Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Hump Day Hot Ticket: Denner/Shermann “Son of Satan”

Band photo

Technically, Denner/Shermann would be considered a “supergroup”, but when you look at the impressive résumés of the bandmembers, you realize that “supergroup” is too small a term, and far too limiting in describing this heavy metal powerhouse. Comprised of original Mercyful Fate guitarists Hank Shermann and Michael Denner (giving the band its name), Cage vocalist Sean Peck, the incomparable Snowy Shaw on drums, and thrash-metal bassist Marc Grabowski; Denner/Shermann is a balls-out, take-no-prisoners, good old-fashioned heavy metal band. 

In the vein of classic bands like Mercyful Fate, Iron Maiden, and Judas Priest; Denner/Shermann is bringing back all of the elements that heavy metal has missed in its attempt to redefine itself over the decades: the over-the-top screaming vocals (not guttural, not screeching, but that unmistakable style that is a cross between operatic vocalization and bluesy howling), a thunderous rhythm section, and blistering guitar solos that scorch your ears and burns itself into your soul. When you listen to a band like Denner/Shermann, you are reminded that heavy metal is still alive and well, and if you start to forget it, they will come back at you with something so heavy it will kick your balls through your teeth.

They're also not a band afraid to play up the lyrical content and imagery that made heavy metal the stuff of every mother's nightmare back in the ’80s: the dark, sinister, borderline-Satanic imagery that has become a cornerstone of metal to the point where it almost has become a parody of itself. Whether they do this in a tongue-in-cheek way or if they are being totally serious, I really don't know, but the material is so good that I honestly don't care. With big, scary-looking demons gracing their album covers, and albums with names like Satan's Tomb and Masters of Evil, it's clear that Denner/Shermann knows their audience and is all about bringing back that wicked sensibility that gave heavy metal its edge back in the day.

Their video for the song “Son of Satan” embodies all of this so perfectly: the backdrop is of a gothic-looking castle or church, where everything is in blacks or greys, and a bell tolls an ominous warning as a choir chants in Latin. The band plays amid the decaying background, while the camera cuts to a pregnant woman being accompanied by a group of black-cloaked, hooded acolytes; clearly indicating that she is to bear the song's namesake. Eventually she is placed upon an altar of some kind, so she can give birth to the Antichrist. Clearly the backdrop of the church/castle is done with CGI effects, because Sean's vocals are so piercingly high that you expect the windows to shatter when he hits those notes, and Snowy is pounding those drums so hard that by all accounts, pieces of rubble would be crashing to the ground! Eventually, some doors burst open with some fire blazing in the background, and a shadowy figure appears, suggesting that the baby's father has arrived to meet his new offspring.

To check out more music from Denner/Shermann, visit their official website.

Special thanks to Benjamin at Lords of PR.

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