28 September 2014

Merlin - "Christ Killer"



Merlin - Christ Killer

Something wicked this way comes.

Merlin is a band I've been following for an awfully long time. I picked up one of their very first hand made CD's at Love Garden Sounds, and I faithfully followed them through their gradual progression into becoming one of my favorite bands. Through releases like their frightening Nachtamar and their intense and wild live shows, Merlin was permanently infused deep in my head. And while their last self titled album was not my favorite of theirs (mostly do to some recording flaws and weaker tracks), it still has some of my favorite songs and riffs from the band. However, in 2014 the band brings us yet another piece of their creation, the ever blasphemous Christ Killer. And holy crap. This album blew me away.

While Merlin felt like a much more home recorded album in the DIY style of their past effort, Christ Killer feels like a studio quality recording. Right off the bat it has this wonderfully full sound that wasn't present on past records. To me, this album is Merlin's full realized potential. Everything I knew they could become, and even more. From the first notes of impending doom on the intro "Overture," I felt this sense of fear and dread over what was to come next. The band just lets this song build and build with instrumentation, pulling you into the world as they see it. And this song is barely over 2 and a half minutes (far and away the shortest track Merlin offers on the record). From there, the band jumps into the very southern rock infused "Execution." This track is easily one of the catchiest things I've heard Merlin put together, and I love every second of it. It's just straight up blood pumping, and has killer riffs coming from the bands two guitarists. The bass is thick and fuzzy, and the drums are just recorded and played perfectly. And the little breakdown/transition the band throws in during the songs final 40 seconds is incredible. After this is the 8 and a half minute "Deal With The Devil," a slowly building and evolving metal track that feels like it could be something written back during the genre's heyday. It lets itself develop and grow into an incredible, relentless beast of musical power that I really really enjoy. Speaking of gradually developing tracks, Christ Killer's final two tracks are the masters of mounting musical tension. The first of these two, "Lucifer's Revenge," mutates and builds almost like one of the more groove heavy tracks from a recent Swans record. And god is it fantastic (no pun intended). The album comes to a very impressive end with "The Christkiller." This track transports you into a scene straight out of a western and it keeps you there for the entire running time. With the slow building introduction with swirling airy noises, twangy acoustic guitar, and bongos, it just slowly burns a hole right into your head. It's beautiful and haunting at the same time. It's over 6 and half minutes into the track that the track seems to break into a southern metal jam that shakes you to the core. It's not blood pumping, or even exciting. It's almost terrifying. You feel like Merlin is just billowing into the earth, going deeper and deeper to find hell, and they're taking you with them. As you hear some guitar feedback, it seems to signal the end of your journey.

In summary, Christ Killer is Merlin at their very best. Every single musician who worked on this record really put in their maximum effort, and god did it pay off. This is the record that I knew Merlin had in them since their beginnings, and I'm so happy that they finally have all the resources to take their music into another freaking dimension. I love this record, and I'll be amazed to see how Merlin tops this one. Check it out as soon as possible.

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