Archive for Black Metal

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

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 5, 2018 by 80smetalman

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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Great Metal Albums of 1983: Mercyful Fate- Melissa

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 13, 2017 by 80smetalman

220px-melissa_album

My first experience of  the 1983 “Melissa” album from Danish metal band Mercyful Fate didn’t come until early 1985 when I heard the best known song from the album, “Black Funeral” on a compilation album. During that time, I constantly heard the Jesus brigade going on about how the lyrics of rock songs all have hidden Satanic messages that mess with your subconscious. Well, it is safe to say that there are no such hidden subversive lyrics in the song, “Black Funeral.” No, instead lead singer King Diamond just comes out and sings “Hail Satan.” I’ve loved that song ever since.

“Black Funeral” isn’t the only song on the Melissa album that has straight forward messages from the Dark Lord. There are lyrics in most of the songs here that grab my attention and fill me with much amusement. Take the second track, “Curse of the Pharaohs.” Those lyrics, “Don’t touch, never ever steal unless you’re in for the kill or you’ll be hit by the curse of the pharaohs” Continue to make me smile. After that is “Into the Coven” with, “Come, come into my coven and become Lucifer’s Child.” The penultimate track, “Satan’s Fall” gives two different sets of lyrics to amuse. The first is “Bring me the blood of the unborn child.” The second greatly amused my roommate at University in London and upon hearing it repeated “Satan’s still alive.” With all of these, one my think that I have upside down crosses on my front lawn and an altar in my backyard where I sacrifice chickens, goats and virgins to Satan. I don’t because like so many millions of people, song lyrics don’t effect me like that.

Satanic lyrics is only one reason to like this album. The music on “Melissa” is of top quality. Most metalheads know the unmistakable voice of King Diamond and his ability to go from a deep, low growl to his high pitched harmonies. On this album, he is probably at his best. However, what has gone less noticed is the guitar work of both Michael Denner and Hank Shermann. Not only do they hammer out some cool solos throughout the album, there is some nice little guitar breaks in the songs as well. Two more to add to the list of under appreciated guitarists. Furthermore, this is the only album that I know where the first three tracks all have catchy riffs. The opening riffs in “Evil” definitely grab your attention and when the song ends, the opening riffs to “Curse of the Pharaohs” keeps things moving. That’s not all, the medieval sounding opening lead guitar intro to “Into the Coven” is done very nicely. So, all in all, this is an album to enjoy the music while being amused by the lyrics.

Track Listing:

  1. Evil
  2. Curse of the Pharaohs
  3. Into the Coven
  4. At the Sound of the Demon Bell
  5. Black Funeral
  6. Satan’s Fall
  7. Melissa
Mercyful Fate

Mercyful Fate

King Diamond- vocals

Hank Shermann- guitar

Michael Denner- guitar

Tim “Grabber” Hansen- bass

Kim Ruzz- drums

Mercyful Fate’s “Melissa” album was my first true indoctrination into black metal and it had the effect of getting me hooked on it. For me, it was the right album at the right time.

Next post: Tank- This Means War

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

 

 

 

 

Great Metal Albums of 1982: Venom- Black Metal

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 25, 2015 by 80smetalman

220px-Venomblackmetal

When many people talk about the new wave of British heavy metal, (NWOBHM,) they usually do so with bands like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Saxon and Def Leppard in mind. A good number will also include Motorhead in with the above but most will leave black metal thrashers Venom out. One reason for that, according to some British metalheads I met upon my arrival in the UK, is that they couldn’t take Venom seriously. Who’s trying to take them seriously? I’m sure not in the sense of being some kind of music critic. I simply appreciate their loud, aggressive thrash metal sound supplemented by very amusing lyrics about death and Satan. Granted, they’re not the most talented musicians in metal but what they put together is enjoyable for me. This is evidenced the 1982 album, “Black Metal.”

Listening to “Black Metal” makes me regret the fact that I had never heard of Venom until 1984. I can’t even blame being in the service for that. This album would have satisfied the hard edge I was searching for in music and while I wouldn’t hear of the term ‘thrash’ for three more years, “Black Metal” would still have been the answer.

From the get go with the opening title cut, I immediately found myself soaking up the thunderous beat and thrashing guitars from the album. Even when they try to slow down with the introduction of “Buried Alive,” you know that in a second, you’re going to get your ears blasted. You know, I can never make out what they’re trying to do at the beginning of that song, but hey, who cares? Even though, I have to really concentrate to listen for when “Buried Alive” ends and “Raise the Dead” begins, it’s not a major thing to worry about. The album just goes on rocking your socks off.

I think one problem some people might have had with this album is that they couldn’t pigeon hole it. While the music is thrash, the lyrics are definitely black metal. Take “To Hell and Back” for instance.

“I have been to Hell and back – kissed satanic Queen
Traveling at the speed of light – saw thing never seen
Arm in arm with Lucifer – Belial on my back
I have swam the lake of flames – walked forbidden tracks
To Hell – – and back
To Hell – – and back”

True, part of me wants to roll on the floor laughing my ass off when I hear them but it also makes me want to scream them at any religious nuts who happen by. I think that this is something else that makes this album so cool. If you think that those lyrics are amusing, then check out “Teacher’s Pet” which opens with the line “Teacher caught me masturbating underneath my desk.” Then there’s my favourite track, “Sacrifice” where they constantly spell the title throughout the song. With all of this, no wonder it is said that “Black Metal” influenced a generation of metal.

Track Listing:

  1. Black Metal
  2. To Hell and Back
  3. Buried Alive
  4. Raise the Dead
  5. Teacher’s Pet
  6. Leave Me In Hell
  7. Sacrifice
  8. Heaven’s On Fire
  9. Countess Bathory
  10. Don’t Burn the Witch
  11. At War With Satan (preview)
Venom

Venom

Cronos- bass, lead vocals

Mantas- guitar

Abbadon- drums

History has rewarded “Black Metal” by saying that it influenced both the thrash metal and black metal scene. Hearing this album, I can certainly testify to that. It possesses what I have always loved about both sub-genres of metal. It’s just a shame I didn’t get to listen to it back in the day because I think Venom were ahead of their time.

Next post: Triumph- Never Surrender

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London