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Review: Merlin - Deathkoteque

Label: Great White North Records
Year released: 1997
Duration: 37:03
Tracks: 10
Genre: Death Metal

Rating: 3.75/5

Review online: July 11, 2003
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Readers Rating

Rated 2.67/5 (53.33%) (3 Votes)

Okayyyyyy. Got this promo CD from Great White North Records with 8 albums of stuff on it in MP3. I’ll start with the good stuff, then do the crappy stuff, then save the boring stuff for the last. Merlin are actually the best band on this thing. I was under the impression that GWN were a grindcore label, but there is a lot of variety to their roster. "Deathkoteque" was the first real album-length recording for this Russian death metal band, and I like it a lot.

"Deathkoteque" (silly title that, too precious by half) is a packed with good old-fashioned death metal very much in the Morbid Angel mode. There are some thrashier elements, and some grindy, blasty passages, but for the most part this is straight-ahead death that relies mostly on a Floridian sound, but also pulls in some European elements. The guitar tone is reminiscent of a Sunlight sound, and the raspy roar of bassist/vocalist Maria Abaza falls somewhere between David Vincent and Dissection’s Jon Nodtveidt. There are a lot of cool riffs here, and even if the songs don’t really hang together or establish individual identities, this is still a good listen. Merlin don’t just play fast, but keep changing things up with slow parts, grindier bits, and some pretty good Azagthoth-style solos to keep life interesting.

I got this on a CDR, so I can’t really comment on the packaging or the lyrics. The cover was in here as a jpeg, and it’s pretty silly. I do like the way the label sent the albums on the CD though. No logos, no menus, just clearly labeled MP3 files in clearly marked folders. No hassle.

Merlin are a cool band, and this is a good death metal album. They aren’t offering anything new, but they do it up right with cool riffs and a sick guitar tone. "Deathkoteque" isn’t perfect, but it’s a good, visceral exercise in brutal death. Fans of old Morbid Angel or Angel Corpse should not miss this one.

Other related information on the site
Review: They Must Die (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
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