Maximum Metal Rating Legend
5 Excellent - Masterpiece. A classic.
4.5-4 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a lacking.
3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler.
3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio.
2.5-2 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors.
1.5-1 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
0 Terrible - Waste of your life and time.

Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.
Force Of Evil
Black Empire
Escapi Music
4/23/2005 - Review by: Eric Compton
Force Of Evil - Black Empire - 2005 - Escapi Music

Track Listing
1. Black Empire
2. Back To Hell
3. Cabrini Green
4. Death Comes Crawling
5. The Sinister Show
6. Days Of Damien
7. Disciples Of The King
8. Beyond The Gates
9. Hobb's End
10. Dead In Texas
11. Voorhees Revenge
12. S.O.S
Sort of odd timing for this record, with a release date at the beginning of April my thoughts are past the dreary Winter night, instead taking on the fresh sunshine of Spring and the warm climate that is easing it's way onto the East Coast. A strange time indeed for a macabre album filled with a dark Halloween fire. The newest Force Of Evil record, "Black Empire", is a haunting soundtrack for the horror mindset. With material normally associated with Fall or Autumn, Force Of Evil has gone against the logical thought pattern and brought on a dark soul storm of heavy metal themes based on that of horror including influences from books and movies. Those leather neck goons pacing the blocks waiting for the next Mercyful Fate release can relax, slow down, and settle in for the new version of 'ole Fate. With the likes of Hank Shermann, Michael Denner, Bjarne T. Holm, and Hal Patino joining up again for this force, King Diamond and Fate fans have a whole new icon to indulge in.

After this group's successful debut, I knew that the band was something truly special. While King Diamond himself seems to avoid another Mercyful Fate album, concentrating on his solo gig for the last six years (releasing three albums since the last Fate record) it is indeed a real pleasure to find these current and former Diamond/Fate members uniting with former Iron Fire screamer Martin Steene. In fact it seems like Steene has sort of taken this band under his wing, an odd thought considering Steene probably grew up listening to these musicians. Steene has the fire and the attitude to work, recording two Force Of Evil albums now, a few tours, and a live DVD. With "Black Empire" Steene shows off his pen, mastering these horror creations. Steene explains that he is a horror fan at heart, really enjoying the works of Tobe Hooper, Stephen King, and Clive Barker.

From start to finish this album is simply a tremendous metal ride. Obviously the bulk of this band is made from the sound of Mercyful Fate. Denner and Shermann hook up on some legendary axe work, really laying down a solid foundation of new wave riffs, bordering on the blues hooks that have made them famous in years past. Steene comes on like a knife in the dark, with a captivating voice that seems to reach titanic heights. He carries each word with vicious delight, almost becoming the characters he writes and sings about. His vocal delivery and register is incredible, with plenty of highs and lows that will really play the part in this "sinister show".

All of the horror gems are brought to life musically on "Black Empire". The title track is a wicked romp through the ultimate house of horror, Amityville. The cut's catchy chorus is punctuated with a Priest like run through melody and big chops. The second half of the track focuses more on the old school Fate pattern with Shermann blazing along in full bluesy mode. Tobe Hooper's cult masterpiece Texas Chainsaw Massacre is represented with "Dead In Texas", while the fantastic Friday The 13th franchise gets a musical rendition with "Voorhees Revenge". Both cuts are speedy numbers with big, catchy chorus parts that seem to be evident on most power metal records. Popular horror author Stephen King gets a tribute with "Disciples Of The King", while British novelist Clive Barker's Candyman gets treated with "Cabrini Green".

Other horror staples that are represented are Maniac Cop, The Omen, and In The Mouth Of Madness. Force Of Evil also pulls out a few original ideas with "S.O.S", "Sinister Show", "Death Comes Crawling", and "Beyond The Gates".

--EC 04.21.05

Black Empire
Escapi Music
Eric Compton4/23/2005
Evil Comes….Alive!
Escapi Music
Ken Pierce6/22/2004
Force of Evil
Diamond Records
Ken Pierce6/16/2004
Force of Evil
Diamond Records
Eric Compton4/21/2004


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