By: Steve Wilson
Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 09/03/2016
Label: PRC Music
While Merlin may sound a little too much like their influences for some people's taste, “Electric Children” has a lot to offer listeners, and it shouldn't be cast off after just one listen. With a sound reminiscent of Om and Sleep and striking just the right balance between Hawkwind and Saint Vitus, Merlin accomplish what they set out to do which is obliterate your mind with a witches' brew of epic towering riffs and '70's era doom jams
“Electric Children” CD//DD track listing:
1 Bad Trip (02:58)
2 Electric Children (05:56)
3 Will 'o' the Wisp (06:21)
4 Interlude (02:28)
5 Night Creep (03:41)
6 War Bringer (05:21)
7 A Reprisal For Julia (01:40)
8 Tales of The Wasteland (23:21)
Merlin are a four piece heavy psych doom band from Kansas City, Missouri, USA. They formed in 2012 and have already released two records prior to this one – their self-titled 2013 debut album and the five-track “Christ Killer” EP, released in 2014.
Merlin are a band that very much wear their influences on their collective sleeves. They are more at home enjoying the music they make than trying to be original. The band describe themselves as having one purpose: “to obliterate your mind with a witches' brew of epic towering riffs and '70's era doom jams far too spacey to be of this planet.” Mission accomplished then!
Opening track 'Bad Trip' has a droning riff and chanting vocals that sound reminiscent of Om and Sleep. The band then step up the tempo for the title track, which strikes a balance between Hawkwind and Saint Vitus, alternating between a mid-paced punky riff and a slower, half-time chorus. The third track is more of a straight up psych doom track that evokes memories of “We Live”-era Electric Wizard.
A short instrumental track, appropriately titled 'Interlude,' marks the album's halfway point. Here we are treated to a short two minute synth track with a heavy John Carpenter vibe to it. Merlin are obviously fans of his movies and soundtracks (as I'm sure most doom fans are including myself!) and 'Interlude' is a great tribute to his work. The second half of the album sees the band delve further into their list of influences with the rocky 'Night Creep' - a somewhat obvious nod to Uncle Acid and The Deadbeats, before returning to the their default psych doom setting.
Closing track 'Tales of The Wasteland' deserves a special mention, if only for its duration. This psychedelic doom epic clocks in at an impressive 23:21, beginning with a slow, bluesy jam before morphing into a stoner doom groove. The band endeavour to merge Pink Floyd and Sleep together on this last track, and just about pull it off.
The album was recorded live between October 2014 and August 2015 which explains its relaxed feel and further highlights the band's musical skill. While Merlin may sound a little too much like their influences for some people's taste, “Electric Children” has a lot to offer listeners, and it shouldn't be cast off after just one listen. It sounds a lot more impressive when given a second or third spin and there is some great playing on here too.