Fear City


I'm about to throw a lot on your plate, so please pay attention, you may […]
December 27, 2022
Them - Fear City album cover

I'm about to throw a lot on your plate, so please pay attention, you may even want to take notes, ok, pencils ready, here we go, THEM, originally formed in 2008 by former COLDSTEEL vocalist Troy Norr (a.k.a. KK Fossor) as a KING DIAMOND/MERCYFUL FATE tribute band are back with their fourth concept album "Fear City" released on October 28, 2022 on Steamhammer Records. Troy started to create a concept idea in 2014 and molded a story, band, album and show around it, in a nutshell, thrash metal meets horror/fantasy ongoing conceptual storytelling vision. What was set in the 19th century on their first three album releases, "Sweet Hollow" (2016), "Manor Of The Se7en Gables" (2018) and "Return To Hemmersmoor" (2020), is continued with the fourth installment on "Fear City". "KK Fossor is trying to find the descendant of the Witchhunter, who works as a televangelist under the name of Peter Thompson in the crime plagued streets of New York in the 1980's" explains Markus Ullrich, the band's German guitarist and creative mastermind. "possibly the new material is a little tougher and more uncompromising," continues Ullrich "being directly involved, we're too close to really be able to judge. Fact is, the album definitely sounds more mature, which certainly has to do with the songwriting as well as with our general approach, from the start" I'm psyched and intrigued to see what adventure this album takes us on, I've got the candles lit, the curtains drawn and the caldron boiling.

We enter into the darkness with "Excito", a twisted mix of sinister music backdrop under a scary newscast snippet narration of crime infested details that ends with two blood curdling words "I'M BACK", a perfect way to start this escapade. "Welcome to Fear City" really portraits the "KING DIAMOND" influence with insane drum presence overriding the guttural vocals and speed blurring dual guitar riffs creating a theatrical atmosphere of escaping into another world, complete with hellish lyrics: Long ago I was once a happy man with all the riches anyone could ever ask for, the enrichment of my life came in a form of happiness that my family exuded, then comes along a despicable man to kill them all, he killed them all, welcome to hell, welcome to your worst nightmare." Just like a thrilling novel or movie, this album provides a serpentine of  plot twists, not knowing what lurks behind the next corner, it's almost impossible to review even a selective number of songs with so many layers in this incredibly multifaceted storyline, I almost feel I would be spoiling the journey for the listener, but it's not all about the masquerade, musically it's a corkscrew of mind-bending thrash, black, power and progressive metal, and Norr (or his alter-ego KK) process the dynamics to make it all work. Not to get lost in all the hoopla are the furious and frenetic dual guitar mastering of Ullrich and Johansson, perfectly attached like a barnacle to a ship's hull.

When you pop in this CD, don't make any other plans for the day, it'll suck you in, it's that enthralling. I am personally blown away with the creation of this magnificent work. "Fear City" is so well crafted and thought provoking. The album ends with "In the 11th Hour" and the ghoulish spoken words "Men take Fossor to the alter, Fossor stay awhile...stay forever", will there be fifth instalment? I'm counting on it.

10 / 10









"Fear City" Track-listing:

1. Excito
2. Flight of the Concorde
3. Welcome To Fear City
4. Retro 54
5. An Ear For the Action
6. Graffiti Park
7. 191st Street
8. Home Stretch
9. The Crossing of Hellgate Bridge
10. Death on the Downtown Metro
11. Stay Tuned...
12. A Most Violent Year
13. The Deconsecrated House of Sin
14. In the 11th Hour

Them Lineup:

Troy Norr as KK Fossor - vocals
Markus Johansson - guitars
Markus Ullrich - guitars
Steve Bolognese - drums
Richie Seibel - keyboards
Alexander Palma - bass

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