Unmerciful have made quite a name for themselves in the underground with the debut Unmercifully Beaten which was put out via Unique Leader in 2006. The band includes former personnel from brutal death metallers Origin. This is noticeable in the music, but not in a major way. I recently got the chance to ask vocalist Tony Reust about the recent split with guitarist Jeremy Turner, the album, the songwriting and the artwork as well as a bunch of other things.

Tony Reust interviewed by PSL

I read something about Jeremy Turner quitting the band. Is this true?
Yeah, Jeremy quit in San Francisco, just couldn't handle not being around his new born. We don't have any hard feelings about the situation. We finished out the tour without him and it went very smoothly. We have played without him before so it wasn't a huge deal.

Are you currently looking for a replacement?
Yeah, we've been talking to a few people, nothing is for sure yet, but we should have a replacement in the next couple of weeks.

Will his departure affect the direction or sound of the band?
Nah not too much, he did write a few of the newer songs, but Clint and James wrote the majority of Unmercifully Beaten. We are still writing technical music that doesn't leave out the groove or the brutality.

Unmercifully Beaten has been out for a while now. How has the reactions been so far?
For the most part the response has been great! It goes both ways you know, we have people that don't like it because they are expect hear an Origin CD, then we have those people who love it because it is a little more structured and repeats riffs.

Clint, James and Jeremy have previously played with Origin. Did this affect the song writing on Unmercifully Beaten in any way?
I guess. I know that James and Clint were trying to stay away from a lot of sweeping and one handed rolls. In fact James doesn't do any one handed rolls on the CD. They just wanted to write well structured death metal that is relentless and heavy.

I think most of the songs on Unmercifully Beaten are quite diverse. What do you think makes a good, violent and brutal song?
Grooves and breakdowns for sure. They add the element of feeling to the music and if you mix that with blistering speed you're bound to induce some sort of violence somewhere.

Your songs are fairly short, but in a positive way as there is no unnecessary filler. Is this something you think of when writing the music?
Yeah, we wanted the music to be straight forward. Right to the point.

You had Alex Webster appear on the song "Shotgun Sodomy". How did that come around?
When Jeremy left Origin it was to go on tour with Cannibal Corpse, he went all over the place with them. He told them about us and Alex expressed some interest and said he'd like to lay down bass tracks for one of the songs. It turned out fucking bad ass!

You've included a live recording of Suffocation's "Catatonia". How come you went for a live version instead of doing a studio rendition of the song?
We really wanted to do this song live because this song was more about showing respect where it was due than playing it perfect note for note. Suffocation made death metal what it is today.

Clint recorded and mixed the album along with the rest of Unmerciful. What made you decide to record it by yourselves?
When we recorded this CD we were in the process of looking for a record label and we knew we would look more appealing if we had the CD already recorded. That way the record label would only have to take care of mastering and pressing the CD.

Did you achieve the sound and production you were aiming for?
All and all we are pleased with the way it turned out. There are always those little things that bug you about recordings, but this is pretty good.

Pär Olofsson did the artwork. Was it painted out from specific ideas you had or did you just leave it up to Pär to come up with something?
Pär was great to work with, he asked us what we wanted and we said we just want a picture of somebody tortured and beaten, and there you have it.

How is your relationship with Unique Leader? A lot of their bands have for some reason left them in the last year or so!
They have been really good to us so far, we stay in contact with them and they stay in contact with us. We appreciate those guys a lot.

Have you commenced work on the follow-up to Unmercifully Beaten?
Yeah, we have one new song that we play live and are working on a couple more at the moment.

Is it possible that a new Unmerciful album will be released in 2007?
Maybe, we are trying to get on the road and do some touring right now, but it's possible we would like to get going on recording in fall or so.

How is the death metal scene doing in the Topeka area and Kansas in general? I can only think of you and Origin!
The death metal scene is small, but committed. There are some real young kids with a lot of talent here they just have to get their heads out of their ass and stop listening to pussy shit! But there is definitely a lot of talent here. The drummer for Through the Eyes of the Dead went to high school with me and is a good friend of mine and the band Diskreet is fast and heavy.

You recently completed a longer US/Canadian tour with Cannibal Corpse, Dying Fetus and Necrophagist. How did that go?
Amazing! All those guys are great! We played packed show from ocean to ocean and back. Most of the shows were sold out and the crowd response was great. We met a lot of badass people on the road.

Any possibilities of seeing Unmerciful live in Europe in 2007?
I hope so we are working with a booking agent and trying to get something set up, but at the moment there isn't anything on the table. We are going to do every thing to make that happen.

Anything you wish to add to conclude this interview?
We just want to thank all of our fans for supporting us and to you for taking the interest! Spread the word - Unmerciful will break your teeth out!

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