This is a breath of fresh air, it’s not often that albums come along that really stand out, but "Sweet Hollow" does just that from this international band that started as a King Diamond tribute band. This is a concept album that is a mixture of fact, some long island NY folk lore and the rest is fiction. In reality "Sweet Hollow" is the local name for Melville Cemetery in Long Island as it is on Sweet Hollow Road its known more as Sweet Hollow. However, enough of that. Musically, well, you may have heard, but King Diamond fans will rejoice. The vocals, falsetto and all along with the music matches much of KD’s well respected solo material through ‘Abigail’ and ‘Them’ (not surprisingly!) to latter releases like ‘Voodoo’. What this album does is bring a story to the listener but also adds variations in the form of many other musical styles from thrash to some death metal signatures (having recruited a death metal drummer in the form of Kevin Talley whos played for the like of Suffocation, Decrepit Birth and Dying Fetus). Having members of Symphony X on board (Mike LePond on bass) also ensures the gel that sticks all the ideas together actually presents itself in the best form.
‘Forever Burns’ howls into classic KD, like ‘A Mansion In The Darkness’ and really sets the bar high for the rest of the release through it momentous pace and vigour whilst played. ‘Ghost In The Graveyard’ adds theatricals and haunting eerie moments that command your full attention while the carnival comes to town for ‘FestEvil’ with a similar stance found on a BigElf album a few years back. ‘The Dead Of Night’ is perhaps the catchiest on the album, with a tone that special during the chorus. Then along comes ‘The Harrowing Road To Hollow’, which has that thrashier feel I mentioned earlier from and which vocalist Troy Norr fits into his other home as he also sings for the band Cold Steel.
There’s so many positives, so many pieces of music and variation in the arrangements to keep most if not all happy. And whilst we await the next path of the legendary Danish singer, Them offer a more than pleasing release that really has me proclaiming that this is one of the highlights of the year in terms of album releases.