Greatest Debut Albums: Merciless Death – Evil in the Night.

( We’re looking at a band from the “thrash revival” era in Merciless Death’s 2006 debut Evil in the Night. At eight tracks and a little over 25-minutes, Evil in the Night is a fast-paced thrash thrill ride but how does it hold up as a debut?

A quick intro to Merciless Death, it’s a power trio from Canyon Country, California. Formed in 2003, the band released two demos before dropping EitN. The first album was very much in the same vein as many thrash revival releases from the time.

After EitN, Merciless Death matured its sound and smoothed out the rough edges. Mind you, the band’s sound was still in the aggressive thrash direction but MD probably had one more Evil in the Night in them before it was time to give listeners new material.

I look at it in the same sense as the jump between Slayer’s Show No Mercy and Hell Awaits—which also had roughly the same gap of time between the debut and sophomore release.

Merciless Death - Heavy Metal.

A-Side of Evil in the Night

Again, this album is just over under 25-and-a-half-minutes, so these songs are all speedy as hell. With that said, the songs aren’t all short pieces. Some of these are three minute barrages of speed, aggression, and growling—it’s pretty awesome.

The A-side sports two three-minute pieces and two two-minute ones. “Slaughter Lord” opens the album and while it’s a good song on its own, I’m not totally sold on it as the opening track. It does the job in that position, regardless.

“Deadly Assault” rides and is in the same vein as the other seven tunes on this release. The song that rips the hardest on this side is “Command Death”. This track defines the album and honestly should’ve been the name of the debut. Evil in the Night is a ridiculously strong album name since the music delivers.

This isn’t Evil in the Night as performed by Nightwish or something.

Remember “Command Death” and check it out, it’ll come up again in this retrospective. Closing out the A-side is “Burn in Hell” which rides like “Command Death” but desperately tries to hang on to its shine.

I’d say that this one probably should’ve been moved to the B-side so it could breathe. Unfortunately, there are some killers on the B-side as well and with only eight similar songs, a track has to get it done where they are on the album.

Strongest Tracks: Deadly Assault, Command Death**, Burn in Hell*


The B-side comes in hot with “Exumer”, which shares its name with one of Merciless Death’s obvious influences. I dig the band Exumer and as mentioned before, Merciless Death is very much a mix ‘‘em up of Exumer and Exodus as far as approach.

Of course, recording technology and being from a generation where much could take in their inspirations faster allows MD to make a similar but more urgent sound.

Following “Exumer” is “Act of Violence” which could’ve easily been on Exodus’ debut album. These two tracks are truly worth putting on repeat. Like “Command Death” they define the album. Finishing out the album are “The Final Slaughter” and “Ready to Kill”.

Of the two, “Ready to Kill” is the real monster and it’s the “Command Death” of the B-side.

Strongest Tracks: Exumer*, Act of Violence, Ready to Kill**

Strength of the Opener: Slaughter Lord

As I’ve mentioned before, “Slaughter Lord” is a fine opener and it isn’t out of place with the rest of the tracks on the album at all. However, I feel that it would probably be a better opener on another album. I can’t tell you which album as Merciless Death got better with each album and the focus changed from the thrash onslaught of Evil in the Night.

On the A-side alone I’d say that “Command Death” would be an overwhelming opener. That song is explosive! “Burn in Hell” would be my second pick as a better opener where it has more bite than “Slaughter Lord” but not as much as “Command Death”.

Looking at the album as a whole, this was a dope debut! I love albums that are fast and fun from start to finish and Evil in the Night delivered on both fronts. Not only that but it piqued my interest into the Merciless Death’s other albums.

When I discovered this act, it was the same year as their follow-up Realm of Terror dropped. Checking this out before RoT made for a smooth transition once you know of a band’s core style. That’s always a bonus to discovering a band early into its career and seeing them grow in real-time.

So check out the strongest tracks on each side to get a good idea of the album. Or you could just dive into it, the thing is just 25-minutes long. Also, if you’re up for similar artists check out Dismantle, Fueled by Fire,  and Violator for contemporary thrashers.

For our old-school thrash fans Exodus, Exumer, and Dark Angel have very similar sounds to Merciless Death. Stick around The Black Rock & Heavy Metal as we look through the thrash revival and check out some of the classics from that period!

Staff Writer; M. Swift

This talented writer is also a podcast host, and comic book fan who loves all things old school. One may also find him on Twitter at; metalswift.