Thursday 18 January 2018

MERLIN - The Wizard (Album Review)

Release date: January 26th 2018. Label: The Company KC. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

The Wizard – Tracklisting

Sage's Crystal Staff
Iron Borne
Tarantula Hawk
The Wizard Suite


Caleb Wyels - Percussion
Carter Lewis- Guitar
Jordan Knorr - Vocals
Chase Thayer - Bass
Stu Kersting - Saxophone


I'm going to say now that I think Merlin's new album - The Wizard - is a superbly produced and an hugely entertaining album. The only problem that I have with this album is the saxophone that the band have added to certain parts of the album. Stu Kersting who plays the saxophone does a superb job and it does indeed sound fantastic. However I felt the album could have been a much better experience without it. That's my only criticism of this album.

Merlin have created a rich example of different doom based sounds with songs such as Abyss, Gravelord, Golem, Iron Bone and The Wizard Suite being the main highlights of the album. The music is quite progressive and psychedelic at times and most of the songs contain a cool story or idea about Merlin and Wizard Life in general. The Wizard is more seventies prog rock based than their last album and the vocals from Jordan holds everything together. The lyrics are quite catchy at times showing that Merlin have a flair for both musical and lyrical content.

This is the kind of album that marches to its own beat and doesn't worry about sounding different to other Doom Metal bands currently out there. The production allows Merlin to fully expand their sound and it's the little things that you miss listening to the album for the very first time that you begin to notice upon further listens. Such as how Merlin weave different styles of music and matching instruments that shouldn't really work but actually do. The atmosphere is heavy and gloomy especially during the heavy metal/retro rock sounding moments.

I know within time that the Saxophone parts will soon become part of the albums DNA and I will probably adore everything about this album. It's kind of cool that The Wizard will leave you frustrated at times but the album has more than enough going for it to entice you back under its magical spell. Even the saxophone parts of Sage's Crystal Staff is slowly taking over my musical soul. It's one of the shortest songs on the album but it's slowly becoming one of my favourite songs on the album.

Merlin has delivered a wickedly entertaining and devilish sounding album with The Wizard. I can see this album perhaps dividing the Doom Metal community but it's always good to have a band or album to challenge the status quo. If you're a dedicated Doom Metal fan then you need this album in your life and record collection. No question.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to The Company KC for the promo. The Wizard will be available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl via The Company KC from January 26th 2018.