Review
Denner/Shermann
Satan's Tomb EP

Metal Blade (2015) Kevin Fitzpatrick

Denner/Shermann – Satan's Tomb EP cover artwork
Denner/Shermann – Satan's Tomb EP — Metal Blade, 2015

Murray/Smith 
King/Hanneman 
Tipton/Downing 

These are just a few of the lead guitar duos from Iron Maiden, Slayer and Judas Priest respectively, that dominated heavy metal music of the 1980s and beyond.

Perhaps lesser known, but by no means lesser in all other areas is the guitar duo do Michael Denner and Hank Shermann from Mercyful Fate, the band whose music can be considered the prototype for anything and everything related to black metal.

Led by the unholy falsetto and theatrics of King Diamond, Mercyful Fate were a band that were absolutely ahead of it's time. The riffs on their 1983 debut Melissa and their follow up Don't Break The Oath STILL sound as if they were written in the present day. For that, we have largely to thank Denner and Shermann, who have returned to give us a hot, steaming slab of metal in Satan's Tomb - a four song ep that really doesn't seem long enough.

It's great to hear these two together again. Like any great guitar duos, the symbiosis is palatable and it's like they've never left. The songwriting isn't as groundbreaking as their work with Mercyful Fate, but how the hell could it be?

Albums like those are greater than the sum of their parts - they come together through some sort of cosmic alliance that can't hope to be replicated in this lifetime. Joining them on this album is bassist Marc Grabowski of Demonica, drummer Snowy Shaw, formerly of King Diamond's band and vocalist Sean Peck of Death Dealer.

Peck was the only one who I hadn't previously heard of and his old-school vocal delivery reminds one of the classic power metal ilk, like Running Wild.

Peck is a strong vocalist but it admittedly took a few listens to decide if his style was suited to the guitar work.

Moving forward, it will be interesting to see what becomes of Denner/Shermann. I truly hope this isn't a side project - with great songs like "War Witch" and "Seven Skulls", it'll be interesting to see how the band evolves.

Denner/Shermann – Satan's Tomb EP cover artwork
Denner/Shermann – Satan's Tomb EP — Metal Blade, 2015

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