Title: “Satan’s Tomb”
Label: Metal Blade Records
Release Date: 10/2/2015
Genre: Heavy Metal
Denner/Shermann is the latest Metal project that comes care of the creative energies of Michael Denner and Hank Shermann who you probably know as the twin lead guitar fire of the legendary Mercyful Fate. Upon Fate’s second hiatus the pair joined forces and delivered two excellent Metal albums under the moniker of Force Of Evil and the band seemed to be everyone in Fate except The King. It was really great stuff and if you have never heard that band yet please do yourself a favor and seek it out as you should be able to find it in bins somewhere or on Amazon.com but I digress. This new band finds Denner and Shermann once again handling the guitar assault and the incredible sonic vocal register of Sean Peck who worked with the band Cage from 1992 on. The rhythms come care of the great Snowy Shaw who is playing drums on this one with the bottom end held up nicely by Marc Grabowski. “Satan’s Tomb” while only an EP is a powerful introduction of the good things to come from the band (or is that “bad things” based on the context of the writings?).
Continue reading “Satan’s Tomb” by Denner/Shermann
Truth be told, 1983 seemed to be a banner year in terms of the number of incredible albums that came out. Especially if you were a fan of Heavy Metal music. If you don’t agree with me, just look at the wide and diverse span that we have already seen happening with Motley Crue’s “Shout At The Devil”, KISS’ “Lick It Up”, Def Leppard’s “Pyromania and that little debut from those guys in Metallica called “Kill ‘Em All”. Now it is time to add the debut by Mercyful Fate to the list as “Melissa” celebrates her thirtieth birthday. Now I will admit that while I was digging into my Metal a lot more at this point than I had a few years earlier, the stuff that Fate was doing kind of spooked me. Hey, just look at that sinister cover and you cannot tell me that King Diamond didn’t send a shiver up your spine when you first heard him belt out those insane falsetto notes. In 1983 I had been a KISS fan for years and was still coming to terms with their removing of the makeup and while I was digging what the Crue and Quiet Riot were up to, Mercyful Fate was a little too scary for me. At the moment at least. This viewpoint would change by the second album based on my own musical pursuits and then of course King Diamond would start a prolific solo career but I digress that I am getting a little ahead of myself here. Let’s discuss the overall “Melissa” album and what it did for the Metal genre of the day.
Continue reading Mercyful Fate’s “Melissa”; Is Still Sinister As She Wants 2B Thirty Years Later
Artist: King Diamond
Title: “A Dangerous Meeting”
Label: Roadrunner Records
Release Date: 10/6/1992
Genre: Heavy Metal/Dark Metal
You probably don’t need me to tell you this, but both Mercyful Fate and King Diamond are two of the most imposing bands that the Heavy Metal world ever had sharing their dark thoughts with. Of course the two are very connected since the King was Fate’s singer before branching out on his own as a solo performer and while the original band’s world was a very Satanic and dark place to wander, the material that King would present expanded into numerous other sinister realms that were just as horrifying. With this in mind the compilation release from 1992 entitled “A Dangerous Meeting” takes some crucial Mercyful Fate tracks and then leaves the rest to the King Diamond releases of the time. We get a small sample of three of the Mercyful Fate tunes including material from their EP and while some time is paid to their seminal “Melissa” album the title tune itself is not here for the listener’s enjoyment and that was a shame. At seven tunes across two and a half powerful full releases this is only a teaser when it comes down to it. Fans are advised to pick up “Melissa” and “Don’t Break The Oath” to properly indulge in all of the bands original malevolent majesty.
Continue reading “A Dangerous Meeting” by King Diamond
Artist: Mercyful Fate
Title: “The Beginning” (remaster)
Label: Roadrunner Records
Release Date: 11/11/1997
Genre: Heavy Metal
It is without question that Mercyful Fate was one of the most important of the Heavy Metal bands to arrive on the scene in 1982; theirs was a sound that was far more along the lines of what Black Metal would become than its cited founders Venom ever could have imagined. Sorcery and Witchcraft and a whopping dose of Satanic themes showed that singer King Diamond was not only imposing as a performer, but very pronounced in his beliefs. The legendary band would only release two official studio albums in their heyday with “Melissa” and “Don’t Break The Oath” before King Diamond would go off to front a band using his name alone and continue to make Heavy Metal history. The release of “The Beginning” is a must have for all fans of Fate and Metal in general for this allows you to enjoy the “Nuns Have No Fun” EP that the group issued in 1982. The raw sound of these four tracks still find Mercyful Fate to be a promising juggernaut for the genre while it was in its infancy.
Continue reading “The Beginning” (remaster) by Mercyful Fate
Artist: Force Of Evil
Title: “Black Empire” – deluxe edition
Label: Escapi Music
Release Date: 7/18/2006
Genre: Heavy Metal
Force Of Evil is a kick ass Heavy Metal band formed under the direction of Hank Shermann (master shredder for the one and only Mercyful Fate). Shermann built the group along with the help of long-time musical partner Michael Denner, Bjarne Holm, Hal Patino and vocalist Martin Steen; “Black Empire” would be their second full-length recording. “Black Empire” found a more mature sound than was present on the bands debut effort the self-titled “Force Of Evil”. Their use of Horror themese, based on the bands overall love of the genre, especially Steen made this a killer Metal effort, not often found to be the case on a bands Sophomore effort. Since this album has already been reviewed elsewhere on the site, I would like to dig a little deeper into the release of the Special Deluxe Edition. In addition to the original release that arrived in late 2005, the band offers three extra inclusions to enjoy. There are two live recordings which show you how good the band sounds in this setting and actually this is a little bit of a tease for me. The band also released the live DVD “Evil Comes Alive” and to be honest they should have just delivered this concert as an audio CD bonus with the deluxe edition. A mere two tracks is hardly cause for celebration. There is also a video for the song “Back To Hell”, but since this is an enhanced CD, you have to watch where you play it. Not all DVD’s run this stuff and you are better off watching it in your computer. The booklet in the original release was extensive with both artwork and lyrics to the song, this has not been tampered with and remains the exact same as does the overall cover art. The main difference in the packaging is the cardboard slipcase that the disc case slides into. I expected the liner notes to be a little more up to date, or to include different photos to enjoy of the band on top of what was previously issued.
Continue reading “Black Empire” (deluxe edition) by Force Of Evil