Saturday, June 15, 2013

REVIEW: MEROE - SUITE 524


How much have you accomplished in the last year? Really think about it for a minute. I don’t mean to piss all over your parade, but Meroe, the metallic rock band out of Munich, Germany, has released two full-length albums of original material within the past twelve months. Their fourth album, Suite 524, is a skillful trek through hard-edged rock of the 1980s, when the only thing bigger than a guitarist’s hair was the number of albums sold.

The band was founded by vocalist Oliver Monroe, a deeply talented singer who could convincingly front a variety of tribute bands with the impressive versatility of his voice. Depending on the song he can invoke Dave Mustaine, Rob Halford, Axl Rose or Vince Neil, but remains a singular talent who has his own smooth croon. Musically, Meroe shares similarities with the bands that gratuitously used umlauts (Queensrÿche, Mötley Crüe), while showing an ability to write concise anthems with huge choruses and killer guitar work. Overall, Suite 524 is a throwback to a simpler time when the decibel level and tone of the guitars was all that was needed to project intimidation. No need for sinister hooded cloaks or spitting blood, the music was loud and heavy and a force to be reckoned with. At their core, Meroe are true to that spirit of early heavy metal while being more than adept at writing musical hooks and commanding song structure.

The album really takes off with “Crazy” and “Wink Of An Eye” back to back; they both shred with barely contained energy, feeling likes bluesy Van Halen or ZZ Top on speed. “Crazy” also features ferocious bass work by Tom Schill, whose interplay with guitarist Alex Kah dazzles and bangs heads. Other highlights include the muscular album opener “I Am” and “Blood Red Sky,” an earnest political war song that closes Suite 524 with a virtuoso guitar performance and Tom Wagner’s double-bass drum pummel. There are several “monster ballads” on this album, but none with more projected emotion than “My Heart Is Bleeding,” the sort of song written to inspire gals in the front row to re-apply their lipstick and throw their bras on stage. There are a few distracting moments (the abrupt conclusion to “I Am,” the vocals so high in the mix in the gentler songs, dwarfing the impact of the guitars), but Meroe have impressively crafted a hard rock album with hooks and heart in less than a year’s time. This is a band with serious skill and determination, mining mainstream heavy metal and hard rock of the 80s for its best traits and cutting the excess fat away. I don’t always believe in pre-determined destiny, but maybe their second track does ring true: These guys were all “Born To Rock.”


Suite 524 is now available on iTunes, check them out now. Also follow all their news on this and future releases at their Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/Meroe4U

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