For the past two years or so, it seems like black- and death metal bands have been recording more covers than their own material. I shall not let myself be tempted to make a complete summary of tribute CDs that have appeared of late, for I am sure you know quite a few yourself. However, this tendency has resulted in at least a handful thoroughly listenable (no pun intended, honest!) albums. Thankfully, this French tribute to King and his compatriots falls into that category.

This quite long CD offers Mercyful Fate covers by bands the likes of Luciferion ("Black Funeral"), Snowy Shaw ("Evil", a really extreme version), Emperor ("Gypsy"), Misanthrope ("Doomed by the Living Dead"), Immolation (a technically perhaps inferior but otherwise god-damn heavy version of "Satan's Fall", hell yeah!) and Dark Tranquillity ("Lady in Black"). Michael Denner, no longer in Mercyful Fate himself due to parental obligations, plays along on "Into the Coven".

Because preciously few bands can hope to attain a vocal style like King Diamond's, most of the songs use grunting, which sounds interesting. "Satan's Fall", for example, sounds a lot more evil than it ever did! Added to that the fact that the CD is well-designed, with plenty of old Mercyful Fate pictures, and we have here something that is definitely worth getting.



Written June 1998


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