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Denner / Shermann
Released: 2015, Metal Blade Records
With King Diamond’s triumphant return to the concert stage in 2014/2015, as well as talk of a new album coming for 2016, it’s also fitting that his former Mercyful Fate axe partners Michael Denner and Hank Shermann are making a return to the heavy metal scene. Not only that, but they’ve assembled something of a super group to fill in their ranks, with ex-Mercyful Fate basher and metal man-about-town Snowy Shaw back on drums and Cage / Death Dealer screamer Sean Peck on vocals (relative unknown Marc Grabowski is thumps the bass strings). It’s a hell of a lineup and one that rightfully has many fans salivating at the musical prospects.
Thus we have SATAN’S TOMB, a sadly brief 21-minute, 4-song EP. Opening with the title track, it takes no time at all to realize that the guitar wizards have conjured up another batch of labyrinthine, evil-sounding true metal. To hear the guitars twining around each other like only Denner and Shermann can is magnificent and it proves that newcomers like Portrait and In Solitude still have a long way to go to compete with the masters. “War Witch” is even more vicious and is probably the most enjoyable track on the EP, although you could argue that “Seven Skulls” is equally memorable because of its insistent chorus. Still, if I have one complaint about this release it’s that the songs all sort of run together at times, particularly the verses. If the choruses weren’t so memorable, you could be excused for mistaking this for one long 21-minute song.
As awesome as it is to hear the two guitarists playing again, I was a bit wary of this release because I’ve never been a huge fan of Sean Peck’s vocals. Although his talent is undeniable, I’ve never really enjoyed his tone. However, he fits in perfectly on these songs, adding in little evil sneers here and there to compliment is impressive range.
Considering it’s been nearly a decade since Force of Evil folded, it’s great to hear Denner and Shermann doing their thing once again. Hopefully this band sticks together because there are great possibilities here and it would be awesome to hear what they come up with next.
1. Satan’s Tomb
2. War Witch
3. New Gods
4. Seven Skulls
Sean Peck: Vocals
Michael Denner: Lead Guitar
Hank Shermann: Lead Guitar
Marc Grabowski: Bass
Snowy Shaw: Drums
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