Merlock, You Cannot Be Saved (2021)

The new EP from psychedelic stoner band Merlock is a reflection on the past and a projection into the future.

From the wilds of Spokane, Washington comes Taylor D. Waring (vocals, guitar), Andrew Backes (bass), and Lucas Wild Barrey (drums). Merlock, trimmed down to a trio, plays doom-ridden psychedelic metal tuned through a smoky filter. The new album is their third EP, following Merlock (2018) and That Which Speaks… (2020).

You Cannot Be Saved has six tracks including three re-worked songs from the earlier EPs, a track from the past that hadn’t been recorded up till now, one new song from the forthcoming long-player, and a tasty cover of “Electric Funeral.” The music was recorded “live on Halloween weekend to capture the band’s organic energy and psychedelic leanings.”

Having heard some of this music before, it is interesting to see how it has changed with the “live” recording and the refashioned line-up. I have to say the groaning guitars and grungy lead and vocals land even better with me this time around, especially on “Idolon.”

I felt a ravaging sense of hopelessness when listening to “Where No One Goes” which I quite liked. I ran that track twice. The lead work toward the end is a sonic transcendence. “Gloomtrain” is much more actively vehement and draws my appreciation for that reason.

The cover of “Electric Funeral” is faithful in the rhythm and vastly different in the vocal presentation. I found it fascinating. Truly, the inflection completely changes how you feel about this song even with the same lyrics Ozzy sang. I like all the tracks on the album but it is worth listening in just to hear this cover. Recommended.

You Cannot Be Saved gets let loose on November 19th. That’s a Friday. Check out the band’s website for more info or look to Bandcamp for the concise circumstances.





Merlock, You Cannot Be Saved (2021)

Merlock, that which speaks … review (2020)

Merlock unleashes an intense labyrinth of ruin and decay with the epic EP that which speaks…

This Spokane, Washington foursome released a three-song demo in 2018 that had great, traditional sounding metal reminiscent of Ritchie Blackmore in a dark mood. This new one is different, more straight ahead doom and sludge, and with even grimmer themes than the 2018 songs. The press photos of the band are tongue-in-cheek and light hearted, but the lyrics sure aren’t. How about this stanza from the leadoff song, “spit out your purple lung/they will drown you/as you learn to swim/so claw your way to the surface,” and then this, “your reality devoured/in this realm of hopelessness/disgorge your viscera/abandon your human form.” Not exactly a traditional letter home, eh?

A lonely hum and a faraway bass line eases you into “Idolon,” the first song on the album. The build is steady then steep, with heavy a bass presence throughout and hammer drop cliffs in a couple places. The vocals alternate between hoarse shrieks and melodic incantations. A wailing guitar solo closes the door near the end. “Prolapse” is next, and is more up-tempo and has a death metal tone to start, before turning Opethish then clamping down on the doom artery at the halfway point. “[vessel]” is a song where the music is the absolute perfect match to the narrative of the lyrics, “wandering through this world barren of true light/the moon eats shadows on a sun it swallows whole.” Hopelessness objectified. The last word is “Condemnation,” which seems fitting. Don’t let the peppy opening vamp fool you – the path ahead is dour in the extreme. The vocals at the beginning are a hissing reptile, and at the end, a disembodied tortured spirit. This album is an experience, and it will put you in a very particular place. I really got into this music and I can’t wait to hear what Merlock does next. Recommended.

Out now and available at Bandcamp, that which speaks… is ready for the taking. It is labeled as an EP, but with a running time of just over thirty minutes, it is as long as a lot of “full-length” albums I have bought in my day.


Merlock, that which speaks … review (2020)