What fascinates me more than fucking anything about doing this review bullshit is revisiting bands after seeing what they’re capable of. Particularly the underground groups, and to see one familiar name explode in terms of masterful musicianship and create a truly quality album is an enlightenment of a totally different kind. Merchant had my interest with last year’s record of “Suzerain”, but it is their follow-up of “Beneath” that has my utmost respect.
I remember Merchant’s previous piece being heavy, riff-filled, and pretty psyched up which led to a pretty interesting concoction the likes of which isn’t exactly foreign to my ears. However, I could tell that the minds behind Merchant had something up their sleeves so I kept the band in the back of my brain and hoped I’d be around for another attempt. Lucky for me, that time has come in the form of “Beneath” and it shoots right past everything Merchant has done so far as a band in just about every single day. “Beneath” features all but two tracks in its entirety, but both have an incredible run time of over fourteen minutes! That’s not uncommon by any means for doom metal, but that never ceases to amaze me, and given the fact that every single one of those minutes with Merchant are filled to the absolute brim with crushing awesomeness wrought by crunchy rhythms, intense vocals, and a fiery will that simply cannot be doused. All of “Beneath” is nonstop doom metal delight peppered with psychedelia to keep things extra spicy and tantalizing which few bands can do rarely with even one record, but Merchant manages to do it twice in a fucking row.
This is pretty far from being the next thing in doom metal by any means, but if there is a tier of up and coming groups that have absolutely got to be heard for all of the right reasons then Merchant absolutely deserves to be there one hundred percent! They’ve got the sound, the capability, the talent, and the will to make themselves great. “Beneath” is precisely what we need to spice up our heavy as fuck playlists and grace our CD shelves, and I’ve no doubt that this band can do it again and even better than this spectacle. Mark my words.
“Beneath” releases on May 12th via Black Bow Records!
There’s currently no preview of any kind for “Beneath”, so a full stream to Merchant’s previous effort of “Suzerain” is here.
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