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Force Of Evil: Black Empire

The Force Of Evil has returned with yet another tasty piece of metal for the hungry masses. One wonders if the infamous "sophomore curse" would come into play on the bands second outing, yet this group has worked together before in other projects. It should only be considered the second chapter in a new book and this book is one that would seem impossible to put down. Lead guitarist and founder Hank Shermann truly knows what works in a metal group and clearly his years of work alongside King Diamond and Mercyful Fate has made him among the most creative forces in the genre. There is a lot of heavy duty metal on this release and Black Empire follows a horror theme. I discovered that this was due to Martin Steen's love of the Horror Movie genre and when he presented the idea to Hank he was all for it. This was a smart choice for it also works along with the premise under the bands name. Evil and Horror often go hand in hand.

This record also seems to flow a little easier and smoother musically than on the debut CD. Perhaps the band is looser in this new creation now or perhaps the songs are just hitting me a little better. I honestly feel fans that enjoyed the first outing will find this a kick-ass follow-up. Martin Steen has found his niche and all of his vocal lines from the regular singing to the high screams all seem to fit in at every chance. Shermann and Denners guitar work shines as brightly as ever and they are perhaps my favorite pairing of twin axmen since Downing and Tipton. Drummer Bjarne Holm and Bassist Hal Patino do a fantastic job of holding the whole record together making this music tight and heavy as you would expect. Nothing was sacrificed for the sake of a second recording. As mentioned above the theme of the piece is Horror and the songs are all about various movies. We get references to "CandyMan", "Damien" and "Jason Voorhees" across the scope of the record and overall the lyrics prove to be quite interesting. "Days Of Damien", "Black Empire" and "Back To Hell" were among my immediate favorites but it was another one of those CD's that I found myself enjoying overall. The CD comes with a booklet full of mood in its photos and makes sure to feature the lyrics.

It is my recommendation that Fate and Diamond fans continue to support Shermann's work and hope that this support will get the band over to the USA for some shows. It is the perfect blend of traditional inspired Metal and the Power genre. You should not be disappointed should you choose to follow the path that the Force Of Evil dares you to walk upon.

Track Listing
1. Black Empire
2. Back to Hell
3. Cabrini Green
4. Death Comes Crawling
5. Sinister Show
6. Days of Damien
7. Disciples of the King
8. Beyond the Gates
9. Hobbs End
10. Dead in Texas
11. Vorhees Revenge
12. S.O.S.

Added: July 30th 2006
Reviewer: Ken Pierce
Related Link: Force of Evil Website
Hits: 4173
Language: english

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Force Of Evil: Black Empire
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2006-07-30 19:33:59
My Score:

The Special Edition of Black Empire, the most recent platter from Force of Evil contains not only two bonus live tracks from 2004, but also the video for the song Back to Hell. Those not familiar with Force of Evil, let's back up a second. The band was formed by former Merciful Fate guitarists Michael Denner & Hank Shermann, bassist Hal Patino, singer Martin Steene, and drummer Bjarne T. Holm, and play in a very classic 80's metal style with a little power metal thrown in for good measure. Crunchy riffs, plenty of European sounding guitar solos, and Steene's high pitched vocals are the norm here. Mixed by the famed Neil Kernon (Judas Priest/Queensryche/Nevermore/Nile), Black Empire is a really big sounding record, with especially huge guitar riffs from the mighty duo. Each song here is an epic of European styled metal, with lyrics of each song based on popular horror movies, much like what Iced Earth did a few years ago.

In addition to the ripping live cuts (these guys must SMOKE in concert!) and the video, there's a nice jam packed booklet with full lyrics, artwork, and band photo. While Black Empire is less than 2 years old, there's still enough reason to purchase it again with the release of this Special Edition.

2004 Sea Of Tranquility
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