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Album Of The Month November 2015
Denner / Shermann | ‘Satan’s Tomb’


The question on most of our lips: who?

Well, the more seasoned metallers will know alright.

Michael Denner and Hank Shermann are the original Mercyful Fate guitarists who laid down both ‘Melissa’ and ‘Dont Break The Oath’.

It hardly needs reiterating what kind of influence those albums had on metal.

What’s incredible is the energy, vivacity and heaviness that they both bring to this fantastic gem of EP three decades after their classics.

White Hot Power

The self titled opener is one of my personal favourite tracks of the whole of this year.

It absolutely screams with white hot power, forcing a momentous torque of groove into its pre-chorus that is the work of experts.

No smaller than an absolute heavy metal masterpiece, this cut rivals the Hell album from a few years back for almost stupid levels of heavy metal brilliance.

Deathly Influence

Sean Peck (from Death Dealer) on vocals rips it up. He’s got the same kind of bite as Control Denied’s Tim Aymar or Andi Deris from Helloween, and he sails easily on higher falsettos too.

But back to Denner and Shermann. Readers unfamiliar with their work may be enthused to know about the vast influence they had on Chuck Schuldiner and Death.

Albeit that Chuck had Andy LaRocque from King Diamond play so memorably on ‘Individual Thought Patterns’, what you may be surprised by is the almost scary legacy that both Denner and Shermann left on him as well. You’ll hear it in here.

That and a bit of harder end Priest in ‘New Gods’.

At only four tracks one is simply left with jaw agape at the metal mastery on display here, and craving more. Just listen to ‘Seven Skulls’ and hear those brief, single, moody 80s clean chords over the metal ones: it’s genius.

Will they make an album out of it? Who knows.

But tracks like ‘Satan’s Tomb’ are the work of high priests of metal – a fact that even one single, hooking spin will be enough to tell you.

It has everything. Speed, power, punch, panache and personality.

Bow down to this amazing Album Of The Month. Just fucking listen to it!

4.7 / 5 – Earl Grey ::: 29/11/15



19 Comments
  1. Can’t stand this kind of vocal: ten tons of compression on the falsetto, the same patterns repeated left, right, and centre, no real melody to speak of, just metally grrrs interspersed with high-pitched soaring nothingness and no real character. Music is great though, I’d be tempted to say that someone more like Warrel Dane could have brought it the kind of intense melodramatics it sounds like the musicians were aiming for.

  2. Really??? I think the vocals are incredible!

  3. I sort of found it all a bit non-descript actually. The riffs sound a bit stock, especially when you consider the vitality of the MF songs these guys wrote. The vocals are exactly as Chris described them above. All techniqe and zero character!

  4. Stock !!!!! Is that you lars?

  5. Eoin McLove Says:

    Yes.

  6. resonant paddy Says:

    Vocals have a hint of ripper owens, more so the high parts.

  7. Vocals are excellent. Some of you just don’t know how to enjoy a record. Take your critiquing hats off for a second.

  8. What on earth does that mean? The vocals are delivered with power, yeah, but any notable melody is absent. Same with the riffs. I don’t need to be reviewing the album to come to that conclusion…

  9. Or am I supposed to hold two different opinions, one for reviews and one for casual listening? Really baffled by that remark.

  10. Lads that was a a real let-down. The riffs are grand, but that production’s so flat that the guitars are left with zero bite. And the vocals are shockingly banal (the lyrics don’thelp either). They’re exactly as Chris descibed them. There’s just nothing of interest going on there in terms of melody or phrasing. Those gruff barks are so limp and unimaginative. All ‘n’all it’s totally anodyne.

  11. What are yiz on about with the vocals? Halford’s been doing that his whole career ffs.

  12. open face surgery Says:

    You never fail to impress.

  13. Black Shepherd Carnage Says:

    No wonder so many people think you’d have to be stone deaf to listen to metal when we’ve got so many absolutely broken ears among the scene.

    There’s a whole load of bands, Control Denied included incidentally, that I just can’t stomach because of exactly this type of vocal. Charred Walls of the Damned was another one, if I remember right: sounds like someone with a split personality murdering an already weak Lloyd Webber number.

  14. Eoin McLove Says:

    I’d definitely take a technically less powerful singer with more character and an ear for melody over this type of pitch perfect yet quite bland approach. Whoever mentioned Halford needs a toe up the hole.

  15. What on earth are yous talking about a lack of melody? I do not get this criticism at all. Some of the note choices are inspired IMO.

  16. Eoin McLove Says:

    Sounds fairly flaccid to me in the old melody department, if not necessarily in the delivery.

  17. Going to give this the time it deserves. I get what the lads are saying but Charred Walls of the Damned was a brilliant album and I had zero time for Ripper Owens prior to that. Just watching these lads jam together for me is pure pleasure. `To One Far Away´ in this video…there´s not too many guitar duos ever came that close to that perfection.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pFF-yBbl8Tc

  18. Its grand – reminds me a lot (as noted) of the Control Denied stuff in the vocals (which i think sound fine for this style of stuff)… I reckon Hell does this style much better though.. not a style i listen to a lot of but this sounds fine for what it is…

  19. Eoin McLove Says:

    Yeah, Hell do it better.

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