(8/10) It doubtless creates quite some attention when Mercyful Fate guitar legends Michael Denner and Hank Shermann team-up again to work on new songs. If than also Snowy Shaw (King Diamond/Therion/Sabaton) joins, things get even more interesting. Those guys came together under the banner of Denner/Shermann, which is completed by bass player Marc Grabowski and Sean Peck (Cage) on vocals. Just checking the names feels already like a metal firework.
The first output of this five-piece is an EP called "Satan's Tomb". Of course it's a given that you will find some Mercyful Fate crosslinks on this new record. Already the cover brought back the old "Melissa" and "Don't Break the Oath" days and since Thomas Holm signed responsible for the artwork the parallels aren't a big surprise.
But also the songs show some links to the early days of Mercyful Fate. Of course, the six-stringers have been a crucial part of this band. However, Denner/Shermann is different too. This has also to do with Sean Peck's vocals. Even though his vocal range also covers high pitches he has a more balanced approach in his way of singing. He combines the high screams with mostly rough and raw vocals that fits perfect to the four songs on the EP.
The tracks are all around 5-6 minutes and are a mixture of the mentioned Mercyful Fate (guitars) and pure US Metal (vocals); all build on the heavy punch of the rhythm powerhouse Shaw/Grabowski.
The title track is a tradition metal track that takes up power by Peck's scream after a few seconds. For the rest it's a more complex number which is an excellent start into the album.
"War Witch" instead comes with furious guitar leads before the vocals add the melody to this fast power metal track.
Those two songs are equally good, but the second half is even better. "New Gods" is a six minutes long piece of music that shows the full range of the two iconic guitarists as well as the entire vocal capabilities of Peck. Mighty riffs are a pleasure for each headbanger and the raw vocals in the chorus are the peperoni on the pizza. Power metal can't be done much better.
We're coming already step by step towards the end. "Seven Skulls" is the closer on this EP and when it comes to me, it's the best track on "Satan's Tomb". It starts slow and heavy; something that brings back Black Sabbath memories. This doesn't last for too long, since the speed increases dramatically and the good old Liege Lord came to my mind when Denner/Shermann gear up.
Denner/Shermann isn't Mercyful Fate - and that's good. This band is a bunch of passionate musicians that wrote and recorded metal songs that will lead to a 'wow-effect' by a broad variety of metal fans - new and old. Hopefully this EP isn't more than just a beginning. A lonplayer would be highly appreciated and to my understanding the plans for a full-length album are already pretty concrete. I'll keep you posted.
- Satan's Tomb
- War Witch
- New God
- Seven Skulls
Label: Metal Balde
Genre: Heavy Metal
Release Date EU: October 2nd, 2015