I am saying this right now, if you consider yourself a heavy metal fan and don’t like Mercyful Fate… you will be found, and when I do… I will kill you.
I do apologise, I was possessing Liam Neeson there. That was not a very healthy state of mind to be perfectly honest. But my point was clear, Mercyful Fate only released two albums on their first run and both were instant classics. Albums like Melissa and Don’t Break The Oath don’t become classics on the basis of cool art work, die hard fans and trends of the times. They are classics because of the intense sinister music that is contained on both albums.
Whilst Melissa was fairly rough round the edges, Don’t Break The Oath has all of those flaws completely ironed out. There is nothing here that I personally would call weak and that goes for production, musicianship and song writing. The gothic satanic themes might put of some if they believe in their fairy tales but I would honestly find it hard to believe that any musician would not find something extremely impressive here.
The guitar work from Hank Shermann and Michael Denner is easily their best, most creative and definitely something to be proud of. The guitar work in the brilliant, Gypsy, has always been one of my favourites. The main riff itself is excellent but when the duo start trading off with one another, it is just metal gold. Timi Hansen and Kim Ruzz are an impressive unsung rhythm section. At this point in their career they could of very easily have rivalled the liked of Judas Priest and Iron Maiden with these two alone. Of course it wouldn’t be a Mercyful Fate album without mentioning King Diamond, a man who sounds deranged and twisted to the core as he sings these dark evil lyrics. Don’t Break The Oath features some of Kings most varied work in terms of vocal abilities. He does not just scream his head off with that high pitch wail like he does on Melissa. There is a good range of high to low which should appeal to people a lot more.
As far as my opinion is concerned, this is one of the best heavy metal albums without question. I think more highly of this album then genre classics such as Iron Maiden’s Number of the Beast, Metallica’s Master of Puppets, Saxon’s Strong Arm of the Law or even Judas Priest’s Defenders of Faith. An album like Don’t Break The Oath does not come round very often and I can understand why. The band really pulled out all the stops and used up a lot of their creative juices. It is a shame that they disbanded after this, I reckon they would of went onto something bigger had they stayed together.
Don’t Break The Oath is an uncredited genre defining classic. It is powerful, ridiculously catchy and sinister to the bone. Even better if you can find a copy of the original black vinyl.
Where to buy :
Track Listing :
- A Dangerous Meeting
- Desecration of Souls
- Night of the Unborn
- The Oath
- Welcome. Princess of Hell
- To One Far Away
- Come To The Sabbath