Mercyful Fate's latest album is 1999's "9". And whereas King Diamond (the band) is about to unleash his third offering since Mercyful Fate's latest, fans still have to wait for another album by the band that started it all. Mercyful Fate, by the way, is superior to King Diamond (the band) in more ways than one. Except for King Diamond's (the band) "Abigail", this band really has no other true classic albums...

But let's put an end to my ranting at the Great Injustices In The World :-)

About half a year ago there was a buzz on the Internet about Hank Shermann and Michael Denner, the original guitarists of Mercyful Fate, to reunite, aided by ex-King Diamond's bassist Hal Patino, current Mercyful Fate drummer Bjarne T. Holm and unknown-to-yours-truly singer Martin Steene (of Ironfire). The band was going to be called Force of Evil.

Expectations were high, obviously. The resulting self-titled album, however, does leave you aching for some more vintage MF. Martin Steene is not my favourite vocalist, though at times he does a good Blackie Lawless, but the music itself isn't that special, either. "Eye of the Storm" sounds a little like Mercyful Fate, "Samhain" is heavy and pretty cool, "Demonized" has some cool riffs and great guitar solos, and "Eternity" has the coolest riff in the bridge, but other than that, well, it doesn't satisfy. Most of the tracks are just 'OK'. The solos are in the same vein as those of Mercyful Fate, sure, in fact on "Fountain of Grace" there's an actually existing MF solo being cut and pasted.

If anything, this album sounds quite like Shermann's older project, Gutrix. The music is not as melodic as I had expected, and I feel that the presence of Michael Denner has not been enough to rekindle the old flame that this guitar tandem used to ignite. It's no crap album by any standard. I wasn't waiting for another "Satan's Fall" or whatever, I don't really know exactly what I was expecting, but I had hoped for more than this.



Written August 2003


Go to the Official Force of Evil site

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