Mercyful Fate
Melissa


5.0
classic

Review

by Priestmetal USER (20 Reviews)
September 24th, 2005 | 666 replies


Release Date: 1983 | Tracklist


Mercyful Fate hails from Denmark and is arguably Venom’s side kicks in the pioneering of the black metal genre. They played traditional heavy metal but their lyrics were mostly about evil and Satanism. Also, their lead singer, King Diamond, would wear capes and face paint. He looked like a cross between Gene Simmons and a pro wrestler. For an example of their “evilness", their 1982 demo Nuns Have no Fun had a naked woman on a cross that is surrounded by satanic priests. In 1983, they released their first LP entitled Melissa. Their debut was an astoundingly powerful metal album from start to finish. It possessed every element of the NHOBHM sound but with a dark twist in the general sound that made them purely unique. In Metallica’s Garage Inc CD booklet Mercyful Fate are described as “doing this wild Judas Priest meets Deep Purple thing with a more progressive element". Personally, I would depict Melissa as seven tracks of pure metal ownage.

First off, King Diamonds voice and style of singing add so much to the music. He alternates between lower raspy singing that adds aggression to the music and high-pitched clear falsetto screams that add darkness and mysteriousness to it. Those who love lots of high pitch screams randomly inserted in songs (I don’t mean that in a bad way) are in for a treat. Yet, I wouldn’t call him an extremely talented singer. It’s his style that is outstanding more than his skill itself. Moreover, Diamonds lyrics are excellent. Alone they might sound cheesy and exaggerated, but along with the dark, heavy guitar riffs they sound perfect. With or without the music, they are sinister enough to upset parents all around the world. Especially lines like, “Suck the blood from this unholy knife. Say after me: My soul belongs to Satan". As I mentioned before that might sound like they tried too hard to appear as Satanists and what not , but I can assure you that King Diamonds signature voice and the instrumentals make it sound incredibly convincing.

Melissa has, in my opinion, some of the best metal riffs and melodies ever recorded. A good example for riffs is the song Evil. That song is seriously only made up of excellent riffs. When you add that with a strong rhythm section and soaring high vocals, you get an almost flawless metal song. For melodies, a good example would be the intro to Into the Coven. Its very melodic and melancholy but then it explodes into a metal riff. In addition, the title track starts with a nice soft intro as well. Also, there is the 11+ minute epic Satan’s Fall. Throughout those 11 minutes, only the opening riff is repeated twice. Yet, it is filled with strong sections that keep the song from becoming boring. I would consider it to be a very well thought up song with brilliant organization. Furthermore, there is little repetitiveness throughout the album. The tempos change, the keys change, and so do the riffs in general. In fact, more than half the riffs on the album are actually memorable. Each song has its own way of standing out which is quite rare in a metal album.

One thing that is essential for any metal band is to have a strong rhythm section, which Mercyful Fate does. The drums are very present but are well mixed and do not overpower the other instruments. I like a lot of Kim Ruzz’s entrances to songs. He seems to have an uncanny ability to enter with enough power to drag your attention into the song, which is a quality that unfortunately some drummers don’t have. In addition, he displays some pretty nice double pedal work without abusing it. Timi Hansen, the bassist, doesn’t display any remarkable skill but seems to do his job just fine with a few cool parts here and there, like most metal bassists. This band obviously isn’t rhythm oriented though. The main focus is visibly the riffs and the vocals.

All in all, Melissa’s greatness comes from consistency and apparent variety. Every track is strong from start to finish with no exceptions, and no two songs sound too alike. The songs are all well constructed and have nice heavy but melodically dark riffs. In addition, no songs drag on too long and therefore never get boring. Each is fresh and new sounding every time you listen to it. I would recommend this album to anyone who likes heavy metal, especially from the NWOBHM era, and to fans of black metal because to my understanding they are among the godfathers of the genre. Also, I would even go as far to say that I would recommend it to anyone just getting into metal, as this is pretty close to a perfect, classic, metal album. Unfortunately, Mercyful Fate are not too known and their music seems to be overlooked by other bands of their era such as Metallica and the whole thrash movement. Yet, on that note, Metallica paid homage to Mercyful Fate on their 1998 cover compilation Garage Inc by playing an 11+ minute Mercyful Fate medley, which has parts of most of the songs on this album and the whole song Evil.

Recommended tracks: There are only seven, which as I have repeated many times are all outstanding so I might as well recommend all of them.

Final rating: 5/5 One of the best metal albums in my opinion.

* King Diamond - all vocals
* Hank Shermann - guitars
* Michael Denner - guitars
* Timi Hansen - bass
* Kim Ruzz - drums



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TayBad (3.5)
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Ace_of_Bass2112
September 24th 2005


257 Comments


this sounds like a wicked good album but im not to into black metal

i might pick it up

ROH
September 24th 2005


16 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

Very good review for a very good metal album.

The thing that made me buy it was Metallica's Mercyful Fate medley on Garage Inc.

heavy metal kid
September 24th 2005


174 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Mercyful Fate's Melissa it's the best exponent of riffing, awesome dual solos and King Diamond voice is great.

Evil is my fav. song, if you like the metallica medley, you gonna love the originals.

Priestmetal
September 25th 2005


542 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thanks guys.

Remember to vote YES, please. This Message Edited On 09.25.05

Aakon_Keetreh
September 25th 2005


448 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i freaking love this cd!!!!! awsome review!!!!!

Apathy
October 9th 2005


645 Comments


I should really check these guys out, because King Diamond's voice makes me crack up. :wave:

Aakon_Keetreh
October 9th 2005


448 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

ya haha, and hes obbessed with satan haha

Priestmetal
October 9th 2005


542 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

His lyrics are wicked good though... I just think the face paint was superfluous.

Aakon_Keetreh
October 11th 2005


448 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i think his face paint is pretty cool, but sometimes it gets too weird for me

Shattered_Future
October 11th 2005


1540 Comments


I heard a song or two by him...his voice scares me. He's got the high falsetto, yet the deep growling as well.

Good music though...I should pick some of his work up.

Apathy
October 12th 2005


645 Comments


Have you heard "Sweet Dreams" off of Dave Grohl's album Probot? It is HILARIOUS.

I mean that. Sample lyrics:

"I am the pain, in your BRAIIIN!!"
"I am the warlock."
"I am the slimy demon hanging on your wall."

Priestmetal
October 12th 2005


542 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

O... wow... well umm... the lyrics were good with Mercyful Fate only I guess haha.

Aakon_Keetreh
October 14th 2005


448 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

ya haha, if anybody wants this cd just ask cuz i could send it to you

Aakon_Keetreh
October 16th 2005


448 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i just bought the digitaly remastered version with the new songs that the dvd...it was excellent....very excellent

Apathy
October 17th 2005


645 Comments


Do you mean the Roadrunner Records 25th anniversery one? I want that, but I couldn't find it at my local HMV.

Aakon_Keetreh
October 17th 2005


448 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

ya thats the one

Apathy
November 18th 2005


645 Comments


I downloaded this...and it's not a 5.

Priestmetal
November 19th 2005


542 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

What makes it not a 5 in your opinion?

Apathy
November 19th 2005


645 Comments


Black Funeral, Curse of the Pharoahs. The former is awful, and the latter mediocre. The rest of it ain't exactly 5/5 either.

Priestmetal
November 20th 2005


542 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I liked both those songs but I can see why you might not like them all that much. Has anyone heard some of their other albums? I would like to know if they are as good as this one.



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