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Mercyful Fate - 9 - 65%

Insert_Pie, October 9th, 2008

I associate Mercyful Fate with fast tempos, high energy and powerful vocals, none of which are prominent in this release. The song structures are almost pop-like and stale compared to the progressive nature of early Fate. To any metal head, this album will be a good listen, but to the avid Fate listener, this will be tough to warm to.

To be honest, “9” was the first Mercyful Fate album I purchased. I’d heard a few of their songs and liked them so I thought it was time I get one of their albums. 9 seemed like a good choice because I’d heard the song “Buried Alive” and thought it was pretty cool. When I received the album in the mail I was keen to listen it right away. My initial impression of the album was that it was allright, but nothing too special. It wasn’t until I had heard a few other Fate albums that I grew even more disappointed with this album.

The overall tempo of 9 is a steady rock pace. The problem with this is that it makes the majority of the album feel boring and sluggish. The tempo never seems to lift which makes the songs drone on. You keep expecting a galloping guitar riff or drum pattern to come along and liven things up, but the same bland music continues and doesn’t really seem to go anywhere.

My biggest problem with this release is that it lacks the energy of other Fate releases. King’s piercing falsetto vocals are toned down a lot and are devoid of his usual passion and ferocity. With the exception of most of the solos, which I think are quite good, the guitars are equally as uninteresting. The riffs are plain and uninventive and the guitar playing lacks energy, feeling mostly robotic and cold. I wouldn’t have a problem with the simplified song structures if they just had some enthusiasm to them. It feels like they’ve gone into the studio to record, but they don’t really want to be there.

I would like to point out that “Buried Alive” and even “Church Of Saint Anne” (to a lesser extent) are quite good tracks. Although, even while listening to them you could still mistake them for another band other that Fate. The rest of the songs are lacklustre and bland to say the least.

All in all this isn’t a bad album. However, it is a bad Mercyful Fate album. It just doesn’t have the strength of other releases. It feels soul-less and uninspired.