Mercyful Fate - Melissa

Mercyful Fate - Melissa

Mercyful Fate - Melissa

(1983, Roadrunner Records)

Heavy Metal always had (and still does) various faces; one of them was the evil one. From the archetypal sound of BLACK SABBATH to extreme non-conformity of VENOM, the Metal vice had its way to approach the ones looking for something close to ‘the other side’. Long way before the formation of Black or Death Metal bands it was classic Heavy Metal that paved the way for His Majesty and that ilk, and Denmark’s MERCYFUL FATE was a pioneering band in that construction.

Formed in Copenhagen in 1981 by none other than the infamous King Diamond and guitarist Hank Shermann, the band went on to record some demo tapes in order to secure a deal with some record label. Rave On Records was the one and the result was the now scarce 1982 same titled EP that showed the Metal world what this outfit was capable of. Inking a new deal with Roadrunner Records, the MERCYFUL FATE team stormed in the studio to record their first full length herein presented. “Melissa” was the result of hard work and high spirit and this is undoubtedly shown in the vinyl grooves from start to finish.

You can read at various resource pages facts about the songs and the recording sessions regarding this album. The main thing here, though, is to try and capture the importance of the LP. First of all, the atmosphere is fierce and obscure: you think you’re traveling in the fiery pits of hell by listening to this album and that’s no little thing. The production is clear and heavy but with a vague aura that can act as the soundtrack to your worst nightmares, believe me. An added value for this result is both the vocal parts and the craftsmanship itself: King Diamond is possessed in this album and his horror harmonies have little to do with what he did afterwards in his solo career. The music, on the other hand, is totally old-school Metal but with an eerie dimension where the influence of early JUDAS PRIEST, BLACK SABBATH and URIAH HEEP is tied in one big bond ready to crush your brain.

Seven songs of total madness sum it up to a real diamond recording. “Melissa” is one of the fiercest albums I’ve heard in my life and many - but many - Black Metal bands would love to have captured even some of the atmosphere lurking in here. Needless to say, the satanic music associated with Diamond’s fearsome vocals was and still is a major influence to every band that tries to endorse the ‘evil’ term in its music. It’s sad MERCYFUL FATE has been on hold for at least 15 years now (their final recording was 1999’s “9”) but their legacy shines on when it comes to the evil side of Heavy Metal.


Tracklist

01. Evil
02. Curse Of The Pharaohs
03. Into The Coven
04. At The Sound Of The Demon Bell
05. Black Funeral
06. Satan’s Fall
07. Melissa


Lineup

King Diamond - Vocals
Hank Shermann - Guitar
Michael Denner - Guitar
Timi “Grabber” Hansen - Bass
Kim Ruzz - Drums