Genre: Heavy Metal
Label: Empire Records
When everyone believed that all discussions about band-clones of Mercyful Fate had come to an end (sometimes efficiently enough the last few years), Markus Ullrich and Richard Siebel from German prog-power metallers Lanfear (they’re expectional, check them if you don’t know about them) along with Mike LePond from Symphony X and a couple more decided to fill the similar void to a similar Kind Diamond—era tribute. And thus we have Them, born from the inspiration of singer Troy Norr upon a concept of same texture, after gigs with cover songs and guest appearances on stage by Mike Wad and Hal Patino.
The release of “Fear Them” EP last February was an interesting appetizer for all that was yet to come. So, last September they delivered their first full-length. Already upon hearing the previously mentioned names both faithful listeners of the Mercyful Fate/King Diamond epic craftsmanship (because that what this is about and I’m telling it for the millionth time) and the less familiar ones with the sound can easily understand what they listen to at “Street Hollow”. We have to deal with heavy metal of abundant performing level, excellent and hard work on the guitar composing referring to Andy LaRoque/Mike Wead, drums that remind of Mikkey Dee/Snowy Shaw, absolutely shame voice with you know who and even the (50?) shades of blue on the cover make you thing about “Them” (in general they’re full of surprises).
Of course, the main goal is good songs and Them have got that part covered. After many listening sessions I can sort out of the pile “Down the Road” and “Misery”, possibly the song that plays more “naturally” (I’m not going to use the word “hit”). While the rest of the songs are more than interesting (“Forever Burns, “Blood for Blood” and “Dead of Night” were also on the EP), I liked best the long “When the Clock Struck Twelve” with its organ intro at first (maybe the album’s best), “The Crimson Corpse” with something from the spirit of “Abigail” and in whole you find somehow yourself confused and think that you’re reviewing a new King Diamond release.
All good and more than welcome because even Kim Petersen has to put out a record since 2007 (I hope I wasn’t the only one to like the tremendous “Give Me Your Soul… Please”) and some announcements here and there about his new record in 2017 make the wait longer. The million dollar question now is if “Street Hollow” is going to meet the CD-player again. This record is far from self-luminous and records like this in general draw “light” from many directions, a thing that possibly takes away something from their burden after a while as much as successful they can be at first. No one can forbid from a musician to do what he loves especially when “Sweet Hollow” is musically excellent and moves in the wider range of “horror metal” that I am extremely fond of. There’s still on the surface the matter of an album’s duration through 2 years (there’s no discussion for more), where also its part is going to be of collector’s value. On the other hand, how many horror movies about Dracula have you seen? How many with exorcisms, as well? How many Hammer Horrors would you watch again and again even though you already know the plot? Sit back and enjoy “Sweet Hollow” and leave all the whining of a forever unsatisfied critic on the side. Them don’t pretend to be anything else from what they are: fans of an ICONIC artist. Through this prism everything is easier.
(4 for the songs, 0.5 because they decided to follow like King Diamond’s steps)