11 Songs, 47 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Though In the Shadows proved to be a ferocious comeback for Mercyful Fate, some of its best songs—like “Shadows” and “Room of Golden Air”—were overlooked because they took the band’s vicious attack to a more textural, atmospheric place. The band’s 1994 album Time gave the group more room to explore that place, especially with “Lady in Black,” “The Afterlife,” and the title song, an eerie incantation that incorporates harpsichord to unsettling effect. Even tunes as aggressive as “The Mad Arab” use a spacious, atmospheric production that’s designed not to bludgeon listeners but to draw them into the band’s environment. “Nightmare Be Thy Name,” “Angel of Light,” and “Witches’ Dance” are three of the most definitive and catchy songs Mercyful Fate ever wrote, even as each boasts the idiosyncrasies that make the band beloved in the metal world. The album closes with “Castillo Del Mortes,” which features an army of Satanic creatures doing battle over an ancient castle in Spain. While most metal bands competed over which could be the fastest and the heaviest, Mercyful Fate focused on being the most cinematic.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Though In the Shadows proved to be a ferocious comeback for Mercyful Fate, some of its best songs—like “Shadows” and “Room of Golden Air”—were overlooked because they took the band’s vicious attack to a more textural, atmospheric place. The band’s 1994 album Time gave the group more room to explore that place, especially with “Lady in Black,” “The Afterlife,” and the title song, an eerie incantation that incorporates harpsichord to unsettling effect. Even tunes as aggressive as “The Mad Arab” use a spacious, atmospheric production that’s designed not to bludgeon listeners but to draw them into the band’s environment. “Nightmare Be Thy Name,” “Angel of Light,” and “Witches’ Dance” are three of the most definitive and catchy songs Mercyful Fate ever wrote, even as each boasts the idiosyncrasies that make the band beloved in the metal world. The album closes with “Castillo Del Mortes,” which features an army of Satanic creatures doing battle over an ancient castle in Spain. While most metal bands competed over which could be the fastest and the heaviest, Mercyful Fate focused on being the most cinematic.

TITLE TIME
3:28
3:37
4:47
4:42
4:42
4:22
3:29
3:49
3:19
4:32
6:14

About Mercyful Fate

Danish band featuring vocalist King Diamond, guitarists Hank Shermann and Michael Denner, bassist Timi Hansen, and drummer Kim Ruzz. Mercyful Fate won a large cult following thanks to their dramatic lyrics, showing a Gothic obsession with evil and the occult, and Diamond's amazing vocal range, which shifted from a low growl to a banshee scream, plus the interplay of Shermann and Denner. The band broke up after two full-length albums owing to differences of opinion about what direction the group should take (Shermann wanted a more commercial approach). Diamond pursued a solo career in the mid-'80s. In 1993, the group reformed its original lineup, with the exception of Ruzz (King Diamond drummer Snowy Shaw joined instead). The initial results were quite successful, as the group seemed to pick up right where it left off, much to the delight of their fans. Hansen left after the first reunion record, In the Shadows, and was replaced by Sharlee D'Angelo on its 1994 follow-up Time; drummer Shaw's place was taken by Bjarne T. Holm for 1996's Into the Unknown. Dead Again followed in 1998, as did further lineup shifts; original member Denner called it quits, and the band recruited Mike Wead to take his place on guitar. This lineup remained in place for 1999's 9. ~ Steve Huey

  • ORIGIN
    Copenhagen, Denmark
  • GENRE
    Rock
  • FORMED
    1981

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