SHOW NO MERCY
If BACK TO THE FUTURE was a real concept that could actually happen, it's my belief that Mad Margritt would be a name that every single one of you that owns Skid Row, Slaughter and Dokken records would hold in the highest esteem. You would see them still touring around playing package shows together with other bands that had their run "back in the day", and you would hear interviews with Eddie Smith about his upcoming book that details all the debauchery of being a superstar back in the heyday. Unfortunately though, BACK TO THE FUTURE is fake, which leaves Smith and company recording music they love and that, while solid, is hard to get people to listen to because their door on new music slammed shut the day Kurt Cobain reached #1 on Billboard. It's too bad that so many in that 40-50 age range are like that too, because they are missing out on a ton of music that falls right in their wheelhouse. SHOW NO MERCY is one of those they are missing.
While not the best release ever, SHOW NO MERCY is a solid, 80s sounding hard rock/classic metal album that showcases driving music with a hard edge, a lot of melody, and hooks being enough to go deep sea fishing with. The Skid Row and Dokken comparison above is pretty apropo in this case. For so many reasons, Mad Margritt has long channeled those two bands, as well as a bit of Warrant, into their music. A song like "Ever Since You've Been Gone" could very well be a lost Warrant tune if it was not for the grittier, less frilly guitar solo from Smith. Vocally is where Smith continues to shine on SHOW NO MERCY. He's a very solid vocalist that is distinct, even though most of the time you listen you find yourself going, "who does this guy sound like." His voice is clean, but has just enough edge to not sound Steelheart or Alias soft. Songs like "The Way Your Loving Me" or the AC/DC cover of "Touch Too Much" feature a smooth vocal that, at the same time, sounds full and not the least bit weak or soft. It's good stuff.
While Smith is solid, his band is equally strong throughout as well. Smith and fellow guitarist Carl Culpepper have a lot of edge to their player. Songs like "Down In Flames" are strong guitar driven tracks. They are complimented nicely but the unflashy, solid bottom end provided by Brandon Faulkner on drums and Skip Mullis on bass. While you can hear them as they keep each song churning forward, the production throughout is a touch lacking to where you don't get their full impact the way I imagine you do in the live setting. Collectively as a musical unit though, Mad Margritt are definitely a tight, polished unit. SHOW NO MERCY proves that.
PITRIFF RATING - 83/100 - If this same release had been recorded with a touch better production captured to where the edge of the rhythm section and some of the blistering guitar solos weren't diminished, this is a low 90s score. The songs are definitely worthy of that. Bottom line though, it sounds pretty good. It's 80s metal folks, and there's no denying that. If you were a fan back then (or now), Mad Margritt is one of those bands that will give you a new fix of the old style. SHOW NO MERCY is certainly worth checking out.