Black Bow Records has remained committed to putting out some of the most potent heavy music of the last few years, with one of the peaks coming out on May 12th, Merchants sophomore release Beneath. These Australian doomsters have a sound very reminiscent of their peers in bands like Yob or Samothrace, crushing forward with a devastating bass, but also reflecting on the power of a good guitar tone and inching ever closer to a sense of sonic absolution only attainable through true doom metal.
What gets me though is that as opposd to many of their peers the vocals on Beneath are surprisingly down to earth and grim. They add a touch of black metal to a band that could easily get lost up its own ass in Yob worship. There is a sort of perpetual crush to what Merchant are doing on Beneath, an endearing sense of motion that is simultaneously tempered by a desire to just sit back, enjoy the power of a good rhythm section and revel in instrumentals. That's the thing that pushes Merchant to the next level by the way, the fact that their rhythm section, an oft ignored part of the stoner doom continuum, is truly great.
Though it's only two tracks long it's easy to get lost in what Merchant has to offer on Beneath. They regularly unleash the sort of aural devastation that you thought could hardly be developed in 2017. New bands rarely take the time and put in the effort to create something as refined as what Merchant have done here. Beneath is a record that allows you to properly enjoy the beauty of the genre and delve into sonic wastelands of the sort few of their peers could even touch on. Now I just want to hear how this band grows!
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