|Notable new German / American metal band Them, who merge the most significant components of US power and thrash metal to meld their own singular musical potion with lyrics focusing on spooks and horror, have inked with Steamhammer / SPV to release their consummate second album, 'Manor Of The Se7en Gables' on October 26th.
'Manor Of The Se7en Gables' takes up thematically from where 2016's debut 'Sweet Hollow' album left off but goes on to explore the stylistic extremes of this musical genre even further. "'Manor Of The Se7en Gables' sounds harder, darker and technically more sophisticated than 'Sweet Hollow'," states main songwriter Markus Ullrich, adding: "At the same time, fans may be taken by surprise by a number of changes because we have unmistakably continued to evolve as a band during the past two years."
The German guitarist, who was one of the founder members of prog metal band Lanfear before joining Them in autumn 2013 (and continues to be a member of speed/thrash metal act Septagon and instrumental project A Cosmic Trail), values this evolvement: "I like it when songs also live up to certain technical standards." Referring respectfully to his American bandmates, vocalist KK Fossor, guitarist Markus Johansson (Sylencer, 4ARM) and drummer Angel Cotte (Demolition Hammer), plus his German colleagues, bassist Alexander Palma and keyboardist Richie Seibel (Lanfear, Ivanhoe), Marcus states that "Luckily, we can easily fulfil those technical standards thanks to this outstanding line-up."
US bassist Mike Lepond (Symphony X, Ross The Boss), also contributed as a guest musician in the studio, and – as on 'Sweet Hollow' – put the icing on the cake (or rather the songs) with his musical experience, as did Paul Sabu (Alice Cooper, David Bowie), who further refined the material as a chorus vocalist. "I'm really into haunting chorus parts," explains Ullrich, whose melodic vision has had a lasting effect on 'Manor Of The Se7en Gables'. "The new recording is a mix of European and American influences," he concludes, "and my German roots probably also shine through in some parts."
Despite its stylistic diversity, 'Manor Of The Se7en Gables' sounds all of a piece. The great homogeneity between music and lyrics is based on the one hand on the charismatic voice of frontman KK Fossor and on the other on the structured approach of the two main composers Ullrich and Johansson: "We had already decided on the album's plot when Markus and I started writing the songs," Ullrich explains. "That's why we worked in chronological order, composing first the intro and then each track in the scheduled sequence, which allowed us to keep in mind the story line and link the songs where stylistically possible. In line with the story's dramaturgy, the album kicks off with tough sounds, takes a number of surprising turns and ends as tough as a real metal album should."
'Manor Of The Se7en Gables', which was mixed by Dave Otero at the Flatline Audio studios in Denver, will be available on Digi-CD, double gatefold (red with white swirls 180 gram) vinyl LP, plus for digital download and stream.