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Merciless Law "Troops Of Steel" Album Review

I've been an obsessed hard rock & heavy metal fan and collector since the early 1980s. If it's got a good guitar riff and attitude, I'm in.

Merciless Law, Troops Of Steel (2022)

Merciless Law, Troops Of Steel (2022)

Merciless Law – Troops Of Steel

Country: Chile
Power/Speed Metal
Run Time: 53:03, 10 Tracks
Released: 2022
Label: Stormspell Records

Maybe it's just me, but there seems to have been an uptick in one (or two) man metal "bands" popping up over the past few years. Such "do it yourself" projects used to be the sole purview of cheap, basement dwelling "black metal" misanthropes. But, whether due to the isolation spawned by the recent worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, or simply the ease of obtaining decent recording software and equipment via the Internet, the explosion in DIY metal—in which a single musician can record an entire album all by themselves, performing multiple instruments and lead vocals—has produced a variety of surprisingly legit, studio-only "bands" of late, crankin' out hard n' heavy tunes in just about every metal sub-genre you can think of.

The latest one-man army to cross my path calls itself Merciless Law, and it's the brainchild of guitarist/vocalist Pancho Ireland, who hails from Los Angeles, Chile (no, I didn't know they had their own "Los Angeles," either!). Merciless Law's first full length release, Troops Of Steel, was released in Summer 2022 by the tiny-but-true metal specialists at Stormspell Records.

Pancho's partner in crime in Merciless Law is none other than Cederick "Ced" Forsberg of Rocka Rollas and Blazon Stone fame, who contributed bass tracks and produced this album. His involvement makes sense, because anyone who's familiar with Ced's extensive discography knows that he's had more than enough experience in building albums from the ground up all by himself!

The Songs

Troops Of Steel kicks off with "A New Order," which packs a serious, all guns blazing punch full of nimble guitar riffing and high-pitched, squealing vocals. The tracks that follow, from the chugging "Breakdown" and "Wrath," to the pedal-to-the-metal "Victims Of War" and "The Street Fighter" (possibly inspired by the video game series?) are all packed with serious guitar candy, both leads and rhythms.

Mr. Ireland has definitely got some major six-string skills. There's no drummer mentioned in the album credits so I'm going to assume the rhythms are provided by "A. Machine," (haha) but even that doesn't distract from the quality of this metal mayhem.

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"There's No Superheroes" has a nice, down n' dirty chunk to it and "World Circus" (no relation to the track by late '80s cult prog speed metallers Toxik, I presume) leads into the epic length "Troops Of Steel (Fight For Glory)," which clocks in at nearly seven and a half minutes of all-men-play-on-ten metal goodness.

Compulsive collectors should note that Stormspell's CD pressing of Troops Of Steel ends with two bonus tracks that are not available on the digital version of the album. The walloping "Questions" and the four-on-the-floor crusher "Gods Of War" cap the disc off on a satisfactorily metal-as-f*ck note.

In short, if your neck isn't sore from headbanging after listening to this album...then you need to press "repeat" and play it again!

Summing It Up

Retro metal albums may be a dime a dozen nowadays, but Troops Of Steel was a fun listen, thanks to Pancho's impressive guitar prowess, his Kai Hansen-esque vocal style, and his all around fanboy enthusiasm. This is not a guy who's trying to re-invent the wheel, he just wants to use his skills to pay homage to the heavy metal heroes who came before him, and there's nothing wrong with that!

The more I listened to Troops Of Steel, the more I realized that the album bears a strong similarity to The War Of Steel Has Begun, the 2011 debut by Cederick's Rocka Rollas. Both albums are gloriously loud n proud, no frills, meat n' potatoes melodic speed metal worshipping at the altar of Walls Of Jericho era Helloween, early Gamma Ray, classic Judas Priest, Restless & Wild era Accept, and Heavy Metal Breakdown era Grave Digger. If you like any of those bands/albums, you will find much to enjoy in the grooves of Troops Of Steel.

For more information on Merciless Law, you can check out their Bandcamp page, and Troops Of Steel CDs can be purchased from Stormspell Records' official store. As usual, Stormspell's CD release is an ultra-mega-limited pressing of only 300 copies, so you'll have to act fast if you want to add this primo slab of speed metal to your collection. Horns up, and here's to more Merciless Law in the (hopefully) near future!

Pancho Ireland

Pancho Ireland

© 2022 Keith Abt

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