Review Summary: 9 Years later......AHHHHH EGGGPPYTTT. They're Back! (4.25)
1993. It was nearly nine years after Mercyful Fate released Don't Break the Oath
, and had also went their separate ways due to musical differences shortly after. Mercyful Fate had re-united a year previously, in 1992, with a successful reunion tour. With a cult-following that had grown from the acclaim of Melissa
, and Don't Break the Oath, many questions had formed in the minds of fans. "Would this release be satisfying?" would have been the number one question. King Diamond returned, with both original guitarists and bassist following suit. Former Drummer Kim Ruzz did not. While Snowy Shaw, drummer from King Diamond's Solo project at the time, and his own band Memento Mori would be the touring drummer, Morten Nielson would be doing the studio recording. Nielson was replaced after recording due to a knee injury. Thus, the Mercyful Fate had its album line up. The question still remains however. Would this record be a worthy listen? Well, without further delay, let us talk about.
When the listener starts with the opening track, Egypt
, a short acoustic intro bursts into noise as King Diamond howls AHHHHH EGGYYYPPTT!
, with a solid riff accompanying it. For a Mercyful fate fan, it would be a moment to stand up and shout, "F**k yes! They're back!". It would even intrigue a person not familiar with these guys, to simply ask in a positive way; "What the hell is this?". Guitarists Michael Denner and Hank Shermann show they are still up to the challenge with tweedy riffs and blazing solos. Nielson shows great confidence with his drumming, displaying great patience and some stand out moments. In a way, this opener feels like a throwback to Curse of the Pharaohs
, off of Melissa. The themes and tone of the song certainly reflect it. Of course there still the rest of In the Shadows
to talk about.
The next track, The Bell Witch
is a very strange and slow track at first, it has a haunting theme behind it. About a minute into this track, it picks up and sounds like classic Mercyful Fate. It is a good way to follow the opener. The Old Oak
is one of this albums highlights. at about nine minutes in length, this song is one long and consistent track. This is some of the best work from both a vocal and guitar standpoint on the album. The Old Oak shows the guitarist changing their speed and pace with excellent timing while keeping the riffs and segments fresh for the listener. Whether it is the acoustic picking, of the fast and ear-splicing solos, everything seems detailed and refined during this track. The King seems to follow suit when it came to executing his vocals.
This Next two tracks, Shadows
, and A Gruesome Time
, seem somewhat like filler tracks in a way. It will be said these two tracks are not terrible, they just seems a bit under-whelming compared to the first three. However, some standout moments do emerge, particularly A Gruesome Time for guitar sections. Even though they are slightly underwhelming they still manage to hold as decent Mercyful Fate rockers. These two tracks manage to fill the gap until the album hits back into more wonderful consistency, with Thirteen Invitations
. A thunderous drum roll leads into another solid track. This is a groovy track, with a catchy chorus. It has its slow moments, but once again, this track is another example of staying consistent between slow and steady sections. This goes straight into Legend of the Headless Rider
, another long rocker. This track is very strange. It has a very slow and gritty pace to it, at first. The track title itself can describe what the theme is. There are some really great moments for The King here, however, it just feels little too slow, and can be somewhat dull during its early moments. Around three minutes in, the track does manage to speed up, and end up being more fantastic towards its later half. With Excellent musicianship from all of the band-mates and great howling from the King himself, the track ends on a very positive note.
We hit the album's closer Is that you, Melissa?
. The name alone sounds like an awesome way to close the album. The album's opener and closer seem to have the same style. A light introduction into King Diamond's Howling vocals and excellent riffing. The only way to describe the closing track is just as an all around solid Mercyful Fate Track. Loud Vocals, Excellent guitar pieces, heavy drumming, and a haunting dark tone. Even the ending lyrics are perfect way to close the album.
Oh... Melissa, close your eyes and say goodbye
One last time... we'll kiss goodbye
I kiss your soul goodbye.
Now some final notes, While this release from Mercyful Fate was a steller return to form. It did have a few dull moments as mentioned earlier. Though it may not be on par with its predecessors, In The Shadows
Rocks like a damn fine Mercyful fate release regardless. Nine years is a long time perhaps for all members to have not recorded together. Yes, three of them were in King Diamond's solo project since then, but that is besides the point, which is this album turned out to be a solid release. During the early 1990's this record gave MF fans around the world to scream "THEY'RE BACK." Oh Yes, They certainly were.
The Old Oak
Is That You, Melissa?