Force of evil-Black Empire, 2005
I actually first heard this some time ago, but just got around to writing about it. This was the second release from a band where 4/5 of the line-up had all played with either Mercyful Fate or King Diamond. Guitarists Michael Denner and Hank Sherman were both original members in Mercyful Fate and Denner played on King Diamond's first two releases. Bass Player Hal Patino played with King Diamond from 1988-1990 and drummer Bjarne T. Holm played with Mercyful Fate from 1996-1999. Singer Martin Steene formerly played with Iron Fire and is the only band member with no ties to a King Diamond project. All five members are from Denmark. So with such links you may expect it to sound somewhat like those two bands and inevitably they will be compared to those two bands. I would say that there are moments where it has touches of both Mercyful Fate and King Diamond. This album is very much entrenched in a traditional style of metal with solid guitars and occasional bursts of mild speed. I have always felt that Denner and Sherman were one of the best guitar duos of all time and they still play exceptionally well. The rhythm section is solid and help give the music a solid foundation. Martin Sheene has a range and uses it and overall I like his voice, but it may not be for everyone. The biggest plus is how much experience really does mean. Everyone here has played for some time and it shows. However this album feels like the band is running out of steam when they get a little over half way through the album. The first half is very strong and memorable. The second half is slightly dull at times and sometimes it feels a little hollow like they could be doing more. Apparently they are still together so hopefully they will be a little tighter should they do another release. It is a decent effort though for the most part. With the talent involved here it's certainly worth a listen.