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Denner-Shermann
Satan's Tomb




Company: Metal Blade
Release: 2015
Genre: Traditional
Reviewer: T. Ray Verteramo

  • A solid project



  • For the Mercyful Fate/King Diamond buff, the Denner-Shermann project was an axe-gasm waiting to happen. These two heavyweights in composition and skill, working together, promised to deliver metal through an iron fist to the teeth. In a very large sense, they don't disappoint.

    "Satan's Tomb" is richly produced and balanced. The quintet of Michael Denner (guitars), Hank Shermann (guitars), Snowy Shaw (drums), Marc Grabrowski (bass) and Shawn Peck (vocals) are well showcased with no toes stepping on the others. Soundwise, it's a beautifully packaged EP. The skills are unmistakable. Denner and Shermann's legend aside, Shaw demonstrates a smooth onslaught on the kit, delivering the complex timing and tempo changes as effortless as blinking. Grabrowski animates his instrument to vocalize a living creature with a dangerous disposition and Peck's vocals are strength incarnate, though would have been more engaging if he had used the lower register as much as the high. Nevertheless, this is a band of formidable talents.

    However, this is a guitarist's project. The songs, though well-crafted, are clearly designed to get them off, regardless of what the rest of the band does. Peck could be singing about butterflies and pink polka dots through the pussy willows, for all it matters. The guitars designate and navigate the journey. And each song truly is.

    The problem is, once you've taken the tour of "Satan's Tomb," grand as it may be, you've pretty much heard the rest of the sights.

    The title track is made up of nice hooks sandwiched between signature Mercyful Fate-familiar dynamics; with riffs weaving in and out of solos and changes and shifts and Metal Metal Metal. It's a lovely experience, a fun listen, wonderfully delivered and memorable. But, "War Witch" is pretty much the same…and "New Gods," with the latter starting off with a purr and a growl before eventually breaking into the established formula. The only other tune that distinguishes itself at all is "Seven Skulls," with its touch of classic NWOBHM flavor and thoughtful storytelling. However, even then, getting through mid-way it is difficult to hang in to see where it goes because it eventually goes where all the others do – everywhere.

    But, regardless, Satan's Tomb, even with its campy cover, is a solid project worth at least a listen. If you like the taste of what Michael Denner and Hank Shermann have to dish, you'll get at least four very large mouthfuls of it.


    About this Writer:
    T. Ray Verteramo // T. Ray is a product of New York Mediterranean upbringing, discovering Alice Cooper before puberty, and Iron Maiden after. Taken underwing by the former managing editor of Hit Parader magazine in 1985, she took to freelancing, writing up the local and national circuit for 7 years. A new millennium, a published dystopic thriller, and a CNN article on life in metal in the 80's later, she's been thrown back to the wolves, into a much darker and deeper part of the forest.

    Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details
    5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
    4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
    3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
    3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
    2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
    1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
    0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

    Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

    Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

    The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.



    ALL FULL REVIEWS FOR: DENNER-SHERMAN
    CD
    TITLE BAND
    DOR
    REVIEWER DATE
    Masters Of EvilDenner-Sherman
    2016
    Vinaya Saksena9/12/2016
    Satan's TombDenner-Sherman
    2015
    T. Ray Verteramo12/18/2015


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