As part of their 25th Anniversary celebration Roadrunner Records has re-issued one of the most important pieces in Heavy Metal and their own label history. Melissa, the 1983 release by Mercyful Fate, was not only loaded with intricate music and dark inferences courtesy of Shermann and Denner but also gave us the one and only King Diamond. The King and this group were a force to be reckoned with in the musical sense and also for their very powerful visual imagery. Wearing garish face paint King Diamond was first seen by the larger public due to this album and he would prove to be as dark as the themes he sang about. Musically the band was incredible with Hank Shermann being one of the most creative Metal guitarists to ever grab an axe. The dueling performance between him and Michael Denner was often intense as King prowled and lurked singing and screaming the often horrific subject matter that the band focused on. Rounding out the group was Timi Grabber on bass and Kim Ruzz on drums. This special edition includes the entire album in a remastered sense and includes a score of bonus tracks as well as a live DVD. As you will listen you will find the songs taking on new life sounding as fresh as if they came out today. My favorites on the CD had always been "Evil", "Black Funeral" and of course "Melissa" and the new release presents them with such a level of clarity that playing a certain volumes will take you away with them.
The release includes BBC Radio 1 Sessions and they were a nice touch as with them you get the chance to hear the band live at a very early stage. Very clean production on them from this famous Studio. You also get to own a good version of two of the bands demos instead of referring to long ago worn cassette tape copies. I am sure there are fans that have that stuff hidden in cabinets for years. The DVD that makes up the second disk is short but worth watching. The concert captures the group during a performance at the Club Dynamo back in 1983. There are odd camera angles and its very non-pro shot but it's nice to be able to see the band live from that long ago. You are offered the chance to listen to King Diamond commentary during it and he maintains that this should be from before they even signed their record deal. It's the same year but he explains that his face makeup was different when the album Melissa was actually released. Songs performed are "Doomed By The Living Dead", "Black Funeral" and "Curse Of The Pharaohs". The packaging is a digipak case with a full-color booklet. It's loaded with photos, lyrics and a significant amount of liner notes on the history of the album. I found the fact that the book could not be taken out on the cumbersome side since you needed to hold the entire package to review it. A small critique and the only own that I could find on the release.
Quite honestly this is one of those CD's that belongs in any Metal heads collection because it was to set off quite a career of some of the most talented people Heavy Metal assembled. Today King Diamond has a profound body of work on his own and continues to tour while Fate members Shermann and Denner joined up and formed the Force Of Evil. Get yourself a copy of this and listen to where it all began.
- Curse Of The Pharaohs
- Into The Coven
- At The Sound Of The Demon Hell
- Black Funeral
- Satan's Fall
- Black Masses - bonus
- Curse Of The Pharaohs (BBC Radio I Session) - bonus
- Evil (BBC Radio I Session) – bonus
- Satan's Fall (BBC Radio I Session) – bonus
- Curse Of The Pharaohs (demo) – bonus
- Black Funeral (demo) - bonus