Greetings Erik from Hungary, I'm Leslie. I know from your label, you were in Spain. What did you do there? How did you feel yourself in Spain? Did you have a good time? Or did you do a tour?

Hello hungary! Yeah, I was in Barcelona on a short vacation, great place man, go there if you got nothing better to do!

I'm very happy, that MERCILESS is back. What was the reason, the motivation of your comeback? I think the fans are surprised, aren't they?

Don't know if people got suprised, but we've received a lot of great response anyway! Our bassman Karlén recorded one song 1998 with some other dudes helping him out, after that I got inspired and started to write songs, too.

As I know, you have had an attempt in 1999, you have given some gigs?

That's right, we did a couple of gigs in Sweden and got a fuckn' awsome welcome back response from the great fans that showed up, that also gave us inspiration to really make a new album.

Behind the drums there is again Peter Stjärnwind (ENTOMBED, UNANIMATED, ...), who has played on "The Treasures Within" and "Unbound". Why didn't take part the original drummer Stefan Carlsson in the reunion of MERCILESS? Do you know something about him?

First of all! Stefen Carlsson hereafter called "Stipen" played on our first two albums, Peter joined on "Unbound". Stipen was playing with other bands during the time of the reunion, BUT! He've been playing five gigs with us lately as Peter has been to busy playing with ENTOMBED.

When did you begin to work on the new album? Did you often rehearse? Were there some songs, which aren't on the new album? Tell us about the new record, about the songs, about the lyrics and about the cover. Are you satisfied with your achivement? Are you satisfied with the sound?

As I said, the work began back in 1998, we made the songs at home, then me and Peter got together and made demos, after that we sent it to Rogga, who added the vocals in another studio, a great way to work, we didn't rehearse more than 2-3 times before the real album recording.There are two songs that we didn't brought on the album.Yes we're satisfied about the record, even proud of it.

When you compare the new album to the old, classical ones, are there differences? Did you develope during the past few years? I really hope so, even if you wanna keep your style you got to do something new and different, otherwise there's no point to make another record. Right! As a matter of fact your style (thrash metal) isn't changed, pure, aggressive, fast thrash metal can be listened on the album. Do you agree with me?

Yes but!

The new album was released by Black Lodge. What's that kind of a label? How did you get in touch with them? How many items did
they sell from the new album?

It's in fact the best label we ever had, great guys to work with! Don't know how much the record has sold, about 4000 so far I think, mostly in Sweden.

Of course I may ask you about your past. When was MERCILESS formed? Do you remember about your first rehearses? Which bands have had an effect on you? How was the Swedish scene at that time?

We started back in 1986, 14-15 years old boys thrashing there brains out, Our first reh place was an old garage which we rebuilt, tiny but evil place! The scene started more seriously about 88-89 when we played around Sweden with ENTOMBED, DISMEMBER, GRAVE, TIAMAT and others.

There were such bands, which were talented, but never become successful. For example, I like OBSCURITY very much. Do you know something about them?

I don't know much about them, just remember their demos, we never came in contact with them.

You have recorded two demos. What kind of responses did you get? About five years theiy were released on 7" EP by To The Death Records. Did you listen to this release?

We got great response on the 2nd demo which gave us the deal to record "The Awakening". Don't think I've heard that release acctally!

Your debut "The Awakening" was released in 1990. Tell me please about this record. In my opinion this is a classic underground thrash stuff.

It was an early "Reign In Blood", only 27 min pure fucking hate. We recorded and mixed it in five days and the songs was laid live, only vocals and git leads were put on afterwards.

In 1999 "The Awakening" was re-released by Osmose Productions. Is there a difference between the original version and the re-released one?

The rerelease is remastred and contains 4 live tracks from -90 (also the cover is colored and not like the original in black/white. The LP included a 7” with the four livetracks – Leif).

"The Awakening" was released official by Deathlike Silence Production which belonged to Euronymus. How did you get in touch with him? Does he help and support the band? What kind of personality was he?

He contacted us, they came to Sweden one day during the recording, thats the only time I've met him so I didn't really know him.

When Euronymus came up: do you like the old MAYHEM? What do you think about the death of Euronymus? Why was he killed by Count "dickhead" Griskhnah (Varg Vikernes)?

I don't know a shit about that, we play music that's enough for us!

At the beginning of the 90ies was a Norwegian movement which was called Inner Circle. Did you hear about this organization? Do you know, what they did? Anyway, do you like black metal?

Not very much actually, there are some cool bands of course, DARK THRONE for example.

Back to MERCILESS. Your second album was “The Treasures Within” in 1992. What can you say about this album?

The songs were good but the sound was terrible, now rereleased remastered with new cover, much better!

This album and the next one were released by No Fashion Records. Why did you leave the label of Euronymus? Did your new label promise you something? Were they better than Deathlike Silence Productions?

DSP didn't pay much attention to MERCILESS after a while, think they focused more on MAYHEM so we decided to change.

In 1994 "Unbound" came out. How was this album? At this time thrash metal wasn’t that popular. I think, all MERCILESS releases are great.

The most melodic stuff we've made, it was great to work with producer Danne Swanö who took the album to a higher level, I think.

Were you on tour? With which bands did you play together? How many gigs did you made? Why didn't you record an live-album? Do you like live-albums?

The only longer tour we've ever made was 1993 with ENTOMBED in Scandinavia, we recorded a live DVD May last year, will be out now
in February, think we've played like 50 gigs but only 5 outside Sweden.

What happened with MERCILESS after the release of "Unbound"? Why did the band split-up? What did you do, what was your occupation?

We lost inspiration to go on, canceled tours and lack of support from the record company, and the scene was pretty dead. I didn't play in other projects, but Karlén and Peter played together in a band called LOUD PIPES.

Some great thrash bands of the 80ies are back again, like Destruction, Death Angel, Assassin, Holy Moses, Necrodeath, Nuclear Assault, Nasty Savage, Agent Steel etc. Will be thrash popular again?

I think the Thrash will stay popular for a couple of years more, then we have to wait 20 years to the next period.

Do you like the bands, which I mentioned? Did you listen to their comeback albums? Why did they return again?

I don't really know the reason why we came back, I guess we all got a call to this music, we listened mostly to Destruction, Kreator, Slayer.

What do you think about the career of METALLICA? Did you listen to "St. Anger" album?

They where a great band on the 3 first records, then I don't care much about the rest.

What could you say about the Swedish underground scene? What is the difference between the metal scene of the 80ies and the metal scene of nowadays? In your opinion, is metal a lifestyle or business?

Both! if you have the opportunity to make money on playing music you're burning for, why not? The scene in the 80ies was much smaller, that's the biggest difference.

What do you do in your free time? Do you read often fanzines? Which fanzines do you like? In your opinion, playing fanzines an improtant role in the underground scene?

Yes, of course! And I also read about The Fanthom and Spanish!

Erik, I hope my questions weren't boring, I hope you enjoyed the interview. Tell me please about your future plans. Please, close the interview. Hail Merciless, hail thrash metal!

Thanx a lot for the interview, we really hope to meet you on a MERCILESS gig in Hungary some day, Cheers man!

Interview: David Laszlo