Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Them-Sweet Hollow

Empire Records

Them is a international heavy metal band that was originally formed in 2008 by singer Troy Norr (Coldsteel) as "Them - The King Diamond Tribute". After three and a half years or so of covering King Diamond and Mercyful Fate songs, Troy decided to put the well-known tribute band to rest so. Placing Them on the back-burner, Troy went out and worked on other projects. Fast forward a couple years to 2014 and the dead suddenly returned to life! Or at least the name "Them" did. Brought back into the world of the living once more by it's skilled front-man, Them suddenly began the long and treacherous journey from being in a tribute band to writing and performing all original material. To that end, Troy envisioned a whole new concept for the resurrected and largely "re-imagined" Them and soon enough he began the slow and meticulous construction of what would turn out to be "Sweet Hollow". With the help of some top-notch musicians from Germany and the U.S. (see below), the 50 minute plus "Sweet Hollow" is not only the bright light at the end of that dark tunnel for Troy Norr, but arguably one of 2016's strongest heavy metal recordings! Mixed and mastered by David Otero (Aberrant, Moth (live), ex-Dethroned, ex-Serberus), "Sweet Hollow" is a cleverly-crafted concept album that tells the "bizarre journey of a man caught between unfortunate circumstance and unspeakable evils". It serves as the follow-up to the independently-released "Fear Them" EP and features eleven songs....well, twelve if you include the all-too brief intro "Rebirth". Clocking in at just a minute and nineteen seconds, "Rebirth" flips the switch from off to on in regards to this ghoulish creature of the night. "And what is this ghastly monster made of" you might be asking? Taking a cue or two from it's namesake, Them first captured the unholy spirits of both King Diamond and Mercyful Fate in order that they might serve as this album's guiding voices. From there they built up the actual body of "Sweet Hollow" with pieces and parts of Grade A power metal. Last, but most certainly not least, lead singer Troy Norr plucked out his own heart and gave it to his new creation! Naturally charged by the thunder of the gods themselves(!), "Sweet Home" is a tribute to all those who too part in it's construction and a real gift for fan's of classic and true heavy metal!! 

Them's full-length debut find's Troy Norr (amazing enough!) backed up by:

Guitarist Markus Johansson  (4Arm, Sylencer)

Guitarist Markus Ullrich (A Cosmic Trail, Lanfear, Septagon)

Bassist Mike LePond (Affector, Elegacy, Fatal Array, Heathen's Rage, Holy Force, Mike LePond's Silent Assassins, Rivera/Bomma, Stygia, Symphony X, Waken Eyes, Distant Thunder, ex-Brute Force, Ango Tasso's Air Force, Mike Bino Project, Universal Mind Project, ex-Ashenveil, ex-MindMaze, ex-Painmuseum, ex-Seven Witches, ex-Sleepy Hollow, ex-Helstar (live), ex-Operatika Element (live), ex-Malakis Reign, ex-Rattlebone)

Keyboardist Richie Seibel  (A Cosmic Trail, Ivanhoe, Lanfear, ex-Charisma, ex-Ivorie)

Drummer Kevin Talley (Castrofate, Feared, Grot, Nothnegal, Sylencer, The Art of Hate, Dååth, ex-Horror of Horrors, ex-Consumned, ex-Decrepit Birth, ex-Dying Fetus, ex-Implore, ex-Misery Index, ex-Six Feet Under, ex-Suffocation, ex-Throes, ex-WretchedPain, ex-Absence of the Sacred (live), ex-Battlecross (live), ex-Cattle Decapitation (live), ex-DevilDriver (live), ex-Hate Eternal (live), ex-M.O.D. (live), ex-The Black Dahlia Murder (live), ex-The Red Chord (live), ex-Chimaira, ex-Worlds Divide, ex-All the Way to the Bank, ex-Throes (live))

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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Seax-Speed Metal Mania


Formed in 2009 by Brazilian guitarist Hel (Aeshma, Helgrid, ex-Infernal Devotion, ex-Fires of Old, ex-Zircon), Seax is a buzz-worthy speed metal band that hails from Worcester, Massachusetts and is currently fronted by vocalist Carmine DeCicco (Black Sabre, ex-Raging Fire). Recorded and mixed by the band's second guitarist, Eli Firicano (Ravage), "Speed Metal Mania" is Seax's third full-length album since 2012 and yes, it is every-bit as wicked cool as the above artwork suggests! In addition to such instant classics as "Leather and Spikes", "Fall to the Hammer", "Nuclear Overdose", and "Possessed by the Axe", Seax's latest (and quite possible greatest?) full-length album has two numbers with the word SPEED in it!! Those two gems would be title track and "Speed Forever" and they actually open and close this (highly-recommended!) 10-track album. They also make "Speed Metal Mania" all that much more fun, but then again so does the self-explanatory (and frankly downright awesome!) "Forged by Metal"! With a run-time of close to 41 minutes(!) and some simply-killer influences that range from Exciter's first two albums to "Kill 'Em All"-era Metallica(!), the recently-released "Speed Metal Mania" is just too good to not pass on to all of our readers. It's packed with all kinds of raw energy and it sports a finger-blistering take on vintage speed metal that is sure to stick to your ribs for weeks on end! All of the performances are all spot on and that goes for Seax's other two members, bassist Mike Bones (Ancient Power) and drummer Derek Jay (ex-Hell Within, ex-Trauma Concert). In the end I cannot think of one good reason to not rave on and on about this fucking awesome album!! I mean sure, one should probably point out the fact that this recording is most definately haunted by the late ghost of Motörhead. But otherwise?

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