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Merlin (Argentina) - 1980 Merlin

ARTIST: Merlin (Argentina)
ALBUM: Merlin
LABEL: Sazam Records
SERIAL: 50-14. 497-7
YEAR: 1980
CD REISSUE: 1999, Mardel-X Records, MRD-2007


LINEUP: Alejandro De Michele - guitars, vocals * Gustavo Montesano - guitars, synthesizer, vocals * Roberto Villace - synthesizer, moog, mellotron, organ, harmonium * Francisco Ojsterzek, Gustavo Dones- bass * Daniel Colombres - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Tragaluz De Plata * 02 Te En Paris * 03 Payasso Olividado * 04 Demonos Cuenta * 05 Malambus Pomposo * 06 Queria Ser El Mejor * 07 Donde Todo Parece Irreal * 08 Un Trozo De Eternidad * 09 Hurra Por La Nena * 10 En Vez De Hablar Del Camino

Two of the bigger names in the Argentinian progressive rock scene come together for a rather interesting one-off. From left to right Alejandro De Michele from Pastoral who released several albums and reached a creative zenith with the 1976 LP 'Humanos' and on the right Gustavo Montesano from what I think was the country's finest band- Crucis who's couple of albums, both released in 1976 are hugely recommended.

The Songs
Now judging by the sleeve, you'd think skinny-tie power pop and after all this was put out in late 1980 but that's not the case. The moniker is a giveaway, but this isn't a straight-laced prog album either. There is a definite AOR/pomp stream running amid the 10 tracks as well as smoking guitar with a fluid use of synth and 'Tragaluz De Plata' (Skylight De Plata) captures all the above. As to be expected with South American rock, the vocals are in Spanish and at times I'm reminded of a rougher, less produced version of Trillion especially in the guitar soloing while other moments such as 'Te En Paris' (Tea in Paris) recall Derringer. The Yes/ Starcastle/Druid axis crops up the appropriately titled 'Malambus Pomposo' (Pompous Malambus) and there's even a little bit of cheeky disco found in the wonderful 'Queria Ser El Mejor' (Wanted to Be the Best) which is one of the set's high watermarks.

In Summary
But perhaps Merlin was a little too clever or maybe just out of step with the times. The album failed to gain significant commercial traction in the region and only playing one show in neighboring Montevideo, Uruguay did little to help matters. The band split in 1982 and sadly Michele was killed in a car accident a year later.

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#1 | dtabachn on August 25 2015 21:28:34
One small correction, 'Té En Paris' is actually the spanish for 'Tea In Paris'. The album is out of print and only available on CD as an expensive european bootleg import even in Argentina. It's also worth checking Gustavo Montesano's 'Homenaje' (Tribute) from 1977. Great prog-Jazz/rock. Thanks for the review!
#2 | gdazegod on August 25 2015 22:26:42
Fixed. Thanks Dave.

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