(8/10) If you think that it's a coincidence that the this band's name is the one King Diamond has chose years and years ago for one of his masterpieces, than I can tell you that you're wrong. "Sweet Hallow", the name of Them's debut, is the best King Diamond album the King never did, at least for soem tracks.
But lets' start from the beginning. Them was started in 2008 by singer Troy Norr who some of you might know from Coldsteel. In the beginning Them wasn't more than a King Diamond tribute band for many years, including Mike Wead and Hal Patino. In 2014 Troy started to make things more tangible by working on a storyline, a band and an album. The guy found some well-known allies for Them. Mike LePond from Symphony X is on bass, Kevin Talley (Suffocation) is playing drums on the album, Markus Ulrich (Lanfear) and Markus Johansson are responsible for the six string guitar while Richie Seibel from Lanfear is on keyboards.
These guys recorded nine songs plus an intro that are in big parts inspired by King Diamond. The vocals, the guitar lines, the entire sound - all reminds more than once of the mighty Dane with the falsetto vocals.
A cold breeze and some more creepy samples mark the beginning of the album. It's an intro called "Rebirth" that leads to the first real song named "Forever Burns". The furious guitars include some of the typical Kind Diamond harmonies and as soon as Norr joins you have to check the cover twice. Fortunately the album has more to offer than just being a kind of tribute disc.
A tune that's a bit diefferent is called "Ghost of the Graveyard". This number has some more individuality since the vocals are more moderate and the track itself is kept slower and melodic. Still the vibe stays present and acts as a kind of link that keeps all the tracks together.
"The Quiet Room" acts as a kind of piano-based intermezzo before "Dead of Night", with its more than six minutes, takes over. The track is melodic and slower than some of the other stuff on the album. The fact that Norr goes without high pitches makes the track to a riff-based hardrocker that stands out from the rest.
"FestEvil" is a bit breathless before "The Crimson Corpse" brings back the good old "Them"-days that are merged with a true power metal riffing that reimnds of Iced Earth. It's an interesting track that shows the potential of Them. Or in case your looking for some Nevermore references you can listen to the closer "The Harrowing Path to Hollow".
What to say as a sum up. For me, Them is neither a copycat nor a tribute. It is inspired by the King but it has enough own identity which makes it to an exciting longplayer that cherishs heavy metal and power metal, all embedded in a gloomy storyline. "Sweet Hallow" is entertaining and is done very well.
- Forever Burns
- Down The Road To Misery
- Ghost In The Graveyard
- The Quiet Room
- Dead Of Night
- The Crimson Corpse
- Blood From Blood
- The Harrowing Path To Hollow
Label: Empire Records
Genre: Heavy Metal
Release Date EU: September 30st, 2016