Metal Mofos’ Isaac Sauers gives us a holiday treat as he counts down 25 days till Christmas with 25 of his favorite must own metal and hard rock albums. Join us daily through December 25th to read the latest entry.
October 30, 1983 brought the world a great horror image filled album just in time for Halloween, Melissa by Mercyful Fate. This album would go on to influence a lot of metal musicians particularly those in the American thrash metal scene.
Myself and others my age were introduced to Mercyful Fate through Metallica who did an 11 minute medley of Mercyful Fate songs on their 1998 album Garage Inc. the track was titled “Mercyful Fate” and was definitely the highlight of Garage Inc.’s first disc. It really made me want to hear more from the original band.
The Danish band, consisting of King Diamond on vocals, Michael Denner and Hank Shermann on guitar, Timi Hansen on bass, and Kim Ruzz on drums, released their self titled EP, also known to the world as Nuns Have No Fun, the previous year. This 4 track recording made listeners hungry for more tunes which Mercyful Fate couldn’t wait to release. Melissa was the first release on the Roadrunner record label and was distributed in the United States through Megaforce Records.
Melissa was recorded in Copenhagen in the summer of 1983 and took all of 13 days to record and mix. Some of the music was taken from previous bands Mercyful Fate members were in such as Black Rose and Brats (demos of these bands are available to own and cool collectibles). Hank Shermann was the chief composer of the music and King Diamond wrote all the band’s lyrics.
What can I say about the music for this album? Hank Shermann and Michael Denner are RIFF MASTERS! King Diamond really created his own signature sound in regards to vocal delivery. Love it or hate it you can’t deny it’s his own. Let’s talk about my favorite tracks in this album.
The first track, heavy metal classic, “Evil” has lots of great riffs and solos. It’s one of Mercyful Fate’s most well known songs, and vocalist King Diamond still performs it regularly at shows with his solo band. During the 2015 Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival King Diamond was regularly joined by Slayer guitarist Kerry King onstage to perform the song. I’ll have to say it was a cool event to witness even though I’m not the biggest fan of Kerry King’s constantly running mouth.
“Curse of the Pharaohs” is a really great, catchy song. As I mentioned in my previous article about Iron Maiden’s Powerslave I like ancient history and Egypt so naturally a song like “Curse of the Pharaohs” will appeal to me. I don’t know how it wasn’t a hit single.
“Into the Coven” starts off with some classical style guitar riff. Almost like a Christmas carol. Just perfect for this time of year except when you listen to the lyrics where instead of the song being about baby Jesus the words tell you to become Lucifer’s child.
“Satan’s Fall” is an 11 minute epic that gives us so many different riffs from this great guitar duo you just can’t miss it. I hope you like guitar solos.
These days vocalist King Diamond still tours regularly with his solo band and always includes some old Mercyful Fate classics in his set. Guitarists Michael Denner and Hank Shermann resurfaced recently with their project Denner/Shermann.
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