On this 1977 album, Nazareth makes a full-blooded return to the hard rock sound they had neglected since their success with Hair of the Dog. The result is a potent, driving slab of hard rock that will please Nazareth fans and devotees of 1970s hard rock alike. The album sets its frenzied tone right off the bat with its title track, a blistering rocker that features Dan McCafferty spitting out a sharp-edged vocal about life's cruelty over a series of fast and relentless guitar riffs. The remainder of the album prominently features a similarly brutal string of rockers: standouts include "Revenge Is Sweet," a paean to getting even that combines chugging guitar riffs with a stomping beat, and "Gimme What's Mine," a fierce declaration of dominance that layers Southern rock-styled riffs over a churning bassline. Despite this preponderance of hard rocking tunes, Expect No Mercy isn't just a guitar-fest. It also takes time to explore country-rock (there is an excellent, rocked-up cover of the country standard "Busted" as well as a honky tonk-style original called "Place in Your Heart") and even a little bit of funk (a hard-grooving slice of funk-rock fusion called "New York Broken Toy"). The album never takes the daring stylistic chance within the hard rock formula that distinguished Razamanaz or Hair of the Dog, but this is minor quibble in light of the album's high levels of consistency and quality. In short, Expect No Mercy is a treat for Nazareth fans and a solid listen for any hard rock fan who wants a good indication of the group's style.
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AllMusic Review by Donald A. Guarisco