Mercyful Fate - Melissa review



Reviewer:
9.0

620 users:
8.89
Band: Mercyful Fate
Album: Melissa
Release date: October 1983


Disc I
01. Evil
02. Curse Of The Pharaohs
03. Into The Coven
04. At The Sound Of The Demon Bell
05. Black Funeral
06. Satan's Fall
07. Melissa
08. Black Masses [B-side Of "Black Funeral" Single] [25th Anniversary Edition bonus]
09. Curse Of The Pharaohs [BBC Radio 1 Session] [25th Anniversary Edition bonus]
10. Evil [BBC Radio 1 Session] [25th Anniversary Edition bonus]
11. Satan's Fall [BBC Radio 1 Session] [25th Anniversary Edition bonus]
12. Curse Of The Pharaohs [Demo] [25th Anniversary Edition bonus]
13. Black Funeral [Demo] [25th Anniversary Edition bonus]

Disc II [Live at Dynamo, Eindhoven, Holland 1983] [25th Anniversary Deluxe Edition]
01. Doomed By The Living Dead
02. Black Funeral
03. Curse Of The Pharaohs


The "first wave of black metal" has always been a description of era rather than musical style, but it remains a bit of a sticking point for purists who - rightfully - have a hard time calling bands like Venom, Mercyful Fate and Celtic Frost black metal.

And while the music of Mercyful Fate is really just a continuation of the traditional heavy metal sound, the first wave of black metal gets its name because of the impact it had on that later genre. Kiss may have paved the way for the popularization of corpse paint, but Mercyful Fate frontman King Diamond used it to accentuate his Satanic lyrics (Diamond is - or was, at least - a LaVeyan Satanist). Those sounds, images and lyrics all made a drastic jump in maturity and quality from the band's self-titled EP to their full-length debut, Melissa (released the day before Halloween).

Not quite a literal invocation of higher powers (a la Dissection's Reinkaos), Melissa might as well have been Satanic biblical scripture being performed. From Diamond's shrieks to the album cover art (even more sinister, I think, than Don't Break the Oath's) to the lyrical content - "Is it Satan's fall? / No! It's Satan's call!" - Melissa leaves a huge surface-level impression before it sinks its musical chops into the listener.

In his solo career, Diamond would work with - perhaps - the most technically talented of all his guitarist partnerships in Andy LaRocque, but it's Hank Shermann and Michael Denner of Mercyful Fate that make Melissa a bona fide classic. As essential to the Fate sound as Glenn Tipton and K.K. Downing were to Judas Priest or Chris DeGarmo and Michael Wilton to Queensrÿche, the duo trade off memorable riffs and solos, culminating in the album's epic centerpiece, "Satan's Fall". Apart from the album's single, "Black Funeral", where bassist Timi Hansen gets to let loose, Shermann and Denner are constantly stealing the show away from the rhythm section and command as much attention as the now-iconic falsettos of Diamond.

The whole of the second side is unreasonably good, but Melissa is also one of those rare instances of an album that genuinely doesn't have a bad song. Even its least memorable track, "At The Sound Of The Demon Bell", is tight, catchy and interesting. The album's quality wouldn't go unnoticed, either. Not just a huge influence on later black metal bands, Mercyful Fate immediately impacted the thrash metal boom of the '80s, and bands as ubiquitous as Metallica and Slayer have worn their Fate influences proudly ever since.

It's hard for me to place any other debut album by a metal band above this. For sheer impact on the genre or subsequent subgenres, you could make extremely good cases for things like Black Sabbath, Kill 'Em All, Scream Bloody Gore or Focus. But, impact aside and thinking mainly about songwriting and timelessness, this edges out Epicus Doomicus Metallicus and Wolfheart as my favorite metal debut ever. Few albums are as enjoyable to come back to after time away, and few create such a specific sense of time and place. "I think Melissa's still with us," Diamond whispers at the end of the closing track. Almost 40 years later, I think Melissa is still with us, too.


Rating breakdown
Performance: 10
Songwriting: 10
Originality: 9
Production: 8

Written by SeanC | 09.09.2019


 


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.


Comments

Comments: 15   Visited by: 47 users
10.09.2019 - 00:02
nikarg
Old Nick
I think I prefer almost every other debut you mention, but Melissa is indeed astonishing. Excellent review
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10.09.2019 - 02:04
SeanC
Written by nikarg on 10.09.2019 at 00:02

I think I prefer almost every other debut you mention, but Melissa is indeed astonishing. Excellent review


All of those are excellent. Throw in Holy Diver and Blizzard of Ozz, too. Thank you!
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10.09.2019 - 18:28
Bad English
Masterchief
Written by nikarg on 10.09.2019 at 00:02

I think I prefer almost every other debut you mention, but Melissa is indeed astonishing. Excellent review

I hate Kim, s voice i dont like non of his works, good music bad vocals
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10.09.2019 - 19:36
nikarg
Old Nick
Written by Bad English on 10.09.2019 at 18:28

I hate Kim, s voice i dont like non of his works, good music bad vocals

I'm not a big fan of his vocals either but the music is so insanely good that every Mercyful Fate and King Diamond album released in the '80s is simply brilliant.
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10.09.2019 - 23:25
Bad English
Masterchief
There are better
----
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
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10.09.2019 - 23:33
JoHn DoE
Written by Bad English on 10.09.2019 at 23:25

There are better


there are better what?(!)
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11.09.2019 - 08:51
Bad English
Masterchief
Written by JoHn DoE on 10.09.2019 at 23:33

Written by Bad English on 10.09.2019 at 23:25

There are better


there are better what?(!)


that perdiod bands what plays similar music
----
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
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11.09.2019 - 15:12
Marcel Hubregtse
Grumpy Old Fuck
Written by Bad English on 11.09.2019 at 08:51

Written by JoHn DoE on 10.09.2019 at 23:33

Written by Bad English on 10.09.2019 at 23:25

There are better


there are better what?(!)


that perdiod bands what plays similar music


There are no bands from that period that play similar music.
----
Member of the true crusade against European Flower Metal

Yesterday is dead and gone, tomorrow is out of sight
Dawn Crosby (r.i.p.)
05.04.1963 - 15.12.1996

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11.09.2019 - 15:26
Bad English
Masterchief
Whole nwobhm scene was better in vocals, whole 80 and german metal scene was better, accept, scotpions, rw, wasp, other what came later. I would like Kim bands if he would not scream, its his bad side
----
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
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11.09.2019 - 15:31
Metren
Donkey Hotte
Written by Bad English on 11.09.2019 at 15:26

Whole nwobhm scene was better in vocals, whole 80 and german metal scene was better, accept, scotpions, rw, wasp, other what came later. I would like Kim bands if he would not scream, its his bad side


What makes up "better" vocals is highly debatable but for me, King Diamond's vocals are way more interesting, thrilling and bone-chilling than any of the vocalists of the bands' you listed.
----
I am not nor have I ever been a musician or a member of a one-man band, especially a band that has a name that starts with "D".
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11.09.2019 - 15:47
Bad English
Masterchief
Written by Metren on 11.09.2019 at 15:31

Written by Bad English on 11.09.2019 at 15:26

Whole nwobhm scene was better in vocals, whole 80 and german metal scene was better, accept, scotpions, rw, wasp, other what came later. I would like Kim bands if he would not scream, its his bad side


What makes up "better" vocals is highly debatable but for me, King Diamond's vocals are way more interesting, thrilling and bone-chilling than any of the vocalists of the bands' you listed.

Its matter of taste and no his scream scared me away long time ago
----
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
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11.09.2019 - 15:48
Metren
Donkey Hotte
Written by Bad English on 11.09.2019 at 15:47

Its matter of taste and no his scream scared me away long time ago


Well yeah, that's what I said.

Also... "scared you away" I guess that means it worked
----
I am not nor have I ever been a musician or a member of a one-man band, especially a band that has a name that starts with "D".
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11.09.2019 - 16:20
Bad English
Masterchief
Written by Metren on 11.09.2019 at 15:48

Written by Bad English on 11.09.2019 at 15:47

Its matter of taste and no his scream scared me away long time ago


Well yeah, that's what I said.

Also... "scared you away" I guess that means it worked

Hehe, i cant Stand such vocals same as. M whit drum programing or so called raw bm
----
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
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11.09.2019 - 16:32
Marcel Hubregtse
Grumpy Old Fuck
Written by Bad English on 11.09.2019 at 15:26

Whole nwobhm scene was better in vocals, whole 80 and german metal scene was better, accept, scotpions, rw, wasp, other what came later. I would like Kim bands if he would not scream, its his bad side

Since when is wasp part of the German metal scene? Scorpions better vocals? Accept better vocals? Gee wiz, no way. Scorpions are terrible due to the horrendously heavy German accent. And Kim's vocals are unique whereas the vocals you prefer aren't.
----
Member of the true crusade against European Flower Metal

Yesterday is dead and gone, tomorrow is out of sight
Dawn Crosby (r.i.p.)
05.04.1963 - 15.12.1996

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11.09.2019 - 16:36
Bad English
Masterchief
That band had album out in 1983 and udo is good voice and klaus maine has not so horrible accent as doro had in 80s even now, but its a bit better
----
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
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