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Kayak - Merlin - Bard Of The Unseen CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.88 | 129 ratings

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Tristan Mulders
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Kayak - Merlin: Bard of the Unseen

This 2003 release was the first Kayak album I heard since I first discovered symphonic rock a couple of years ago. I heard the title track on Dutch radio station Arrow Rock and I liked it a lot. I always thought that Kayak was this type of Hippy band, but this sounded a lot better than I could ever imagine.

It didn't take a lot of time before I purchased the, then newest, Kayak album and I was playing it quite a few times over the first few weeks. But you know how it goes when it comes to new music, you tend to perform overkill on your latest jewel, resulting in a dislike of the album for a random period of several days/weeks/months. 'Merlin' was this type of situation. I didn't listen to it that much after a few weeks and it got played in my CD-player only on rare occasions. That was until Kayak released its successor: Nostradamus.

The vague thing came to mind that Merlin was actually a pretty damn good album and why don't I listen to it anymore? I thought the very same thing today. And here I am, writing a review about the album.

Do you know what's so nice when you haven't listened to the album for months? You tend to hear things that you didn't hear the last time, or you rediscover those little things all over again. The same thing happens to me right now. First of all I noticed actually how good the artwork for this CD is... throughout the CD-booklet you see wonderful drawings based upon the legend of King Arthur.

Of course with an album title as 'Merlin: Bard of the Unseen' and song titles alike 'The Sword in the Stone', 'The Purest of Knights' and 'The last Battle' the link with the middle ages is soon made. The music itself sounds rather medieval like from time to time as well and the use of a lot of orchestral sections gives the music something extra I think. But between the layers of medieval sounds and bombastic string sections there's still a lot of ROCK included. If you want to have something heavy, you shouldn't listen to this though. This is more based upon the subtle side of rock with its harmonic guitar solos and fragile piano parts.

Too bad that the follow-up Nostradamus album wasn't as coherent as this one is. Not only because some of the songs share musical themes, because that's featured on Nostradamus as well, but because the whole album really feels like one big journey through that specific time period when the legend of King Arthur was supposed to take place. It's too bad that I didn't see Kayak perform this one live, because I've seen Nostradamus performed live in a local theatre and it was absolutely amazing!

This Bard of the Unseen should be seen by as many prog collectors as possible, it's really an excellent addition to any prog lover's collection!

Tristan Mulders | 4/5 |


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