Return To Hemmersmoor

SPV / Steamhammer
rating icon 8.5 / 10

Track listing:

01. Diluvium
02. Age of Ascension
03. The Tumultuous Voyage to Hemmersmoor
04. Free
05. Field of Immortality
06. The Thin Veil
07. Waken
08. Memento Mori
09. Hellhounds: The Harbingers of Death
10. Battle Blood
11. Maestro's Last Stand
12. Finis

Originally formed as a straightforward KING DIAMOND tribute band, THEM have long since outgrown their initial masterplan and evolved into the one of the most entertaining heavy metal bands on the planet. If you missed the international sextet's first two albums, 2016's "Sweet Hollow" and 2018's "Manor Of The Se7en Gables", you missed out on some of the most uproarious horror-themed metal this side of, well, you know who. And while vocalist Troy Norr is undoubtedly capable of doing a fine impression of the aforementioned Dane, he has brought more than enough of his own, warped personality to bear on the band's works to date. The truth is that "Return To Hemmersmoor" deserves to reach an audience far beyond the rather niche minority that, in essence, will listen to anything that sounds like KING DIAMOND. I include myself in that group with no apologies, but THEM are following their own crooked and fascinating path at this point.

With plenty of moderately goofy dialogue and exposition thrown in to elucidate the album's core story, "Return To Hemmersmoor" is the consummate, immersive old-school metal experience, but one with a very punchy, modern production. The story itself is wonderfully preposterous, of course, and deserves to unfold without spoilers for first time listeners. But what strikes home throughout the band's third album is how their initial debt to "Abigail" and "Them" has mutated into a more muscular and anthemic strain of melodic metal, full of dynamic quirks and singalong splendor. Still offering plenty of room for Norr's multiple voices and mind-bending array of falsetto shrieks, songs like "Age of Ascension" and "Free" have huge hooks and an incisiveness that was only hinted at on previous records. The best songs here — the stately but intricate "Fields of Immortality" and the shadowy rush of "Hellhounds: The Harbingers Of Death" spring to mind – add shades of epic doom, arena-friendly cock rock and even a dash of prog metal to an otherwise stoically traditional formula. It's all vividly rendered and classy as hell.

Most importantly, THEM are boisterously reviving the notion of heavy metal as bombastic, theatrical and sworn to the mischievous black. Long overdue some real recognition, their latest ripping yarn is horrifyingly good.

Author: Dom Lawson
  • facebook
  • twitter
  • reddit
  • email

Comments Disclaimer And Information

BLABBERMOUTH.NET uses the Facebook Comments plugin to let people comment on content on the site using their Facebook account. The comments reside on Facebook servers and are not stored on BLABBERMOUTH.NET. To comment on a BLABBERMOUTH.NET story or review, you must be logged in to an active personal account on Facebook. Once you're logged in, you will be able to comment. User comments or postings do not reflect the viewpoint of BLABBERMOUTH.NET and BLABBERMOUTH.NET does not endorse, or guarantee the accuracy of, any user comment. To report spam or any abusive, obscene, defamatory, racist, homophobic or threatening comments, or anything that may violate any applicable laws, use the "Report to Facebook" and "Mark as spam" links that appear next to the comments themselves. To do so, click the downward arrow on the top-right corner of the Facebook comment (the arrow is invisible until you roll over it) and select the appropriate action. You can also send an e-mail to blabbermouthinbox(@) with pertinent details. BLABBERMOUTH.NET reserves the right to "hide" comments that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate and to "ban" users that violate the site's Terms Of Service. Hidden comments will still appear to the user and to the user's Facebook friends. If a new comment is published from a "banned" user or contains a blacklisted word, this comment will automatically have limited visibility (the "banned" user's comments will only be visible to the user and the user's Facebook friends).