Denner and Shermann are at it again

Of course you know that Michael Denner and Hank Shermann are the original guitarists of Mercyful Fate who brought us the classic albums “Melissa” and “Don’t Break The Oath”. Both albums are genre-defining and have influenced a ton of bands over the last three decades. When you go to a King Diamond show songs from these albums are still the tracks that fans go crazy to most. So it seems Denner and Shermann decided to re-create some of the old magic.  They got the help of Snowy Shaw, who tortured the drum kit for King Diamond and Mercyful Fate before, Marc Grabowski (bass), who worked with Shermann previously and Sean Peck on vocals (Cage & Death Dealer) and have released their debut EP ‘Satan’s Tomb’.

The EP starts with the title track ‘Satan’s Tomb’. And there we have it: the razor-sharp riff at the beginning, the melodies… this is ‘Melissa’, isn’t it? The track develops into a more groovy part in the middle but overall the similarities to Mercyful Fate are obvious. Well, we didn’t really expect anything different from the duo, did we?

The next song ‘War Witch’ starts with the fastest riff on the album. It then develops into classic heavy metal riffing. Overall ‘War Witch’ is a well-structured song with many twists and turns. ‘New Gods’ starts like a progressive rock song before breaking into the first riff. Again classic heavy metal riffing is prevalent. The song has a somewhat darker atmosphere than the first two songs. There is some very straight forward riffing which makes the song not only dark but quite heavy. ‘Seven Skulls’ give us just more of the classic metal riffing. However, the song appears to be unfinished. The solos are put together hastily and the overall structure does not really work. There is certainly some room for improvement here.

Denner Shermann Album Review

Denner and Shermann have taken the Mercyful Fate sound into the 21st century. The similarities to the Mercyful Fate recordings of the early 80s are visible to the naked eye. However, they do not just rehash what has been written and recorded before. Compared to Mercyful Fate Denner/Shermann venture into power metal, create some more groovy parts in their songs and include one or the other thrash metal reference. The guitar work is of course outstanding. The album is really all about guitars. Sean Peck can’t live up to King Diamond. He gets his voice in high territory but can’t just quite get to the falsetto of King Diamond. And this is actually one of the strengths of the EP and emphasizes that this record is not just a back reference to the glory days. It will be interesting to see what the full album will be like. At least it is scheduled for next year. Unless another Mercyful Fate reunion gets in the way…

8 of 10

Official band website