explore some blogs that uploaded old demos from the 80-90’s… And even if I Iisten to Death metal for more than 20 years, I’m still surprised to discovered really cool bands I couldn’t have heard before! For example, a few months ago I have discovered a demo of the French band BURIAL VAULT for the heavy and obscure death metal style, it’s not bad at all! I also only knew the thrash metal epoch of MESTEMA, and I must say their Death metal epoch on “The way of stupidity” is quite killer! Fast blastbeats and almost bestial parts! For a French Death metal band in the 90’s, it was quite extreme… I imagine you should know these bands well… But I wonder why they got so little recognition, even in the quite deep underground (I had to search to find their recordings). Do you have an idea about this topic?

Max Otero/ You didn’t know Burial Vault yourself ?? I’m surprised ! Ah Ah… Honestly there were a lot of more obscure bands in France in the past, even if some were efficient. Unfortunately they didn’t get the deserved recognition, it’s really a shame, there were Burial Vault (I think we played gigs together, but I’m not certain), or also Obscure (An only demo), Dagon, Mortal fear… etc… And of course MESTEMA, our friends, we spent some killer moments together, and yes they have released two killer demo, the lack of recognition put an end to the band. It’s a shame because their music was intense and very original for this time (Pierre, the bassist, and David, the drummer, played with Mercyless from 1995 to 2000!)

16. Since you’re a survivor of this epoch, you might have a few names of not very famous French death metal bands that released demos, and that would deserve to be heard… So if you wish to, give us the names!

Max Otero/ … Look in the previous answer, and there are more… But I should play this Obscure demo to you (It’s ultra rare… Because the guys of the band lost the tapes!!! Alcohol is so beautiful !!!)… This demo, you directly released it as an Ep!!!

17. To remain a bit more in the past… Are there fanzines you regret? Some perhaps had a particular state of mind? Snail mail letters, flyers, it was anyway cooler than emails (Even if these are cheaper… Something that remains to be proven at the level of global pollution…)

Max Otero/ Ahhhhh !! You touched a sensible point… Oh shit how I can regret this epoch… Letters filled with flyers, with demo cassettes inside, some beautiful discoverings, thousands of contacts, hand-written letters, shit I was waiting for the postman as a sniper, each letter was a real pleasure!!! The polish guys who were all doing a fanzine and wanted tshirts, free demos, hundreds of interviews… South America was writing to us every day, the trades of tapes (Very often with guys who are now very famous !! It’s the little plus)… And often when I talk about all of this to younger guys, they look at me as if I was coming from another planet!!... Until the moment I show them a letter hand-written by Ross Dolan (Immolation) at the time… Then, in general, they drop a little tear!! Ah! Ah!... For me the best fanzine of the time was « Slayer mag »… The (satanic) bible that helped us to discover so many bands, there was also Brain damage, Sceams from the gutter …. And for the French zines Decibel Storm was very professional, Initium, In extremis, and Desaster (My fanzine… 50 copies each!!!) And then numerous others!!! (I won’t insult you listing the thousands of zine from the time… This said didn’t you have a fanzine as well as a newsletter back then!) I will never adapt myself to emails… It’s faster, but it’s so impersonal, fucking shit!!

18. The end of the interview is near… You can add what you wish, to speak about your future projects… And it’s already quite good ! Thanks for the answers.

Thanks a lot for this interesting interview, and thanks for the support !!! I hope you will enjoy our new album, in my opinion it will be a little kick in your bottoms!!! Otherwise we will tour a bit with Putrid Offal in November (France/ Spain), then we have a tour with Avulsed and Savage Annihilation in April and then a little tour in England… Friends gig organizers, festival promoters, think about us, we are as burning as hell!!! I know you prefer to invite Sabaton, Arch Enemy, Ghost, Within Temptation,…(Well, all these bands who want to play at the Eurovision!) for the 15
th time… But if you wish to see how the devil looks like… contact us! Come on! The weather is good in the depths!!! The re-release of “Coloured funeral” will come out very soon!! EVIL WILL CONQUER!!!

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