Review Summary: Generic modern-style instruMetal.
Keith Merrow is solid at all he does, but not exceptional at anything. Imagine the sound of any contemporary metal band using detuned guitars, double bass patterns, groove-laden single-note riffs, that’s topped off with a pinch of Prog and voila!- you’ve got Keith Merrow. While no sections of the album stick out for the wrong reasons, Awaken the Stone King
melts together and forms an album of minimally-varying riffs that’ll blend into the background while you’re focusing your attention elsewhere. The record is consistently “good” throughout, but never grabs the listener by the balls and bashes them across the face with a fistful of elite heavy metal.
Merrow brings in Jeff Loomis for the track Heart of the Sea Nymph
and in typical Loomis fashion, he destroys with blistering speed during the solo. Unfortunately, Loomis’ guest-solo stands out as the most memorable part of the album, which is bad for all the obvious reasons. The final track, Stone King (Awakening Pt. II)
is a ten minute epic that is far more engaging and interesting than most of the previous songs due to the unconventional song structures and unpredictable twists & turns the listener is presented with; the track hints at the core creative potential Merrow possesses, and the zeniths he has the ability to reach when he’s at his best.
Considering the fact Merrow wrote and recorded the entire album in his home in Portland, Oregan, Awaken The Stone King
is far above what the average joe is doing looking for self-made internet success. Despite this, Merrow still falls short of doing anything truly unique, fascinating, or memorable. By my estimation, Merrow seems he would be best suited operating within the context of a complete band where other musicians can offer a free-flowing surplus of ideas and styles to coincide with Merrow’s strong musical foundation; make no mistake about it- Merrow has talent, but he needs some help to take his projects to the next level.
Heart Of The Sea Nymph
Stone King (The Awakening Pt II)