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Sunday Old School: Mercyful Fate, Metal's Masters Of The Occult

Photo of Mercyful Fate

Band Photo: Mercyful Fate (?)

Few bands can claim that they have had a profound influence on a variety of sub-genres in metal, from thrash to progressive and from black metal to power, Mercyful Fate can proudly and honestly say that they are one of those bands. The group formed in Copenhagen, the capital city of Denmark in 1981 from the ashes of the bands Brats and Black Rose and became well known for their dark and Satanic themes both in their music and stage act. They recorded two classic albums in the form of "Melissa" (named after the human skull lead vocalist King Diamond would use on stage) and "Don't Break The Oath," which were released in 1983 and 1984 respectively. After their first tour of the United States, King Diamond decided to leave the band due to creative differences and took band members Timi Hansen and Michael Denner with him. Instead of continuing under the Mercyful Fate banner, remaining band member Hank Shermann formed a band simply named Fate which followed a more mainstream rock direction.

Mercyful Fate reunited in July of 1992 (though King Diamond would continue to release albums under his own moniker throughout this period) and recorded several more records thoughout the '90s, concluding with 1999's "9" album. Whilst the band has been more or less inactive since the record's release, King Diamond has promised fans that they haven't heard the last of Mercyful Fate and that the band will definitely return at some point in time with a new album and tour.

When looking at the band, one can see how they influenced the black metal genre with their satanic lyrics and imagery but after listening to the band themselves, it becomes apparant that they became so influential in a broad spectrum because they were outstanding musicians. King Diamond can be considered as the master story-teller of heavy metal and knew perfectly how to capture the listeners interest with his unique, haunting stories and lyrics. Add to this his one of a kind vocal delivery which could reach the highest of highs and lowest of lows and the end result is one of the greatest frontmen in the history of metal. The band themselves also proved time and time again that they were extremely talented when it came to their instruments and song writing and orchestrated some of the most complex and intricate metal songs of the time. Still to this day, bands cite Mercyful Fate as an influence in their music and they are perhaps remembered as the biggest and best metal band to ever come from Denmark.

Mercyful Fate - The Uninvited Guest

Mercyful Fate - The Witches Dance

Mercyful Fate - Egypt

Mercyful Fate - Evil

Diamond Oz's avatar

Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com since 2007 and a metal fan since 2001, going as far as to travel to other countries and continents for metal gigs.

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5 Comments on "Sunday Old School: Mercyful Fate"

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SHREDDER13's avatar


1. SHREDDER13 writes:

I remember listening to "Don't Break The Oath" a few years ago and thinking to myself, "Is this guy serious? (referring to King Diamond's vocals)." I honestly thought there was some sort of fault being produced by my cd player. Don't get me wrong here, the music was great! I was just having a hard time trying to adjust to the vocals. Over the years, I have developed an interest in other styles and techniques of vocal deliverance. Maybe I should give King Diamond's vocals another oppurtunity to interest me.

# Nov 23, 2009 @ 12:13 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Cynic's avatar

Senior Reviewer

2. Cynic writes:

"Time is standing still
It's a dangerous meeting
They're gonna get themselves killed!"

I don't wear this avatar for nothing, no-one wrote riffs quite like them.

# Nov 23, 2009 @ 1:36 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Nihilist's avatar


3. Nihilist writes:

^^ indeed \m/. Can't wait for them to reunite and tour again.

# Nov 23, 2009 @ 1:19 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Hammerheart's avatar


4. Hammerheart writes:

Oz: Great stuff, man. I've loved these guys (and King Diamond's solo stuff, to a lesser extent) since the first time I heard them.

# Nov 24, 2009 @ 7:14 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
5. spiral_architect writes:

king diamond's vocal delivery is an acquired taste. sometimes he screams for vengeance like a rob halford, and other times he has a sinister sneer like an alice cooper. i happen to think his music - both with mercryful and solo - is a great deal of fun.

# Nov 26, 2009 @ 9:38 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address

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