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Denner/Shermann - "Satan's Tomb" (CD)

Denner/Shermann - "Satan's Tomb" CD cover image

"Satan's Tomb" track listing:

1. Satain's Tomb
2. War Witch
3. New Gods
4. Seven Skulls

Reviewed by on October 2, 2015

"'Satan’s Tomb' is just another example of why Denner and Sherman are arguably the greatest guitar duo in metal!"

Michael Denner and Hank Sherman are one of metal’s great guitar duos, and any Mercyful Fate fan will tell you that. The two appeared together on Fate’s early recordings like “Melissa” and “Don’t Break the Oath.” While Sherman has remained with Mercyful Fate since the beginning (not much going these days), Denner left the group in the mid-90s and returned to the band in 2009. Denner also joined Sherman for a couple of Force of Evil albums. Now the two return this time under their namesake in the form of an EP titled “Satan’s Tomb.”

“Satan’s Tomb” bears a name seeped in the occult - one that brings to mind the classic MF track “Satan’s Fall.” The title track opens the album in a “Melissa” type fashion starting with a melody not far removed from that song. While this is not a Mercyful Fate album, it’s hard to get away from the comparisons. Fans of MF will revel in the fact that so much of the guitars sound like MF. From dark grooves to occult-like noise to shredding solos, there is something magical in their six-string manipulations.

Their compositions are amazing, too. Take “New Gods” for example. This track has an excellent progression at the beginning. One guitar fills the right speaker and then the guitar on the left comes in while the guitarist on the right changes to eerie noises. Then the two come together by the force of longtime King Diamond alum Snowy Shaw’s pounding drums and the noise-bleeding highs of Cage vocalist Sean Peck.

Even though the riffs and solos are highlights of the album, Peck’s vocals are great in their own rights. He wields a powerful voice that although it doesn’t have the falsetto highs of King Diamond, he certainly knows how to push his voice to his own respective dizzying heights. The greatness of the song writing, including the supernatural subject matter, is certainly ear catching. The chorus lines come in big hooks that aren’t easy to erase from your mind. “War Witch” features multiple layers of vocals that prove fun to sing along to as does the chorus of “Satan’s Tomb.” Snowy Shaw’s thunderous drum rolls initiate the whole horror show that is this song. Shaw’s adept hands and feet fill the gaps on “Seven Skulls,” allowing time for Sherman and Denner’s dark groove to melt into the fold.

It won’t take a Mercyful Fate fan long to appreciate what Denner and Sherman have accomplished on “Satan’s Tomb.” Everything from the riffs to the solos bring to mind Mercyful Fate and show the two are never short on creativity. The two know each other so well, trading off leads for fifteen years in Fate. And while Sean Peck is no King Diamond (nobody is) he holds his own weight and seems to be just the right element for the band. “Satan’s Tomb” is just another example of why Denner and Sherman are arguably the greatest guitar duo in metal!

Highs: Denner and Sherman trade off guitar leads.

Lows: Sean Peck is no King Diamond.

Bottom line: A strong showing of dark power metal from this guitar duo.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)