Them - Sweet Hollow

Them Sweet Hollow cover
Sweet Hollow
Empire Records
If your original bands are not really doing incredibly well, what can you do? I suppose doing a tribute or just completely ripping off, some other band’s style and identity might work to an extend! Original Mercyful Fate axemen Denner/Shermann did try their luck with Cage’s Sean Peck only to come up with a half acceptable album and they’re some of the people responsible for some of the most classic albums in metal… so when Them – a band consisting of Mike LePond on bass (Symphony X), who seems unable to stop doing session work in not always stellar bands, Kevin Talley on drums (Suffocation and a lot of others), Markus Ulrich on guitars, who’s biggest claim to fame is having played in Lanfear and Septagon, Markus Johansson (Sylencer) on guitars, Richie Seibel also of Lanfear on keys and Troy Norr “KK Fossor” (Coldsteel) on vocals, as the guy who pretty much masterminded all this and wrote the “concept” tries to come up with something comparable it should better be something phenomenal because it’s a very tall order, trying to compare yourself with the King of Diamonds…
And “Them” predictably are not really able to best King or as a matter of fact come seriously close, coming across like a far less demented proposition… the whole concept “reeks” of having taken some pretty serious cues from King’s “Abigail” not to the point of complete plagiarism but really coming a little too close for comfort. Also the falsettos aren’t always very strong, with Norr coming a bit across like Attila Dorn when he switches to a chesty mix. He’s reasonably theatrical, but not really anywhere close as twisted as the King in his delivery. Which then causes the album to bog down a bit. It’s not particularly bad, but certain tracks do sound a little similar and without the expertise of a puppermaster like his evil majesty things do fall a bit in disarray, past the quite strong true opener “Forever Burns”, “Dead of Night” midway is variable enough to cause some recurring interest, as is the cascading “The Harrowing Path to Hollow”… unfortunately the epilogue “When the Clock Struck Twelve” is a little too pompous and doesn’t quite manage to have the grand effect the band might have hoped for.
While Them try quite hard to mimic King Diamond at his best, they come up a little short in the storytelling department and it’s kinda lame that there’s no real originality in what “they” do… only recommended if you’re suffering from “Sleepless Nights” and can’t wait until his satanic majesty returns.
PS: I’d consider giving it a “9” just to reference the grandmaster’s obsession with the number, but if we turn it upside down it’s a nice 6… point 66! cheeky