If there’s a serious death metal Hall of Fame Mary Abaza should be included as she’s one of the first female growlers, or most likely the first, in Russia. Mary started the death metal band Merlin together with guitarist Alexander Ioffe back in 1992. Mary also plays bass since the beginning of Merlin.
The band name Merlin was chosen cause at that time it was not a typical name for a death metal band and Mary and Alexander were hoping fans would easily remember a name like Merlin. And they thought it was a cool name as it also has a meaning in the French langue which means something like big Axe and in the English language it also is the name for a bird of prey.
Mary is educated in Jazz and she claims it helped her with her way of growling, also she was inspired by her favorite growler at that time, John Tardy from Obituary.
In 1992 the first demo was recorded titled Welcome to Hell and a second one titled Die appeared later. In 1994 the third demo titled Prisoner of Death was recorded and this demo got attention worldwide through underground magazines. In 1997 the debut full-lenght was released via Grind It! Records and got more positive reviews worldwide.
The 10 tracks on Deathkoteque have a very Morbid Angel feel to it and the whole album sounds truly stunning with Mary using a sort of rasping growls. In 2000 They Must Die appeared on the market, the second full-lenght for Merlin. The production is less brutal on this album and that made that the album got less attention from fans.
2004 was the year that the latest album from Merlin got released and the band created a masterpiece with this one. Almost an grindcore album with insane fast drums and lovely brutal sound.
Merlin is on hold right now, i’ve tried to get in touch with them for an interview with Mary but no response whatsoever unfortunately. On their Russian social media i’ve seen some gigs planned in 2016 and that’s the latest sign of live.
1997 full-lenght Deathkoteque
2000 full-lenght They Must Die
2004 full-lenght Brutal Constructor