If a mad scientist from 2178 were to meticulously Frankenstein style craft a cyborg to prosthelytize the humans of tomorrow by using some of the most iconic musical extremes of the 20th century, that cyborg's name would be Steve Merlo.
Typically when people talk about musicians of any genre, they are able to talk about the genre that the talent falls into. That convenient cardboard box we use to categorize and organize our thoughts. Steve, though, he’s a formless blob of transcendent energy ripping between galaxies like a flame engulfed Nyan Cat that chased his coffee with a dozen Redbulls.
Listen to “Beyond the Rugged Plains” and you’ll see for yourself, or, almost see - because with this music you can practically see sound. This song in particular is the smooth, or not so smooth, blended slurpy combination of inspirations between Johnny Cash’s outlaw country style and “Ripper” era Judas Priest adrenaline fueled banshee cries. This ain’t something you come across every day.
It’s not always blending fire and ice, though. A bit more of a prog soul comes through in the track “The Tides To Marquita Bay 1”. You can hear a solid Queensryche influence here amidst the pounding drums, fire spitting guitar, and heavy bass - and of course a killer surround mix, because you know you can’t handle a Queensryche tone without being a master mixing for stereo.
It’s not often you find someone composing and playing all of the parts to their songs, but it here it just feels right. Where there’s conflict it’s to a point, when there’s calm, it’s smooth as water.
Keep an eye out for Steve Merlo as he keeps pushing his unmistakable blender mash-up of styles.
Dustin Saksek - WAIL Music Magazine