Pedigree! How often do you read a review or the promo blurb for a new record and the writer casually chucks in a mention of band members previous outfits? You’re supposed to think ‘wow this must be good then’.
You know what I mean, “Featuring Barry Marmite on guitars – formerly of Scum Hoover”. You’ve never heard of him or his previous band…. and probably never will again. Happens all the time.
However, there’s always an exception and this is most certainly a big fucking exception!!
Michael Denner and Hank Shermann! Heard of them? If not, you’re on the wrong website – put the internet down and pick up a copy of ‘Woman’s Realm’!
Denner & Shermann were the original guitar players on Mercyful Fate’s “Melissa” and “Don’t Break the Oath” albums. I should just end the review there really. Their twin guitar attack is up there with Tipton & Downing, Smith & Murray and King & Hanneman.
Influential doesn’t come close. Those two albums are rightly revered as solid gold metal classics and Hank and Michael played on every MF disc up to 1996’s ‘Into The Unknown’. Denner himself went on to play lead guitar on the Kings own ‘Fatal Portrait’ and ground-breaking ‘Abigail’ LPs.
Now back at the tail end of 2015 in with the ‘Satan’s Tomb’ EP can the boys – now snappily called ‘Denner / Shermann’ recapture the 80’s metal magic?
Yes. They most certainly can.
From the cheesy cover art to the first riff, this four song EP was obviously written with the legions of Mercyful Fate fans in mind.
Of course all the guitar wizardry would count for nothing without decent songs and I’m very happy to say that these four tracks could easily slot in anywhere in the MF or KD catalogue. The boys have got the brilliant Snowy Shaw on drums (played on KDs ‘The Eye’ & ‘Dangerous Meeting’ as well as MFs ‘Time’ & ‘Bell Witch’ EP….. as well as providing bass & clean vocals on Dimmu Borgir’s ‘Abrahadabra’)
Marc Grabowski (Demonica) on bass plus the incredible vocal talent that is Sean Peck. Sean’s voice is like a melting pot of all the best bits from Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens, David Bower, Rob Halford and of course, King Diamond himself. Never annoyingly high pitched there’s a theatrical side here – most prevalent on final track ‘Seven Skulls’ but the arse is never kicked out of it. A classic NWOBHM voice and his easy to see why he was chosen for this project.
What are the songs about? Well it’s called ‘Satan’s Tomb’ mate so what do you think? Wafty emo explorations of loneliness and the breakdown of relationships? Do one! This is SATAN!!!
Incredible twin guitars harmonies, wicked riffs and a tornado of beats courtesy of Mr Shaw. This is classic 80’s metal that not only brings to mind the heyday of Fate but sounds totally relevant in 2015. Everything you’d want it to sound like basically. Props to Arnold Lindberg for an absolutely cracking mix too.
This is an awesome EP and utterly essential if you call yourself a fan of heavy metal.
Denner / Shermann…. Now that’s a pedigree.. chum!
(10/10 Mark Eve)