ARTIST: Mercyful Fate
YEAR RELEASED: 1983
CHART ACTION: None
SINGLES: Black Funeral
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Ask a discerning metalhead; he knows the album.
LINEUP: King Diamond, Hank Shermann, Michael Denner, Timi Hansen, Kim Ruzz
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Dark Danish metal band takes your fears about Satanic songs, and spits ‘em right back at ya, with riffs galore.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Ok, so the singer wears corpse paint. Ok, so there are songs called “Into the Coven”, “Black Funeral”, and “Evil” on the album, that doesn’t mean it’s going to cause your children to eat your soul, does it?
Mercyful Fate was a pioneer in black metal, but really took a lot of their sound by mixing metal with progressive rock – as they constructed long songs, concept albums and carried themes and characters through their songs. But ask any metal fan, the two big elements for the love of this band is the guitar work and Diamond’s voice.
Hank Shermann’s complicated riff construction and the playing by Shermann and Michael Denner influenced many a thrasher and death-metallers to come, while King Diamond’s voice is outrageously high, yet powerful – the total opposite of the death growl. It’s more of a banshee shriek, and it’s very fitting.
Metal fans worth their salt should have this. If you haven’t heard it, you will be surprised how many acts copped stuff from them.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: The PMRC (remember them), put “Into the Coven” as one of their ‘Filthy Fifteen’, you know, for witchery, of course. But did they even get to “Black Funeral”? Did they not know it was a story? Ah, geez.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, a B-side and a demo.
GRADE: A-: A couple songs linger on a bit too long – the epic suite is a bit too epic. However, you shouldn’t shy away from this.