Melissa by Mercyful Fate on Apple Music

7 Songs

EDITORS’ NOTES

With their first full-length album—1983’s Melissa—Mercyful Fate succeeded in defining an influential new strain of Satanic metal. While Venom were busy in the U.K. creating a more primitive, punk-influenced spin on the same style, Mercyful Fate were proudly magnificent. They took cues not just from Judas Priest but from the prototypical giants of '70s metal: Uriah Heep, Deep Purple, and Black Sabbath. Frontman King Diamond even admitted a passion for Rush's music, which is reflected not only in his vertiginous vocals but in the intricate composition of “Satan’s Fall” (guitarist Michael Denner later boasted that the song contains 16 distinct riffs). Melissa forms a bridge between the sneering hard rock of the '70s and the more extreme forms of metal that would follow in its wake. The band’s traditional rock chops actually make their evil lyrics more convincing. While King Diamond’s facepaint influenced scores of Scandinavian black metal acts, the group’s influence is better registered in the work of a band like Metallica, which proudly borrowed from the blueprint of “Black Funeral,” “Into the Coven,” and “Melissa.”

EDITORS’ NOTES

With their first full-length album—1983’s Melissa—Mercyful Fate succeeded in defining an influential new strain of Satanic metal. While Venom were busy in the U.K. creating a more primitive, punk-influenced spin on the same style, Mercyful Fate were proudly magnificent. They took cues not just from Judas Priest but from the prototypical giants of '70s metal: Uriah Heep, Deep Purple, and Black Sabbath. Frontman King Diamond even admitted a passion for Rush's music, which is reflected not only in his vertiginous vocals but in the intricate composition of “Satan’s Fall” (guitarist Michael Denner later boasted that the song contains 16 distinct riffs). Melissa forms a bridge between the sneering hard rock of the '70s and the more extreme forms of metal that would follow in its wake. The band’s traditional rock chops actually make their evil lyrics more convincing. While King Diamond’s facepaint influenced scores of Scandinavian black metal acts, the group’s influence is better registered in the work of a band like Metallica, which proudly borrowed from the blueprint of “Black Funeral,” “Into the Coven,” and “Melissa.”

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11:23
6:42

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
  • FORMED
    1981

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