MERCYFUL FATE - "DEAD AGAIN" (METAL BLADE)
Heavy metal stalwarts of the first hour, Mercyful Fate have been around for eight years - not counting the time after "Don't Break the Oath" and before "In the Shadows". In those years they have released half a dozen fine albums, the last of which was released recently. Now no longer with Michael Denner (who has chosen of life with his wife and son, to be replaced by Mike Wead), MF have done "Dead Again".
As with most post-reunion MF albums, it takes some time until the songs start to mature. Kicking off with a track reminiscent of Hank Shermann's and Ole Bjarns's Gutrix project, it quickly launches into King Diamond's vocal antics accompanied by classic MF riffing. More of the same, of course, but with an interesting twist that transforms songs like "Mandrake Root" and the 10+ minute title epic into new experiences with a familiar feel. For fans there is no reason to let "Dead Again" rest on its shelves.
By the bye, it might be worth noticing that a semi-bootleg Mercyful Fate CD has been released of late, "The Oath" (recording in the US during the "Time" tour). King's voice is pretty good actually, the album features "Satan's Fall" (hell yeah!), and the sound quality is excellent. If you dig the band and find the album somewhere, you probably won't regret getting it.
Written July 1998
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