Great Metal Albums of 1984: Mercyful Fate- Don’t Break the Oath

To this day, I’m not sure whether or not I should be disappointed by “Don’t Break the Oath,” the second album from Danish metal band, Mercyful Fate. I have to admit, I was expecting great things from them after hearing their great 1983 debut album, “Melissa” and another admission, it did take me a couple of listens before I really got into it. When I did, I discovered that it’s still a pretty cool album.

For those of you who read my post on the “Melissa” album, you might remember that it was the album that really got me into black metal. What I liked about it was the fact that there were no backwards messages from the Dark Lord. On their best known song, “Black Funeral,” lead singer King Diamond comes straight out and sings, “Hail Satan!” He doesn’t do that on any of the songs on “Don’t Break the Oath” and maybe that’s what the disappointment was for me. After all, when I put the album on, I had my altar prepared and my knives sharpened so I could sacrifice a few chickens and goats. The album didn’t inspire me to go through with it. Shame, I know.

On this album, King Diamond not only doesn’t sing “Hail Satan,” on some of the songs, it’s hard to hear what he’s singing. He could be telling us to eat our peas and carrots and we’ll never know. Of course, the counter argument here is that with that versatile trademark voice and falsetto vocals, he could be singing about vegetables and would still sound good. I think the clearest he comes in is on the third track, “Desecration of Souls.” However, it is the track after that I think is the best track on the album, “Night of the Unborn.” King comes in nice and clear although at one point when he goes falsetto, he briefly sounds like a chicken being strangled but he pulls it down and delivers a great performance backed up by the guitar work of Hank Shermann and Michael Denner. This song reminds me so much of the black metal I loved on the previous album.

Speaking of the guitars, it is the work of Shermann and Denner that stands out the most. I didn’t mention the first two tracks above on account of not being able to fully understand the vocals but these two guitarists push the songs through at a break-neck pace and that what makes those songs good. Even when they go a little prog metal on “The Oath,” the guitars are just spot on. The vocals are good as well. I love how the slamming guitars mix well with King’s vocals before going out on a cool guitar solo. That tight chemistry remains on the much more power metal like tracks”Gypsy” and “Welcome Princess of Hell.” Always loving a bit of unpredictability, things slow down a lot so Michael and Hank show their softer side on the guitar instrumental, “To One Far Way.” But things go out with a bang with the closer “Come to the Sabbath” and by the end, I forget why I thought I should be disappointed in the album.

Track Listing:

  1. A Dangerous Meeting
  2. Nightmare
  3. Desecration of Souls
  4. Night of the Unborn
  5. The Oath
  6. Gypsy
  7. Welcome Princess of Hell
  8. To One Far Away
  9. Come to the Sabbath

Mercyful Fate

King Diamond- vocals

Hank Shermann- guitar

Michael Denner- guitar

Timi ‘Grabber’ Hansen- bass

Kim Ruzz- drums

Unfortunately, after “Don’t Break the Oath,” Mercyful Fate would break up due to musical differences. As you will see in future posts, King Diamond would go on to have a fabulous solo career. But for now, I enjoy what a good album this is, even if I don’t want to sacrifice anything.

Next post: Armoured Saint- March of the Saint

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://book-fm.cf/print/free-download-rock-and-roll-children-by-michael-d-lefevre-pdf.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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8 Responses to “Great Metal Albums of 1984: Mercyful Fate- Don’t Break the Oath”

  1. These guys passed me by – I just check them out. I didn’t miss much back then!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A great album. I know a lot of folk think this is the best of theirs but I prefer Melissa to this one too. (Although the s/t EP is the absolute best stuff they ever did I reckon!)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Really enjoyed this review. I love the music but there’s something about his voice I just can’t get into.

    Liked by 1 person

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