10 Songs, 47 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Widely regarded as the high point of Mercyful Fate’s career, 1984’s Don’t Break the Oath was a more fearsome and focused iteration of everything that had made 1983’s Melissa an underground classic. Though shaped by the great proto-metal bands of the '70s, Mercyful Fate had by this point honed their own distinct sound. “A Dangerous Meeting,” “Come to the Sabbath,” and “Welcome Princes of Hell” present a potent mixture of Iron Maiden’s glorious speed, Black Sabbath’s doom-laden riffs, and Rush’s audaciously technical progressive rock. Obviously, the icing on the cake was Mercyful Fate’s erudite and explicitly Satanic lyrical content, most of which was penned by singer King Diamond. With his unpredictable operatic wail, King Diamond was unlike anyone else in metal. Though he was clearly untrained, his confidence made his performances truly compelling. In combination with the band’s complex multipart riffs and ritualistic lyrics, the result was a completely unique image of modern metal. The album’s undeniable centerpiece is “The Oath,” a cinematic survey of the band’s Satanic aesthetic.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Widely regarded as the high point of Mercyful Fate’s career, 1984’s Don’t Break the Oath was a more fearsome and focused iteration of everything that had made 1983’s Melissa an underground classic. Though shaped by the great proto-metal bands of the '70s, Mercyful Fate had by this point honed their own distinct sound. “A Dangerous Meeting,” “Come to the Sabbath,” and “Welcome Princes of Hell” present a potent mixture of Iron Maiden’s glorious speed, Black Sabbath’s doom-laden riffs, and Rush’s audaciously technical progressive rock. Obviously, the icing on the cake was Mercyful Fate’s erudite and explicitly Satanic lyrical content, most of which was penned by singer King Diamond. With his unpredictable operatic wail, King Diamond was unlike anyone else in metal. Though he was clearly untrained, his confidence made his performances truly compelling. In combination with the band’s complex multipart riffs and ritualistic lyrics, the result was a completely unique image of modern metal. The album’s undeniable centerpiece is “The Oath,” a cinematic survey of the band’s Satanic aesthetic.

TITLE TIME
5:10
6:19
4:54
4:59
7:31
3:08
4:03
1:31
5:19
4:30

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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