While metal continues to explode in popularity and becomes an ongoing joke for the mainstream while being adored by countless anime fans who fawn over prepubescent boys dressed as girls, both the underground and the mainstream metal world remain stagnant. Here is a quick glance into what one can expect.
Timi Hansen who played on the classic Mercyful Fate records and the first few King Diamond albums has been confirmed dead by King Diamond himself. Timi had gone public with his diagnosis on early August while announcing that he would not be able to play on the Mercyful Fate reunion tour and that Armored saint bassist Joey Vera would be taking over. He passed on the 4th of November barely a week after his 61st birthday. King Diamond left the following message.
Artillery are a Danish Speed metal band that have continued to sully their legacy with endless mediocrity that was so boring that even Metal Blade had to drop them in recent years. Despite all their recent shortcomings, Artillery were once an underground Speed metal that released two excellent albums before abandoning the underground in the pursuit of their magnum opus. Inspired in part by their journey to Tashkent in the former USSR which is now the capital of Uzbekistan, the band incorporated oriental sounds, a multitude of different riffs, haunting arpeggios and fist raising Heavy metal to create one of the finest releases in a genre which had already died at this stage.
Serpent Lord classify themselves as occult heavy metal and are adorned with the typical attire and related videos of the same rehashed cliches that Mercyful Fate popularized. The music takes mainly from Iced Earth,Black Sabbath,Death and Mercyful Fate and fails to invoke the greater aspects of those bands while invoking the worst from Death. This is a very young that have rushed their development fairly quickly and the lack of consistency in the quality of the compositions hurts a very promising band that is often confused with what they are trying to achieve.
The consensus seems to be that Christ does not belong in metal. Well, neither does Satan. Rigid patterns of thought are not conductive to the creation of transcendental metal music. The failure of NSBM stems from the rigid ideology into which the music was forced like a Procrustean bed. The two Christian metal bands worth a shit have been covered on this site: Paramaecium and Antestor. The only NSBM bands that are not terrible are the bands, like Graveland, that preceeded the creation of the subgenre and were only lumped in with the scene later… Gontyna Kry seems to be the sole exception to NSBM sucking.
(Join DMU Legend Johan Pettersson for what may be the most expansive analysis of power metal ever presented in the first of a 3 part series. Listen to the accompanying suggested listening here)
Of all the subgenres and styles that fall within the metal spectrum (hence excluding unmitigated relapses into rock such as death’n’roll, stoner, nu- and indie metal), power metal most definitely counts as the one that has received the highest amount of scorn and ridicule from critics, fans and outsiders alike. (more…)
Michael Denner and Hank Shermann (the dueling guitar virtuosos behind Mercyful Fate) have announced that the mixing and mastering is done on the upcoming album from their technical power/speed metal project, Denner / Shermann. Hopefully Masters of Evil (to be released by Metal Blade Records on June 24th ) is better than their previous EP but don’t get your hopes up. Check out the preview track below:
October is indeed the season for Mercyful Fate, or at least pretenders to its metallic throne. Earlier this month, we saw two members’ underwhelming reunion in Denner/Sherman. More recently, THEM, composed of an unrelated group of musicians despite likely being named after King Diamond’s 1988 solo album, has released a track from their own upcoming attempt to capture something of that band’s approach.
Sweet Hollow is a concept album very much in the vein of King Diamond’s projects; at this point perhaps most notable for featuring members of Symphony X and Suffocation. The single (“Forever Burns”) resembles an exaggerated, more technically ambitious take on KD’s melodramatic heavy/speed metal sound, to the point of including a great deal of falsetto singing. Even if the final product turns out to be any good, this may scare some of its potential listeners away. Currently, Sweet Hollow is planned for a January 2016 release.