Merlin - The Mortal review




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Reviewer:
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11 users:
7.73
Band: Merlin
Album: The Mortal
Release date: August 2019


01. Prologue
02. Tower Fall
03. Chaos Blade
04. Ashen Lake
05. Mindflayer
06. Basilisk
07. Metamorphosis
08. The Mortal Suite


Hey, it's the saxophone jazzy stoner metal band! No, not Messa. The other one.

Merlin caught my eye with last year's The Wizard [read all about it], coincidentally their first album with Stu Kersting, who plays guitars but most importantly saxophone. I was a bit surprised to learn that it was their fourth album, making The Mortal their fifth. The relatively short time frame between the two did make me wonder whether it will be more of the same and whether they'll be able to integrate the saxophone even better. Yes and no. Or rather no and yes.

The Mortal is clearly a step forward from the The Wizard, taking the sound that the latter had and making it more brooding and lush, sounding more akin to the latest album by that other band I mentioned in the intro, which is a pretty high standard. There still are some grooves that would've fit on The Wizard, but for the most part it is a mesmerizing mood that captivates the entirety of The Mortal, which is where the saxophone does a lot more work than previously. So yes, it is better integrated, and no, it's not more of the same. But it's quite chaotic and wild even at its mellowest.

It's not just the saxophone that makes The Mortal stand out, with some guest musicians adding some accordion and trumpet as well, not to mention that the band has three guitarists, but two of them also do sax, flutes or keyboards, so there are plenty of sounds to hear here. And whether moody and jazzy or groovy and psychedelic, Merlin manage to create some very convincingly great melodies. There's a bit of work left on the flow and the production, especially the latter, but this is such a great step forward that I don't have any doubt that Merlin have the potential to grow even further even at such a "late" period in their career.

Of course, as with the last album everything is wrapped up with a suite, the longest track on the album, that brings together everything that made the album great. It's still far from being among the best in its genre, but it does just enough great to still be up for consideration.



 



Written on 31.08.2019 by My opinion is objective, sorry if you don't agree, but you're wrong.


Comments

Comments: 9   Visited by: 66 users
01.09.2019 - 06:47
Batlord666
These guys are from my town, I've met one of them at the bar he bartends at. Super cool guy, it's awesome to see them reviewed here!
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01.09.2019 - 11:21
nikarg
Old Nick
I think the only problem with this is that the sax is so sexy that when it is not there the music is somewhat less interesting. Obviously they are very good musicians and even though I am not entirely convinced by the songwriting, I like the doom/jazz fusion a lot.
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02.09.2019 - 12:24
JoHn DoE
Sounds good, definitely gonna listen to this. Thanks!
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02.09.2019 - 18:58
tominator
At best deranged
I just love the energy that this record has. It feels fresh and fun. And it's one of those records that goes by so fast that you realise you're listening to the last song of the album already.

I agree though that the production could use some tweaking. Especially the drums, they are regularly pushed a bit too much to the background.
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11.09.2019 - 21:27
Apothecary
PsyCHEdelic
Written by nikarg on 01.09.2019 at 11:21

I like the doom/jazz fusion a lot.

Then might I recommend...
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Now who should I call? Should I call Mr. Strawberry?
No, I don't think I'll call Mr. Strawberry. I don't think he's taking calls.
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12.09.2019 - 00:15
Apothecary
PsyCHEdelic
Just passed the second track but I can tell already that this is some pretty great material. Good review of it. I think I actually enjoy this a good bit more than Messa, seems a little more airy and atmospheric which makes it a lot easier to fall back and get lost in.
----
Now who should I call? Should I call Mr. Strawberry?
No, I don't think I'll call Mr. Strawberry. I don't think he's taking calls.
Loading...
12.09.2019 - 02:15
nikarg
Old Nick
Written by Apothecary on 11.09.2019 at 21:27

Then might I recommend...

Not bad at all, even though it's a bit too droney for my taste and I'm out of mood enhancer at the moment

Written by Apothecary on 12.09.2019 at 00:15

I think I actually enjoy this a good bit more than Messa

This sort of statement can really start a war between us
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12.09.2019 - 02:50
Apothecary
PsyCHEdelic
Quote:
Written by nikarg on 12.09.2019 at 02:15

I think I actually enjoy this a good bit more than Messa

This sort of statement can really start a war between us

I'll be standing by it!

The melodies have been stuck in my head for a good while after listening, it's really attention grabbing. Also playing through it for the second time now I pick up some resemblance to old school prog too, a bit of Jethro Tull or King Crimson influence in the mix, I think. Definitely not a bad thing
----
Now who should I call? Should I call Mr. Strawberry?
No, I don't think I'll call Mr. Strawberry. I don't think he's taking calls.
Loading...
12.09.2019 - 03:01
nikarg
Old Nick
Written by Apothecary on 12.09.2019 at 02:50

The melodies have been stuck in my head for a good while after listening, it's really attention grabbing. Also playing through it for the second time now I pick up some resemblance to old school prog too, a bit of Jethro Tull or King Crimson influence in the mix, I think. Definitely not a bad thing

Don't get me wrong, I like the album. It's just that Messa are way too awesome for me.
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