Lankester Merrin – Dark Mother Rises (Black Sunset)

Monday, 27th March 2023
Rating: 8 / 10

For those curious souls wondering how these Germans got their name – Lankester Merrin comes from the fictional character Father Lankester Merrin in the novel The Exorcist. A quintet of musicians that started in 2019, they released their debut album Upon the Forgotten in the spring of 2021 – getting right down to business on the follow-up as live venues shut down to coronavirus. Dark Mother Rises contains nine melodic power metal tracks, very catchy on the choruses beyond the aggressive rhythms, twin guitar harmonies, or solid rhythm section backbone driving these anthems home.

The immediate impact of the twin rhythms and additional cultural/power supplementation out of guitarists Flo Schulz and Chris Müller is not lost on highlight cuts like “Medusa” and opener “We Ride the Storm” – aspects of early Blind Guardian, Orden Ogan, and Powerwolf coming to mind in terms of riffs and heroic transitions. At times early 80’s influences from the West Coast/ Sunset Strip scene crop up as in the mid-tempo anthem “Perfect Illusion”, the musical components slither about perfectly next to the seductive lower register delivery from Cat Rodgers – recalling the greatness of W.A.S.P. next to Metal Heart-era Accept. Call and response chorus work beyond the natural crunchy power riffs makes “Stranger” another barnburner, the double kick foundation very energetic while the lead play incorporates the proper tasty to shred quotient that brings out the air guitar player in us all. And what wouldn’t be heavy metal without another ode to Lizzie Borden and her swinging of the axe for “Sweet Lizzie” – galloping riffs plus a measured chorus with the key line of giving her father ’41!’ whacks. Recording in Hannover with Hannes Duke and Willi Dammeier, the sound has the right balance of aggression plus traditional finesse, all the instruments heard in a clear yet powerful manner.

Dark Mother Rises is a tight, tidy record at 38 minutes and change that stirs up melodic power metal followers who love fist waving anthems with a sinister vocalist possessing heavy pipes in ideal positions song to song. Teutonic metal is in capable hands for the new generation as Lankester Merrin will turn some heads through their past to present outlook stylistically.

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