Archive for King Diamond

Great Metal Albums of 1987: Testament- The Legacy

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 13, 2022 by 80smetalman

So far, I have posted about several bands whose albums caught my attention, or in most cases, my sister’s attention, but came an went with little notice, only to remain in my memory. However, some bands made their debut in 1987 and have hung around since, thrilling us with many great albums and live performances. Testament was one of these bands who launched their debut album, “The Legacy,” and have continued to enthrall us since.

By 1987, thrash bands were coming out of the woodwork in every direction and it would have been easy to simply say Testament were just another thrash band. The thing is, they weren’t and are still not just another thrash band. Not only that, they, along with Exodus, are constantly mentioned when there is talk about expanding the Big 4 to the Big 5. Actually, I would include both bands and make it the Big 6. Then again, I would also include Kreator to make the Big 7. I’m digressing again but with their album, “The Legacy,” it is plain to see why Testament deserve such honours.

“Over the Wall” begins Testament’s full frontal assault on your delicate ears. It is exactly what an opening track to any thrash album should be. It begins with a flurry of speedy riffs before going mad with pounding guitar, bass and drum. Chuck Billy’s vocals blend right in and of course, there is a cool guitar solo. It has everything an album opener needs to make the listener stick around.

The intro of the second track, along with the title gives the impression “The Haunting” is going to be some black metal type of song. The opening riffs are reminiscent of a King Diamond song but things speed up and you are looking for a mosh pit. We also get the first guitar solo trade off between Eric Peterson and Alex Skolnick. A song which could be more akin to black metal, at least with the intro is “Burnt Offerings.” It’s intro sounds very haunting until the guitars really kick in and go total speed metal. There are several good mosh parts as well. Eric and Alex are in tune with one another on the rhythm guitar parts just as much as when they trade off solos.

No haunting intro on “Raging Waters” as it goes straight forward thrash. Still, the theme doesn’t go away as Chuck sings about ‘the devil’s triangle’ and sacrifices that must be done. All of which are done at breakneck speed. The speed only increases on “Curse of the Legions of Death.” With a title like that, you know it’s going to be murderous thrash song, which it is. After an unintelligible spoken word, the drumming of Louie Clemente dominates “First Strike is Deadly.” You could apply the deadly to Chuck’s screams as well.

Maybe because it was the track on the tape Dawn sent me but for me, the song of the album is “Do or Die.” It could also be that many years ago, I had the tape set to go off to my alarm clock and it was on this song. Later that day, my ex wife, asked me what crap I was listening to and told me not to use it to wake up to again. Then again, it does slow down so you can hear the line in the chorus, “I’m the hunter you’re the prey,” sung clearly. Furthermore, it’s a very fast song with some cool guitar solos.

The riffing continues on the penultimate “Alone in the Dark.” I do like how melodic the vocals are at the chorus. Closing track, “Apocalyptic City” starts as if it’s going to be a ballad before some heavy guitars kick in. Then things go total thrash and then a great guitar solo trade off. I won’t get cliche and say it’s a great way to end the album because it makes you remember the entire album.

Track Listing:

  1. Over the Wall
  2. The Haunting
  3. Burnt Offering
  4. Ragin Waters
  5. Curse of the Legions of Death
  6. First Strike is Deadly
  7. Do or Die
  8. Alone in the Dark
  9. Apocalyptic City
Testament

Chuck Billy- lead vocals

Eric Peterson- guitar

Alex Skolnick- guitar

Greg Christian- bass

Louie Clemente- drums

Loudwire cited “The Legacy” as the third best thrash album not made by the Big 4 of all time. Listening to it, I find the statement hard to attack. But it’s easy to see why Testament have stood the test of time and are still around today and would make a welcome addition should they ever expand the Big 4.

Next post: TT Quick- Metal of Honor

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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