Chuck Schuldiner Project

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Merlin - The Mortal

For those in the loop, Merlin is sort of the stoner rock scenes best kept secret. this truly unique, rarely touring, yet always recording Kansas entity are one of the true masters of the genre. The Mortal is the bands fifth release since 2013, not counting a remix record and a live record. Suffice it to say, these guys like to put out cool music. The thing is, though Merlin sort of fall loosely into the stoner rock sphere of influence they also bring a lot more to the table. With weird instrumentations and kooky songwriting Merlin is as much a prog metal act gone mad as they are anything else.

Tracks like 'Mindflayer' really hint at the madness of Merlin. This is a band who not only are breaking all the rules of normal stoner rock, but who are doing so with glee. This is the sort of band for whom to have a kazoo part wouldn't be a gimmick but rather par for the course. Merlin expertly manipulate cascading waves of sound and the more time you spend with The Mortal the more clear it becomes that these guys truly 'get it.' In an era of bands who all sound the same, Merlin shine forth with unique production, deranged saxophones and the ability to turn a song on its head at the drop of a hat.

The Mortal will probably sit in a similar place for me as its two predecessors, The Wizard and Electric Children do. It's a record that is wonderfully weird, inverting old ideas and hinting at so much more to come. Every next step the band takes makes them a little weirder but also a little more polished, they have become the kind of thing that you either totally get or will never understand. Merlin isn't for everyone, but as the weird dance-y bridge of 'Basilisk' suggests - I think that they like it that way.

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