Denner/Shermann – Masters of Evil (Metal Blade)

Genre: Heavy Metal

“We’re in for a treat” said RUSHONROCK back in October, in anticipation of this album from Hank Shermann, Michael Denner and their new(ish) bandmates. 2015’s Satan’s Tomb EP had whetted our appetites and we were hungry for more from the former Mercyful Fate guitarists – a duo who helped shape the face of heavy metal as we know it.

Masters of Evil, though, feels like a bit of a let-down – despite its sheer bravado and classy sheen. Perhaps that’s because songs like Son of Satan sound like self-parody, deeply immersed in cheesy metal clichés, or because The Baroness is lumpen and disjointed, with vocalist Sean Peck’s hammy vocals not exactly helping matters either.

Yet as you’d expect from Denner and Shermann, there are some magical moments on Masters of Evil: Escape from Hell for instance, is a thundering juggernaut of a tune, with the axemen unleashing torrents of blistering riffs and glorious solos like only they can. The driving, dramatic Pentagram and the Cross is similarly impressive, and you’d be a particularly po faced guy or gal not to shake your locks during its thunderous four minutes.

Long time fans of these great Danes will find much to love here, that’s for sure – and this opus would put many a band in the trad metal revival circuit to shame… but it’s more of a mixed bag than the full package.

RUSHONROCK RATED: 6.5/10 Evil Ways