Michael Denner and Hank Shermann are no strangers to heavy metal fans, the duo being the original guitar players of Mercyful Fate's legendary Melissa and Don't Break the Oath albums back in the early '80s, and they have put together a new band called simply Denner/Shermann and an EP of all original musical titled Satan's Tomb, on Metal Blade Records. Joining the duo are vocalist Sean Peck (Cage and Death Dealer), bassist Marc Grabowski (Demonica), and drummer extraordinaire Snowy Shaw (Mercyful Fate, King Diamond, Dream Evil). Musically, Satan's Tomb doesn't fall too far from the Mercyful Fate style that Denner & Shermann perfected back in the glory days, as the album is filled with killer riffs and plenty of blazing lead guitar solos, with Peck screaming to the heavens over it all with a voice that's like a combination of King Diamond and Tim 'Ripper' Owens. The opening title track pummels the listener right from the outset, a catchy but quite heavy number complete with a memorable chorus and loads of wicked guitar work, while "War Witch" rampages with thrashy intent thanks to some furious riffs and powerful rhythms. The band goes for more of a mid paced, power metal vibe on the grinding "New Gods", falling in line with perhaps Nevermore, Sanctuary, or Iced Earth, and Peck dials it up a notch on the groove laden, guitar pyrotechnic display that is "Seven Skulls", perhaps the most 'Mercyful Fate' sounding song on the EP.
While I'm not going to declare Satan's Tomb an instant classic, it's more than enjoyable enough and a step in the right direction for this new band. It will be very interesting to watch this band continue to gel, and chances are their first full length might indeed be quite monstrous.
1) Satan's Tomb
2) War Witch
3) New Gods
4) Seven Skulls