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Mitch
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Mercyful Fate Albums: Worst to First

With the big day closing in, I've decided to do two very special rankings for bands who know how to get spooky. First on the list is the immortal evil entity known as Mercyful Fate.
7Mercyful Fate
Dead Again


Fitting title. I’d argue that Mercyful Fate never really died prior to this, instead laying dormant for another resurgence. But if you were to listen to this bad boy, you’d have a tough time arguing that you weren’t listening to a record from a spoiled corpse. For the first time in their career, Mercyful Fate truly sounds like they don’t give a shit. Even the epic 14 minute title track sounds like it’s performed by a band that really doesn’t give a shit anymore. There may not be anything awful here, but it sure is lacking anything that warrants a second listen.

Best Track: Mandrake
Grade: D-
6Mercyful Fate
Into the Unknown


While the previous 2 reunion albums fell a bit short of their classic output, Into the Unknown is the first instance where the cracks in the band became pretty apparent. The songwriting here comes across as a little lazy and by-the-numbers, with no new or exciting ideas in the record’s 45 minute running time. The material on here is okay, but you can’t help but feel like the whole thing is a little derivative.

Best Track: The Uninvited Guest
Grade: D+
5Mercyful Fate
9


While this may not be the highlight a band’s final record should be, 9 still manages to be a definite bump up in quality. Sure, there isn’t anything groundbreaking on here, but at least the material is performed with a little more intensity and aggressiveness. My major gripe with the record is just how low or mid tempo every song is; with a couple notable exceptions. Definitely doesn’t live up to what the band is capable of, but enjoyable nevertheless.

Best Track: Insane
Grade: C
4Mercyful Fate
In the Shadows


Following up the masterpiece that is Don’t Break the Oath is pretty much impossible, but In the Shadows showed us that Mercyful Fate still had some solid material left in them. It doesn’t stand among the ranks of the first two records, but it still delivers a solid atmospheric metal record with some really superb tracks and a fair amount of filler.

Best Track: Shadows
Grade: B-
3Mercyful Fate
Time


As far as reunion albums go, Time is far and away the best of the bunch. The record is easily their most focused from the 90’s, and is chock full of beefy songs sure to please any fan of the genre. Where the album truly shines is in just how consistent it is; without a single dud track in the mix. The biggest thing holding it back from being excellent is probably just how muted the highlights are, with no particular track standing out amongst the rest.

Best Track: Witches’ Dance
Grade: B+
2Mercyful Fate
Melissa


For this being such an influential and beloved metal record, it’s kind of shocking how long it took for me to get around to it. After giving it a couple listens, I can see why it is held in such high regard. Melissa just has a certain charm to it that not many other records possess. The dark and evil atmosphere is truly magnificent and gives the entire record an unsettling yet pleasant vibe.It takes some balls to put out an album with only 7 tracks on it, but in the case of Melissa, including any more songs would have just seemed unnecessary.

Best Track: Curse of the Pharaohs
Grade: A
1Mercyful Fate
Don't Break the Oath


Now this is the shit I’m talking about. Take everything from Melissa, crank it up to 10 and you have Don’t Break the Oath. There really isn’t anything I can say about this album that hasn’t been said before, so I’ll just stop while I’m ahead. A must listen.

Best Track: Desecration of Souls
Grade: A+
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