Saturday, October 3, 2015
Denner / Shermann : " Satans Tomb"
Looks like we are going to be waiting a while longer for that Mercyful Fate reunion, King parades around the world now playing "Abigail" in its entirety, so Hank Shermann and Michael Denner have gotten together for this ep. The first song kicks in pretty heavy, for power metal at least. Cage vocalist Sean Peck is no King Diamond and in fact the weakest link of this out as they have Snowy Shaw , who once played with Fate so we have three ex-members of Mercyful Fate rocking the crypts here. The title track opens the album and I think Shaw should have handled the vocals because Peck's vibrato is cheesy as hell, sometimes he sounds like Messiah Marcolin and at other Warrel Dane . The instrumentation is on point, the guitar playing burning with hell fire and Shaw's drumming has never sounded better. It's the multi-tracked vocals that annoy me. I love metal yodels. Some of my favorite singers are King Diamond, Bruce Dickinson, Geoff Tate, Dio, Halford, Gillan and even Matt Barlow. But all of those singers have more colors to their voice, and Peck does if we are counting straws he just sounds like all the cliches that people laugh at when they think of 80s metal.
"New Gods" takes its time before it is built up into and when it lands the chug is well complimented by the bass and drums. I hope this is not Peck's best King Diamond impersonation, though I know it is and I also can't help but thinking if these guys go on tour they are going to cover Fate songs that this guys is going to butcher. He doesn't have the lower range grow so they pitch shift his voice and add effects to create that kind of sound. While great guitarists it is once again evident that without King Diamond in the house their writing suffers. There is a riff in this song that sounds like it was lifted from 'Painkiller". The line " the new gods have returned again" is the best that comes from Pecks lips so far. If I was still 13 I think I would dig his voice more.
The album closes with "Seven Skulls" which has one of the albums best riffs. They also speed up into more of a thrash tempo once you get into the verses. There is no denying these guitarists work well together , but once you have worked with King Diamond the bar is raised way too high they should have gotten Ripper Owens. The riffage is flexed more tautly on three minutes in. The lower effected vocals and the syncopation in some places are paying homage to King Diamond, it's just the execution is not always there. I find myself wondering how could they have been in a band with King Diamond and think this is alright for Peck to do? Anyway you have two legendary metal guitarists and a damn fine drummer bringing their close to a game, so musically it's higher than the 8 I will give it , but it depends on your threshold for caterwauling with no clear focus as to how this sits with you.