From looking at that cover you can deduce two things if you really think about it: (1) this is either going to be an excruciatingly awesome piece that holds nothing back and is as mysterious as it is intense, or (2) this is a record that’s somewhat ambitious and has real energy about it. Both of those are correct as Merchant’s first full length album of “Suzerain” is a record of doom/sludge metal that truly holds nothing back.
This combination of metal sub-genres (doom and sludge) is as often a mix as hydrogen and oxygen, it’s fucking everywhere if you’re looking. That’s because they go so well together much of the time and Merchant is the latest band to show how true of a statement that is. And sticking to the tradition of such a combination, “Suzerain” has a scant four songs on it but they clock well over a half hour when you put them together to create a crushing stretch of metal that offers no mercy and hardly a second to breathe not to mention gather your thoughts. A set of the regular guitars, bass, drums, and vocals bring a raw feel to “Suzerain” that come together to create a record that really packs a punch that keeps coming at you over and over again each time more vicious than the last, and coming in waves in the form of eight to over twenty minutes of primal energy embodied as sludgy doom metal. But throughout the record you can definitely feel that Merchant have dropped that ball in a few areas like how the one track that’s over 20 minutes doesn’t quite feel like its length does it justice, but that’s to be somewhat expected from a band that is only just getting the wheels in their heads turning and that I can understand, and it doesn’t take away from the above average quality that “Suzerain” contains as well.
An impressive piece of its genre, “Suzerain” definitely show that Merchant is a band that is one that should be kept a close eye on because after they iron out the few kinks in their sound and formula I’ve confidence they can create something truly smashing.
“Suzerain” releases on April 18th!
LISTEN to the track “Seed & Soil” on Bandcamp here or below.
LIKE Merchant on Facebook here.