Mercyful Fate - Don't Break the Oath
And this time ... the album "Don't Break the Oath", the second studio album by "Mercyful Fate", which was released on September 7, 1984.
Please note, this time it is not just our choice. This is a recommendation from the members of "Metallica", no less, who adored "Mercyful Fate" and even spent quite a time with them during the recording of the album "Ride The Lightning" which was released that year. What's more, the "Mercyful Fate" rehearsal room was near the recording studio where the members of "Metallica" recorded the album "Ride The Lightning", with the songs "Fade to Black", "For Whom the Bell Tolls" and "Escape" is written in the same rehearsal room of "Mercyful Fate".
This album is in our humble opinion the pinnacle of "Mercyful Fate"'s work. We are aware that some will claim that the debut album "Melissa", which was released a year earlier, is the better of the two. Well, "Melissa" as well as the EP released in 1982 - "Mercyful Fate" are both great albums that were the first buds to define a new Black Metal genre. At the same time, we still believe that as a complete and perfect piece of work this album surpasses the previous ones and is a good place to start, for those unfamiliar with the band.
So for the benefit of those unfamiliar, "Mercyful Fate" is a Danish Heavy Metal band formed in Copenhagen in 1981 by singer King Diamond and guitarist Hank Shermann, both are also the band's lead writers. "Mercyful Fate" belongs to the first wave of bands that have defined the sub-genre of Black Metal, with a preoccupation with anti-Christ, Satanism, and various pagan rituals.
The band's power is mainly based on the singer King Diamond's vocals and his wide vocal range that simply serves as an additional instrument for the band, in addition to the duel-guitar playing of guitarists Hank Shermann and Michael Denner, whose collaboration resembles one of the great and well-known dues in metal - Glenn Tipton and K. K. Downing from "Judas Priest".
This album is one of the most influential and well-known in the black metal scene, but not necessarily due to the musical style which mainly includes a combination of Heavy Metal roots such as "Judas Priest" we mentioned above, with progressive motifs, dynamic playing, and frequent rhythm changes, as illustrated in the album's closing song "Come to the Sabbath".
The influence on the second generation of black metal bands comes from the writing themes on the album. This can be learned from the opening song "A Dangerous Meeting" which refers to a kind of dangerous séance ceremony. The lyrics blend perfectly with the dark and heavy riffs and the chilling and frightening singing of King Diamond. It is interesting to note that the ending riff of the song starting from 4:10 minute is reminiscent of the ending riff of the song "Shame On The Night" by "Dio" (starting at 3:21), from the masterful album "Holy Diver" which came out a year earlier.
All the songs on this album maintain a high level of writing and performance, with King Diamond writing all the lyrics while the music was mostly written by Hank Shermann in collaboration with Denner and Diamond. Among the recommended songs, is the opening track mentioned above, "Desecration of Souls" with the sweeping rhythm and amazing melody in King Diamond's singing, "Night of the Unborn" with Timi "Grabber" Hansen's amazing bass work, the theme song that functions as a mini-epic song Over 7 minutes, the catchy "Gypsy" and of course the final song "Come to the Sabbath" the most "advanced" of all.