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Force of Evil – Black Empire

Label: Escapi Music
Format: CD
Released: 2005
Reviewed By: Rich Catino

Mercyful Fate and King Diamond alumni return with their second album of traditional ground metal with a healthy dose of Mercyful Fate for influence while keeping a soul of its own. Just listen to the ominous riffing behind 'Back to Hell' which instantly brings those to familiar albums like "Into the Unknown" and "9". With the guitar team of Hank Shermann and Michael Denner you are getting top notch fret work, solos galore, melody, heaviness, and dark musical foundations.


What is so crazy about these arrangements is that I feel like I am listening to another Mercyful Fate album at times, the familiar style of Denner/Shermann is unmistakeable and I bet the average mortal can’t hear it. Only the few, the proud, the TRUE Metal listener, or Fate fan, can pick out their works.

Each track is mostly carried by a mid pacing beat and a chorus, and singer Martin keeps each song’s tone dark, ie;'The Sinister Show'. He utilizes more of his range this time around, working with more wicked pitches and screams. 'Days of Damien' focuses on the movie "The Omen", using clean guitar to add the needed dynamics with well placed vocals to boot.

Topically the lyrics surround various characters and tales from the world of film and novels. 'Cabrini Green' is about the Clive Barker character Candyman, 'Dead in Texas' is Texas Chainsaw Massacre', and 'Voorhees Revenge' about everyone’s favorite summer camp slasher.

The Mercyful Fate members continue to keep busy in the lapse of waiting for another opportunity to record with King Diamond again and the moniker that basically was the foundation for what is known as Black Metal. These musicians obviously have not lost their ability to write so the next Mercyful Fate should be great.

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