Denner / Shermann – “Satan’s Tomb” EP (Metal Blade Records)
Wow – anyone into early MercyFul Fate will be tripping over themselves for this one! The names Michael Denner and Hank Shermann are synonymous with that band for all eternity as the two legendary guitarists who brought Denmark’s most famous heavy metal band alive along with King Diamond. In just 4 short years they became known the world over but in 1985 the band broke, only to re-unite once again 1993 where they remained semi active. Over the last decade while MercyFul Fate has been put into semi hiatus, the various members have concentrated on their solo projects although occasionally collaborating together as Denner and Shermann have done previously in Force Of Evil. As such this latest venture is nothing new, although it includes an impressive line up in Cage’s Sean Peck on vocals and the omnipresent Snowy Shaw on drums. Without a doubt the twin guitars are unmistakable, still possessing that classic MercyFul Fate sound, although overall its a mixture of classic heavy metal and modern power metal, indicating the composition of the material was more collaborative rather than just determined by messrs Denner and Shermann – oh well, that’s band democracy for ya ha ha! Peck’s high octane vocals are certainly worthy of rivaling King’s although more in powerful bursts from the former in contrast to the latter’s wailing falsetto. As such ‘War Witch’ and ‘Seven Skulls’ present a more interesting take on how MercyFul Fate might’ve sounded today if they’d continued in a somewhat more commercial direction. Either way, from the opening riff to Peck’s last wail, that early magic has been recaptured once again.