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Manor Of The Se7en Gables
(Steamhammer / SPV)

With THEM, we meet a band that should not be confused with the old band from Northern Ireland with Van Morrison that was active in the 1960s especially. Here we deal with THEM from the USA and Germany, an international band that not coincidentally has the same name as an album of KING DIAMOND. The concept behind the two bands is very similar, since both are telling scary stories spread over a full album. It is no wonder that THEM originally started as a KING DIAMOND tribute band ten years ago, centring around vocalist Troy Norr (of COLDSTEEL not-really-fame). Over the years, THEM established a quite steady line-up thus turning into a full band despite the members being spread over two continents. They released an EP and a full album (“Sweet Hollow”) to date. With “Manor Of The Se7en Gables”, the second album is ready yet and since it is the first I hear from them, I am not prejudiced. Naturally I was not really surprised to hear a lot of parallels to the works of the KING. Yet, THEM are not copycats, since they also pick up other influences. The first complete song after the intro piece that opens the story, 'Circuitous' offers a huge influence from European, particularly German Speed Metal from the 1980s as well, just listen to the chorus that even reminds of BLIND GUARDIAN. With 'Refuge In The Manor', we even have a thrashing song with (again) polyphonic choirs. In the long run of the album, the variety of ideas also include classic Metal ('Witchfinder') and semi-ballads ('Ravna') as well as some more songs in the mood of the first tunes. With the final double of the fast 'Seven Gables To Ash' and the long and more complex 'Punishment By Fire', the manor is finally burned down and the story at its end. Now it's due time for a résumé. Due to the background and the concept behind the band, THEM really provoke the comparison to KING DIAMOND and can't really win, if you want to use that term. Somehow the fascination that were and still are the mark of especially the early concept albums of KING DIAMOND can't be found in “Manor Of The Se7en Gables”, also due to the music that is not as captivating. THEM are, in my opinion, too artificial to really convince me. There are bands that implemented similar ideas in a much better way, like ATTIC for example. But if you're into the stories King Diamond loves to tell, it wouldn't be a too bad choice to check THEM and see for yourselves. Visit: or for that, or check the label:

Thomas Meyer

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