Friday, July 11, 2014

Merlin - Christ Killer

Let's talk about Merlin. This is a band (out of Kansas City) whom I've known for a little while now. We did a show with them on our tour, we all hit it off, we're doing some show trading, etc, they're all fantastic dudes. So, when they asked me to review their new album, "Christkiller", how could I refuse?

More importantly, why would I? It's fucking good.

If you know anything about Merlin's music you know that in the past they've had a very droned out, "jammy" sound. Erratic tempo changes, surf rock riffs on top Earth-like drums. Yeah, they're one of those bands. Their recordings (until now) have had a very lo-fi, improvisational feel.

Christkiller is somewhat of a departing from there. It still feels fresh, like the band haven't worked on the songs to the point where playing them is just a matter of muscle memory. There are still erratic tempo changes. It still drones. But, there's a structure that wasn't there before. Dynamics that weren't present on the earlier work make themselves available to the listener here. Some of the songs have a Western Gothic feel, others have that psychedelic doom thing that they do so well. There's crushing fuzz, and stompy acoustic guitars, but it all works.

The album is a concept album, it's about an assassin who dies and goes to hell where he's offered, by Satan, the opportunity to dethrone Christ, in return for a kingdom or something. I don't really remember, when Jordan (Merlin's frontman) told me about it we were having a lot of beers in a Hastings parking lot before a show together. Truly, it could be the soundtrack to a spaghetti-western-horror-movie.

Bottom line: Listen to Christkiller. Become a fan of Merlin.

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