Them – Return to Hemmersmoor (Steamhammer/SPV)Sunday, 29th November 2020
The final installment of an album trilogy, the story of K.K. Fossor returns to his roots embarking on a merciless campaign of revenge in the Hemmersmoor mire. Which for Them makes sense that this would also be a heavier and most atmospheric offering, as Return to Hemmersmoor mutates the band’s love of speed, thrash, and power metal with the cinematic, horror, and theatrical qualities you’ve come to expect from the two previous records. The international lineup includes members across the United States and Germany, with bassist Alexander Palma (ex-Lanfear) taking over for Symphony X’s Mike LePond in the newest sextet incarnation.
You can savor a wide variety of tempos, arrangements, and the proper sound effects, narrative elements, and embellishments to tell the story as chilling and dynamic as possible. From the sinister narrative characters that open “Diluvium”, the background gang harmonies and sea/ship sounds within “Free” as well as the daughter segment in “Memento Mori”, the planning and placement allows the songwriting to grip the listener from front to back. Heads down power/speed riffs with traditional guitar harmony accents as well as the killer double kick mechanics of Angel Cotte make “Age of Ascension” and “Hellhounds- The Harbingers of Death” favorites if you need that thrash fix. When needed Them also explore more of their slower, epic side – incorporating almost pan-flute like keyboard strains against some gothic-style riffs for “Field of Immortality”, where K.K. Fossor can execute more of his lower and mid-range melodic capabilities beyond his obvious King Diamond-esque upper falsetto notes and screams. Considering much of this work had to be done in separate studios during the pandemic, you can tell the preparation and professional skill sets are executed to that highest level one would want in this kind of record – energetic, magnificent, and larger than life.
We know plenty of people who love King Diamond and Destruction even if they are in two distinct genres. If theatrical thrash with a bit of power/gothic elements quenches your metal thirst, Return to Hemmersmoor gets the job done – and piques curiosity as to where Them may go in subsequent efforts.