Mercyful Fate/The Best Of [Roadrunner Records]

The Best Of Mercyful Fate is a compilation release issued by Roadrunner Records in 2003. This compilation runs the gamut from the initial single to the last single before the famed reunion.

Doomed By The Living Dead—-One thing you have to note about this band is the unique sound to the music itself. Even before King opens his mouth, you can tell a Fate song just by the guitars. The song is basic and at the time was groundbreaking. Of course you have the voice…but even more you have a great sense of melody, a shift in the guitar sound that gives the track a layered mood and drums that sound so primitive in today’s world, but none the less always deliver.

A Corpse Without A Soul—-Delivered with an aggressive flair from the very first note, the song has a nice soaring lead that sets the pace from the onset. The musical intro is very long and drawn out, but still keeps your interest. Diamond spews all the primitive Black Metal lines about Satan and your soul. It is pretty mild compared to the Norwegian movement that followed. At the time of this recording, the band was groundbreaking and shocking to mainstream America….just what I needed.

Nuns Have No Fun—-One of the bands signature tracks, it is wrought full of black humor and a great vocal. On this particular track, the drums are much more forward and deliver a rhythmic sense to the song. The familiar guitars are in full display and the vocal of Diamond is once again fantastic. I really never have figured out how he can sing like this. Tremendous!!!

Evil—-Again, the song is full of that Sherman sound that melds with the vocal of Diamond in a predictable and comfortable way. The two had quite a partnership that produced quality release after quality release. This shows it’s sound, but it is a joy to revisit this. Fantastic!!

Curse Of The Pharaohs—-Although the signature guitar is welcome, the beginning strains of the song have a dated and decided 80’s Metal sound. Diamond is in great form…his vocal is surprisingly clear and mainstream at times. The soaring falsetto is always welcome, but the song does seem to show its age.

Into The Coven—-Beginning with an almost acoustic guitar sound, you almost fear you are to be subjected to a ballad!!! The song comes to life as you would expect and the Danes deliver yet another slice of Mercyful pie. This is nice…the guitars and drums work in perfect aggressive tandem and Diamond screams over screams over overlayed screams….this is intense.

Black Funeral—-Delivering a remarkable Iron Maiden guitar sound, the song is aggressive from the onset. The lyrics are the real deal but sound almost juvenile after my recent infatuation with Emperor and Gorgoroth. The downshift guitar sound works really well here and the drums are much louder and obvious. Great!

Satan’s Fall—-Incredibly muted and sounding to deep in the mix recording, this is a classic track that really does show its age. The beats and blasts are almost primitive next to some of the Swedish bands I continue to love. This is nice to hear again, but it is childs play anymore! Clocking in at 11 minutes, this song will take you all over the map…but it is a tad bit oversone one thinks.

A Dangerous Meeting—-From the excellent Don’t Break The Oath, the next 4 songs are a slice of pure heaven for me… pun intended. This is remarkable in melody, the great, great guitar lead and a vocal that is so accessible you often ignore the falsetto just to hear the harmonies of the overlays that are created. This is fantastic!!!

Desecration Of Souls—-Diamond begins the song is an evil, muted form that reeks of evil and darness….WOW!!! This is fantastic…taken from a highpoint in the band’s career before things started to go sour. The is nice…Diamond still seems to be singing through a tube but the overall effect is accomplished…Diamond sounds more possessed than ever and the bass guitar really drives the entire song.

Gypsy—-Probably my favorite Fate track, this has every familiar element of the band intact!!! Plus adds a healthy dose of evil and the sinister. The song has a remarkable melody and an overlayed vocal that is harmonious and almost mainstream….This is as great now as if was the very first time I heard it.

Come To The Sabbath—-King surprises everyone with this vocal that is so accessible, you almost wish he would use this tone more often. The musical landscape seems beefier and more textured…the drums are much more pronounced and faster than on previous tracks. This is probably a great start point for the un-indoctrinated.

Burning The Cross—-Deeper in sound, the song immediately has a more sinister sound. The drums are literally crashing….surprise!!! The rhythm section of the band as a whole is priceless. Diamond delivers a vocal that is fast…overlayed and impossible to perform live. This is a great song….with a very Sabbath lean.

Return Of The Vampire—-Sounding even more Sabbath dirge than the band we were accustomed to, this has never been a favorite time period of the band for me. This is acceptable, but it is way too slow and bass driven….the band lost its remarkable signature sound here.

***1/2 out of 5


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