While this is titled “Demos Collection,” it’s actually a discography–the collected works of one of the most ferocious hardcore groups to come out of the Southeast in the last decade. Mercenary’s noisy, heavy riffing blends Scandinavian and Japanese influences, and the drums blaze a frantic d-beat. It’s the vocals, though, that propel their recordings into the stratosphere. Vocalist Michael “Ruby” Rubenstein was at his most unchained in Mercenary, and his performance here has been likened to a “Neanderthal’s battle cry.” While modern science has concluded that Neanderthals were complex primates capable of art and symbolic thought, they were probably terrifying to face in a struggle for survival. While they had some enticing opportunities, the band never committed anything to vinyl save a comp track. They broke up in 2015, leaving behind two tapes and achieving legendary status for their pummeling live performances in Atlanta. In 2021, Ruby passed away unexpectedly, a devastating loss for friends, punks, and music dorks around the world. This album is not only a brutal slab of tuneage, it’s also an important artifact representing Ruby’s life and his love of music. The tracks on this LP have been remixed and remastered to better capture the band’s intensity, and the album comes with a foldout insert and a photo of Ruby in action along with stark cover art by Joe Della. If Mercenary flew under your radar the first time, you missed out. Snag this once and future bonzer now. Proceeds from the sales of this record will go to the Atlanta Harm Reduction Coalition along with some other projects and causes in memory of Ruby that his beloved friends are still in the midst of planning. Limited to a one time pressing of 500 copies.