Nima : Mercyful Fate and King Diamond have influenced many bands and musicians with their unique style. Bands such as In Solitude and Portrait, for example, let that shine through in the music, while in a band like Attic the theatrical also clearly serves as inspiration. Them, the German/American band with vocalist Troy Norr, aka KK Fossor (ex-Coldsteel) and guitarist Markus Ullrich (a.o. Lanfear), are also among the bands that are heavily influenced by Mercyful Fate and King Diamond. On their strong debut, 'Sweet Hollow' (2016), the men showed both musical and lyrical/visual influences from King Diamond, but it was mainly the conceptual and theatrical aspects of King and co. which had the upper hand with Them.
On the second long player, 'Manor Of The Se7 and Gables' the band more or less continues in the same style. The horror-intro 'Residuum' – with which the concept story of the previous album is continued – again has the theatrical of Kind Diamond and immediately creates the right mood. What strikes me during the following 50 minutes is that the traces of King and co. are still present, but in general they are a lot less obviously present than on the debut. The gentlemen have gotten a sound of their own and have found their way in this style a lot better. The sturdy US power/thrash pieces are even more extreme and especially more thrashy (listen for example to the powerful openers 'Circuitous' and 'Refuge In The Manor') and the epic songs of the caliber 'Dead Of Night' from the debut (like for example 'Ravna' or 'The Secret Stairs') are even more epic and more theatrical. The total picture has become very versatile, which fits perfectly with the concept and also reflects the various scenarios well musically; as it should be with a good concept album. What also belongs to a good concept album – and that is what I personally find very important – Is that the songs should form one whole, but also have to stand strong individually; and that is fortunately also the case here. The production is a bit stronger this time and especially the slightly sharper guitar sound fits more with the music, which makes the record sound more exciting and has a little more impact than 'Sweet Hollow'.
Norr also sounds very strong, although he could have approached the higher regions way more often as far as I’m concerned. Along with Norr and Ullrich, guitarist Markus Johansson (a.o. 4Arm, Sylencer) and keyboardist Richie Seibel (Lanfear, Ivanhoe) are again participant. This time on the bass we have Alexander Palma (a.o. Septagon, ex-Majesty, ex-Lanfear) and Angel Cotte (a.o. Demolition Hammer) on the drums. So again on the instrumental part there is also nothing to nag about. All in all, 'Manor Of The Se7en Gables' is a strong (US) heavy/power/thrash metal record that will appeal to a wide audience. If the gentlemen keep going on like this, Them will be one of the larger bands in metal in a few years.