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Melissa [Roadrunner Records 25th Anniversary Remaster]
on 18 October 2006
I found out about King Diamond and Mercyful Fate two years ago, now I'm really interested in their works! Melissa (originally released in 1983) was one of the first true Roadrunner benchmark albums way back in the early Roadrunner days. King Diamond is one massive contributor to the album, because of his eerie falsetto vocals and growls.
The musicianship on Melissa is so killer, and one of the most essential features that Melissa has. It has aged very successfully and is still timeless and that's not empty boasting. Hank Shermann and Michael Denner deliver great solos and god-like riffs that are so irresistible to any metal fan. It's such a pity that Mercyful Fate have never risen above cult status, even in the metal community.
The opening track "Evil" has great opening vocals and riffage, and a great somewhere along the lines of "You better say goodbye...". Super song though. "Curse Of The Pharaohs" has a great chorus and the demo seems even better on that album as a bonus track. "Into The Coven" has a very gruesome lyric in it, "Say after me, my soul belongs to Satan.." it's very cool to explore the Satan factor on Melissa. "At The Sound Of The Demon Bell" has a super riff during the lyric "I hear a bell..." and it's a very irresistible song which I'm hooked on.
"Black Funeral" is a short classic with a main superb stunning riff in the verses. "NOW HAIL SATAN.." I really like that song.
The biggest event on the entire album "Satan's Fall" the 11 minute song, that remains a masterpiece of superb riffs I think it has 16 different ones in that 11 minutes, Hank has clearly shown some top class creativity, although fans like me would think it would be very hard to learn on guitar!
The end track the title song is a good way to round up the whole Melissa album, it sure is a consummate heavy metal tour de force! Melissa has not only set a heavy metal bench mark for the eighties, but it set impossible expectations for Mercyful Fate to deliver a better album.
The special edition of Melissa has bonus tracks which include "Black Masses" and BBC Radio 1 sessions and demos. It also contains a DVD of a live performance from 1983 with 3 songs with exclusive commentary from King Diamond. It is a perfect time to remaster such a superb album as part of RR's 25th Anniversary.
1984's equally greater or even greater album Don't Break The Oath or any King Diamond album (preferably Abigail) is a good combination whilst purchasing Melissa. Mercyful and King Diamond are both together nonetheless, gods of an 80's heavy metal era!