THEM, is a Germany / United States based outfit, that really caught our attention some months ago, while their first demo was out. The band originally formed by vocalist Troy Nor ( also vocalist for the US Thrash metal band COLDSTEEL) back in 2008 as a KING DIAMOND tribute band. During their tribute band era, THEM also collaborated on stage with KING DIAMOND members Hal Patino and Mike Wead. Back in 2014, Troy came up with the idea of making a concept album and about a year later Mike LePond (SYMPHONY X, SILENT ASSASSINS etc.) takes over the bass player position, having already Mr Kevin Talley (ex – DYING FETUS, CRYPTOPSYetc) on drums.
The outcome of this collaboration is “Sweet Hollow” that has been released some days ago and as you may have already guessed, it is a concept album, dealing with a horror tale, with atmospheric passages and some well “directed” spoken parts. I believe that the easiest way for someone to describe the album is to define it as a KING DIAMOND replica, but it’s not. Of course the KING DIAMOND feeling is all over the album, but the band created something of their own. In the about fifty-five minutes of “Sweet Hollow’s running time, THEM deliver a great mixture of heavy metal with some progressive oriented elements. Absolutely stunning guitar work from Markus Johansson and Markus Ullrich with some superb riffing and leads that can be melodic and “evil” at the same time. Troy Nor narrates his story, in the most theatrical way, using his falsetto voice as background vocals, which are really amazing. On tracks like “Dead Of Night”, where we can listen to his “normal” melodic voice, Troy, reminds me the quality of “Papa Emeritus” voice (GHOST), while on more up-tempo tracks like ” The Harrowing Path To Hollow” his soaring vocals, sound close to Sean Peck (CAGE, DENNER/SHERMANN). Of course, both of these vocalists consider as their main influence THE King, himself.
Over the past decade, we come across many bands that are heavily influenced by MERCYFUL FATE / KING DIAMOND legacy, most of them, being mediocre copy cats,in my opinion, that just lasted for a few years. I strongly believe, that THEM, is not one of that kind of bands. They deliver quality in their compositions, great atmosphere (Richie Seibel on Keyboards does excellent work on the album) “well directed” dialogues and spoken parts, a fact that adds extra points to the gloomy atmosphere. From my point of view, their most difficult accomplishment is that despite the fact that they are heavily influenced by KING DIAMOND they created an album that cannot be considered as a replica.
If you are into this kind of metal, you will love “THEM”
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