|Review: Them - Sweet Hollow|
Label: Empire Records
Year released: 2016
Genre: Heavy Metal
Review online: December 2, 2016
Reviewed by: Bruno Medeiros
Rated 3.5/5 (70%) (12 Votes)
Them is what we often call a supergroup. Mike LePond (Symphony X), Kevin Talley (ex-Suffocation), Markus Ullrich (Lanfear, Septagon), Troy Norr (Coldsteel), Richie Seibel (Lanfear) and Markus Johansson (Sylencer) joined forces in this endeavor that was once a King Diamond tribute band but became a thing of its own in 2014. Just by looking at the band name and background, obviously, we can see that Sweet Hollow, their debut album, drinks heavily from the fountain of one of the most beloved and unique bands of all time, King Diamond.
This musical piece features the story of a man who finds himself stuck between tragedies, unfortunate circumstances and supreme evil. Every element found in albums such as Melissa, The Graveyard, Conspiracy and, of course, Them, can also be found here, from piano passages, macabre sounds and somber atmosphere to high-pitched vocals and twin guitars. Songs like opener "Forever Burns", "The Quiet Room" and "When the Clock Struck Twelve" are perfect examples of what to expect from the endeavor: tunes that quite frankly don't bring anything new to the table and, despite marrying the aura and purpose of the story, feel sort of forced and mechanically crafted to suit the band's main inspiration. I get that they are trying to pay homage to King Diamond, but these tracks are almost exact copies of songs from the Danish legends. When they're trying to create something different, though, even if just a little bit, the band succeeds in delivering cool and decent passages, such as in "Dead of Night".
Troy's vocals are deliberately mixed to emulate King's vocals, from the screams to where the "woman" parts should be. The instrumental is top-notch and each member delivers killer and prolific performances from the drumming conduction to the guitar solos. The production is also ace and worthy of mention, as the album definitely holds its promise of being a horror story.
Sweet Hollow was a hard album to review. The rating here is not related to the musicianship, proficiency or quality of the release; believe me, this album has plenty of that. I couldn't give it a higher grade, though, mainly because this is a carbon copy (a near-perfect one, but a copy nevertheless) of a King Diamond record, and knowing what these guys are capable of, they could have delivered a great album without having to rely so heavily on third-party elements.
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