“Manor of the Se7en Gables”

By Dr. Abner Mality

Anybody expecting to hear Van Morrison in this version of Them is going to be sorely disappointed. Now the name “Them” might bring our old buddy King Diamond to mind and King is an extremely obvious influence on this band. We have a top hatted ghoul with a painted face fronting a melodic thrash/power metal band that does epic concept albums based on horror. Remind you of anyone?

I don’t think Them makes a secret of their King Diamond influence and since there’s not a ton of King-inspired bands around, this is more in the nature of a worthy tribute.  There’s something about these guys, though, that kind of leaves me cold. It’s hard to put a finger on, since the production and performances are excellent and they deliver some strong material. But it just doesn’t reach me in the same way that Diamond’s best stuff does.

It’s definitely a huge Gothic horror tale complete with spoken word performances and tons of atmospheric keys.  After a rather lengthy intro, “Circuitous” attacks with a fast melodic speed metal performance.  With members of Lanfear and Septagon on board, there’s also a lot of that Euopean power metal feel as well. “Refuge In the Manor” is almost Anthrax-like with its crunchy riffs. Singer KK Fossor has that power metal kind of voice and not until late in the album does he unleash falsetto shrieks in the vein of Mr. Diamond. 

The middle of the album gets rather flabby. “Witchfinder” didn’t do much for me and “Ravna” is a forgettable ballad. The choruses here often sound child-like in an attempt to creepy, but instead wind up merely being….well, child-like. The album does ramp up nicely at the end, with a bombastic “Seven Gables to Ash” and the truly thrashing endpiece “Punishment By Fire” where Fossor unleashes his highest pitched shrieks and the story ends  by breaking the fourth wall.

It’s not bad, but to me just lacking a little something….