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Saturday, July 16, 2016

Review: Denner/Shermann - Masters Of Evil


Denner/Shermann’s Masters of Evil was on my personal list of most anticipated albums of 2016 since I heard about this new project. Mercyful Fate and King Diamond are probably my favorite bands of all time, so I definitely had to check them out. In addition to the riffmasters Michael Denner and Hank Shermann, the lineup also includes former Mercyful Fate drummer Snowy Shaw, the high-skilled Sean Peck (Cage) on vocals and Marc Grabowski (Demonica) on bass.

However, I felt slightly disappointed when I listened to the first single, “Son of Satan”. The repetitive chorus and the riffing were not what I was expecting from an album whose cover was a clear nod to ‘’Don’t Break the Oath’’. Therefore, I decided to listen to the whole album without comparing it to the classic Mercyful Fate era. Without having to carry the weight of their predecessors, the album grows on its own. Nevertheless, I still would like it more if the riffs were sharp and strong like they used to be in the 80’s and early 90’s.

“Angel’s Blood” opens the album with a strong delivery by Sean Peck. I knew he had a great vocal range and could reach high notes, but he is much more than that. Actually, I think he does a better job with his more aggressive tone than when he goes all Rob Halford. “Son of Satan” is still my less favorite song in the mix. The verses are great, but that chorus is discouraging. The things get back in line again with the third song, “The Wolf Feeds at Night”. This song has some growling vocals I could swear are Snowy’s, but there is no information at all about it. I almost spit all my coffee on the keyboard when Sean Peck did an accurate impression of Ozzy Osbourne near the end of the song. Perfect!

Ozzy Osbourne and now Jorn Lande? At least that is what looked like in the beginning of ‘’Pentagram and the Cross’’. The song also reminds me of Black Sabbath’s Tony Martin era. Next comes the title track and “Servants of Dagon”. Now I have to highlight two things: the lyrics and the solos throughout the entire album. Sean Peck can really write lyrics about demons and hell without being cheesy, just like King Diamond did. And Denner and Shermann are still masters when it comes to solos. “Escape from Hell” has riffs that reminded me of Judas Priest’s “Painkiller” and it is one of the best tracks of the record. They should really go more on this direction. The 7-minute epic “The Baroness” closes the album on a high level.

If you are looking for a Mercyful Fate part 2, you are not going to find it here. Denner/Shermann is a great heavy metal band, but they did not try to emulate their old sound here. It is a new band with its own identity. Once you realize it, you will enjoy the Masters of Evil as I did. [7/10]

Tracklist:

1. Angel's Blood
2. Son of Satan
3. The Wolf Feeds at Night
4. Pentagram and the Cross
5. Masters of Evil
6. Servants of Dagon
7. Escape from Hell
8. The Baroness

Lineup:

Sean Peck (vocals)
Michael Denner (guitar)
Hank Shermann (guitar)
Marc Grabowski (bass)
Snowy Shaw (drums)

Written by Anderson Tiago

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