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Satan on the Cover Approves, this Album is #1 - 99%

Superchard, August 30th, 2018

Before I was able to understand and have an appreciation for actual black metal, it was bands like Venom, Mercyful Fate and Celtic Frost that would fulfill that void I knew I was probably missing out on. Not that I cared, after all as a young metal head I just couldn't get it, why would anyone want to listen to an incoherent mess of blast beats over hypnotic guitars. You won't find any of that here, or on any Mercyful Fate album, so I've always felt that calling Mercyful Fate a black metal band was a little out there, even if the singer did don himself with corpse paint while the lyrics were as satanic and hellish as one could imagine. The music itself was another story, sure there was a razor sharp guitar tone to Hank Shermann and Michael Denner's work, but it had a Judas Priest bite to it rather than sporting the icy fangs of Darkthrone, with songwriting more akin to NWOBHM, especially for the purposes of the band's sophomore release Don't Break the Oath.

A much more wild and crazy ride than their debut, which was great nonetheless. Fans of the band tend to flock to the band's first two albums, and for good reasons. They're both masterpieces. I've always felt that this was just a little bit better than Melissa and that album practically had the Mercyful Fate version of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" on it by the name of "Satan's Fall"! For my palette, Don't Break the Oath finds Mercyful Fate amplifying everything that made Melissa a rocking good time and never lets up on superb riffs, solos, vocal melodies, drumming, songwriting, you name it, this album has it without a solitary wasted breath whereas Melissa had but one slip-up, I'm looking at you, "Black Funeral"! No matter how great the epic that was "Satan's Fall" was, it simply can't compare with the galloping title track for this album which starts off with spoken word prayer to the unholy one himself lathered in organ while a maniacal demonic laugh renders everything unintelligible and the band lays down the most jaw-dropping track of their entire discography. Or take "Night of the Unborn" which demonstrates unrelenting guitar work. "The Oath" was a galloping style track whereas here on "Night of the Unborn, the guitar actually sounds like a crazed horse making vocalizations.

There's more 'normal' fare on the album with tracks like "Welcome Princess of Hell" and "Desecration of Souls". Especially the former that almost sounds like it could have been a single and reminds me of another Mercyful Fate song by the name of "The Night" off their album Dead Again. It's not so generic or otherwise too out of place that it necessarily detracts from the album itself, but I'd have liked a little more interesting things to have transpired on these tracks, they're otherwise solid tunes that help keep the album afloat though, and a little pop-metal never hurt anyone. "To One Far Away" features some vocals by Petersen but is essentially an instrumental, and a wonderful one at that, very emotional Brian May style soloing here and phases out just a little too early and doesn't really have a definite ending to it, but at least leads into one of the strongest tracks on the album, "Come to the Sabbath" where King Diamond breaks out the old harpsichord he dabbles with from time to time.

For those who aren't a fan of Kim Bendix Petersen's vocal style... well I'm not sure what to tell you. What I can say is this album does not bode well for you unless you can muster up the tolerance to just get used to it. It will be an acquired taste for some listeners whereas others will have absolutely nothing to do with it. For that reason I usually point towards the band's debut album, I'd wager it has fewer high pitched squeals from Petersen, but that's not really saying much for any Mercyful Fate album, or King Diamond album for that matter. This album however has full tracks where it seems like the only thing King Diamond does is shriek to his heart's content, especially on "Nightmare" and "Gypsy", and he only ever eases up and sings normally seemingly on an occasional basis. I learned to enjoy the shifts in his delivery though. I like Petersen's clean vocals well enough, but I also realize had he sang that way throughout the entire album, this album... and Mercyful Fate in general just wouldn't have quite as much personality. Petersen's found a way to stand out, no matter how campy some people will perceive that to be, I'd say it works really well. As I got more used to it, I found his vocals were actually very eerie and wicked, and suit the music quite well, I especially enjoy how they sound through these albums from the 1980's, before the method of recording reached a more polished level as heard on everything from Conspiracy onward.

Unfortunately... or perhaps I should say fortunately this was the last Mercyful Fate album released in some respect. Sure, they came back and did a series of albums later on, but it was 9 years after this album came out. The band was riding high on pure momentum for their first two albums and by the time that 9 years had elapsed it was abundantly clear that all that momentum had fizzled out. That's not to say that everything after this isn't worth a listen, it's certainly not bad material, it just pales in comparison to these two classic masterpieces. Thankfully though, King Diamond fans would be treated to classics from his solo band such as Fatal Portrait, Abigail, "Them" and Conspiracy, those albums being a fine enough continuation of what was founded here, especially considering Michael Denner and Timi Hansen got to stick around for the first couple King Diamond albums.

The King has all the powers of Hell at his command - 99%

Ancient_Mariner, March 29th, 2016
Written based on this version: 1997, CD, Roadrunner Records (Reissue, Remastered, Gold CD)

I actually used to think that when I was a young foolish Catholic lad, reading metal mags with interviews that seemed to push the idea that the King and his band, straight from the bowels of Hell, had the power to make tables levitate and summon the forces of hell to do their bidding. This scared me and for that reason I never listened to Mercyful Fate or King Diamond until 1999 when I won a NFL bet and got this album as a prize. Praise Satan did I ever miss out as a kid! This record is amazing and while some give Melissa the nod as Fate's best I think this one takes the cake.

The first thing you notice on this album is the guitar tone. Its not super thick like 90's and later metal production, its sharp. Razor sharp, Like the edge of a straight razor that you are about to be skinned with. This is an old school metal tone and I love it. It is perfect for the tight shredding metal riffs that Sherman and Denner are laying down here. The riffs are were its at on this record, well construction and just intricate enough to keep one coming back for more and more. The music is packed with leads and solos, the two guitarists trade them back and forth all over this record. Songs like Night of the Unborn just rip right into lead work from the get go before the band kicks in and the ass starts to be kicked. For pure lead work this is up there with the best of Murray and Smith, Downing and Tipton, or any of the classic 80's guitar duos. The bass playing of Timi Hanson is another delight, high enough in the mix but not Steve Harris high in the mix. It thunders and snakes along below the guitars giving heft to the razors being spit out by the guitarists and making this a total package of musical excellence. He shines on the aforementioned Night of the Unborne, creating an interesting bass line that I often find myself focusing on instead of the amazing guitars. His great work lifts all these songs up to new highs. Kim Ruzz's drums pound away under it all, not a flashy performance or a double bass extravaganza just rock solid and working to support these songs. As for the King...well he's the King. His falsetto is all over this record and it sounds amazing, like a banshee from Hell wailing. He drops into his lower register to give accents to the evil lyrics when necessary but spends most of his time as high as he can go. If you don't like his vocals this will be a problem, but if you don't like the King's vocals you need to pull your head loose anyway.

Lyrically the songs tell tales of Hell, séances, the souls of the dead, black masses, and a straight up oath of allegiance to the Morning Star himself in the aptly titled masterpiece, The Oath. This song starts out with an eerie organ, the sounds of thunder and rain, and the tolling of the bell before the voice of the King states his oath to Satan...then the band hits like a ton of bricks. Fast and intricate with the unholy wail of King Diamond over the top denouncing Jesus and praising his dark master. More excellent bass and drum work here along with seemingly endless leads and solos. A true classic in the Mercyful Fate discography of classics. Songs like the bouncing Gypsy, and the pure classic Come to the Sabbath cement this as an all time classic record. The only thing that may be considered filler by some is a short instrumental track, though I find it fits just fine with the rest.

This is classic 80's metal played with exceptional skill and attention to detail. While its black as the blackest depths of Hell, and dripping with evil, its still so much fun despite never crossing the line to goofiness and camp. Now days this would be a big metal cliché but at the time they were still creating the themes and styles that would create the clichés. If you want amazing song writing and lyrics about Satan this is really as good as it gets.

Critical perspective 1: Dani Filth's dad - 92%

gasmask_colostomy, November 2nd, 2015

Mercyful Fate's early material has been widely lauded and rightly so, since the EP, 'Melissa', and this album, 'Don't Break the Oath', all contain some fantastic music and have proved to be influential far beyond Fate's original limited sphere. What hasn't been discussed at such great length is what those three releases struggled with and what remains unsatisfactory about listening to them. The score I have given reflects my true opinion, but I will discuss more of the weak points of this album than its prowess, which has been amply commended elsewhere.

Though often grouped together as one large helping of heavy metal, 'Don't Break the Oath' is host to some starkly different material to the previous year's 'Melissa'. The gentler, hard rock character of some of the riffs on the 1983 album (time to revisit 'At the Sound of the Demon Bell' and 'Curse of the Pharaohs' if you've not noticed it) was much less of a feature here, with greater concentration on speed and the non-classic NWOBHM style of Angel Witch, Satan, and Hell, who were twisting the original sounds of Iron Maiden, Saxon, and Judas Priest into spikier, more threatening shapes from 1982 onwards. The production of 'Don't Break the Oath' is considerably stronger than that of 'Melissa', which provides a greater thrust for both guitars and drums, making them sound attacking for the majority of songs, rather than atmospheric. This is bemoaned by some Fate fans, since Fate without atmosphere is nothing special, but I don't believe that the subtleties were robbed with the sharper sound, merely that the band sound more determined (you may choose to read "less plodding" here), while that sharpness leaves the musicians with less room for error, which is thankfully absent.

What has often been overstated is Mercyful Fate's influence on later bands, particularly the embryonic extreme metal scene. Granted, many of the band's aesthetic choices (King Diamond's facepaint, for example) have been adopted by black metallers as their own, but the music itself bears little resemblance to the sound that would emerge from the heavier and dirtier likes of Venom, Bathory, and Hellhammer, who all showed a great deal less finesse than the Danes yet certainly pioneered black and death metal, while adding to the rise of thrash. Not only are Fate almost certainly not a stepping stone to extreme metal, it is more than likely that most classic or modern death and black followers would disdain the approach taken on 'Don't Break the Oath', which is too campily dramatic and melody-drenched to appeal beyond mere interest or general appeal. The band were serious about their themes of Satanism, but there is something fallacious about the claims that Mercyful Fate sound evil, since their major key lead breaks and anthemic riffs are often too happy to be completely atmospheric. There is nothing wrong with the joyousness of metal, of course, and the band do sometimes sound threatening, though not nearly as dangerous as one might expect. 'Gypsy', for example, is a gem of a song, wrapped up with melodic breaks and infectious rhythms, that utterly belies any claims of malediction.

Another issue is that, while the riffs and rhythms are often aggressive enough to satisfy modern and extreme advocates, King Diamond's vocals deserve less praise than they have received in the past. Truly, he does something that few other metal singers have achieved, namely adapting his voice to several different styles in both piercingly high and menacingly dark low register, giving the album an extra edge of virtuosity and complexity, not to mention a few insane, spine-chilling moments. However, if we look at his closest modern comparison, one may spot the problem much more quickly. Dani Filth, of Cradle of Filth, plays a similar role in his band's sound, bridging the gap between extreme black and death, dramatic oration, and camp atmosphere: his vocals have been ridiculed on many levels and, while there are some alternate reasons for that scorn (vampires being one of them), King Diamond is certainly open to the same criticisms. His presence is theatrical as much as musical, which means that he must be constantly convincing, something that the wavering high notes in the chorus of 'Night of the Unborn' fail to achieve, nor is that the only place when his falsetto shows weakness. He is occasionally reaching for notes that just aren't there, not because they are too high, but because the music rejects his vocal melody, as on the verse of 'A Dangerous Meeting', where he is a little flat for the guitar lick. Compounding the problem of seriousness is the cheese wafting off the voiceover that opens 'Desecration of Souls' and the Hammer Horror graveyard atmosphere from the introduction of 'The Oath'.

Just because the innovation has been exaggerated does not mean that Mercyful Fate weren't capable of introducing new ideas to the heavy metal paradigm. Though the energetic riffing, fluid leads, and high pitched vocals had all been seen previously, songs like 'The Oath' took those basic elements to new territories as King Diamond's screams rip through one of the catchiest galloping riffs ever committed to tape and the guitars take up his shrill cry and fling it into the wind with desperate courage. When those elements come together, Mercyful Fate are simply unstoppable, but the dizzying quality of parts of the album makes the other shortcomings rather more obvious than more excusable. 'Welcome Princes of Hell' is pedestrian compared to the mightier songs preceding it, plus the simplicity of the raunchy hard rock riff that kicks it off is actually vulgar in an album with such clear class and invention. The first half of the song is mediocre, though it picks up again with a fluid pair of solos from both guitarists, and there's a great vocal line that supersedes the plain riffing. The home stretch of 'Don't Break the Oath' is also much weaker in comparison to the first 6 songs, with even the classic 'Come to the Sabbath' leaving me dry in its particulars, notably the slightly empty verses.

Though my review is largely critical of 'Don't Break the Oath', it must be stated that this is a very good album and should be enjoyable for many metalheads. Once one has allowed time to grow used to King Diamond's vocals, the power and density of these songs will unfold many different points of focus. Nobody plays a merely supportive role, with the string players all phenomenally impressive in rhythm and lead roles. Timi Hansen was arguably streets ahead of Iron Maiden's Steve Harris by this juncture, his basslines packing the songs with moody undertones and frantic energy as required, while the solos are always outstanding, and some of the riffs were truly revolutionary - let me point out 'A Dangerous Meeting' and 'Nightmare' for the most clear developments from NWOBHM. Those two songs marginally take the trophy for sounding immense and authentic, though I would choose 'The Oath' and 'Gypsy' as equally great, if more conventional. Not quite a hallowed album, 'Don't Break the Oath' is certainly the most inspired and technically sound outing by an important band - one album that you should make it your priority to encounter.

As much as I'd like to give it less than a 90.... - 91%

TrooperEd, October 28th, 2015 be a douche, the fact is this album is just too damn good.

This album is ultimate best of both words: the combination of beer-drinking, skirt-chasing, arena rock and spikes, leather, bload-soaked, screaming heavy metal. There is not a single note or lyric here that will be mistaken for hard rock, but the execution of these evil, riff-heavy, dark songs is done with such class and professionalism that if the band had continued on after this, they would have easily been in stadiums by the third record. Hey, they had the same strokes of success that Twisted Sister did; song cited by the PMRC as offensive, outrageous stage performances with a brilliant lead singer/ frontman at the center of it all, and Fate even had an edge on Sister because unlike Dee Snider coming out of the closet and saying he was a Christian family man (hah!) Diamond was Satanic to the bone. Perhaps such an upgrade in feel for the songs is the indication of Hank wanting to go in a more commercial direction, but there's certainly nothing here that will be mistaken for Desert Plains.

I like this album better than Melissa for two reasons. 1) Better production. It was louder and fuller, and to be honest at times it even sounded more raw. Hey I like the raw approach as much as the next guy, but your band should still have a wall of sound. That’s why albums like Ride The Lightning, Number of the Beast and to a lesser extent Walls of Jericho are fondly beloved by fans, and albums like Wheels of Steel, Lightning To The Nations and well, Melissa aren’t as much. 2) The songs. To be honest, I think the reason why Melissa is as famous as it is now is because Metallica covered half of it, and their goal was covering “obscure songs” rather than big hits. I’m not taking anything away from Satan’s Fall, Evil etc., but I have consistently seen DBTO ranked higher than Melissa on greatest metal albums lists and after giving both albums a fair shake, I’m inclined to agree. Especially with the way A Dangerous Meeting just comes ripping in out of nowhere. It's a perfect template of what to expect, despite each song holding an identity of its own. If there was ever such a thing as a perfect song, this is it. It comes in how it should, it changes when it should, and stops when it should. Hell it's so damn catchy, I could never figure out what the complete lyrics were until looking them up (although King always had a bit of a pronunciation problem with his higher registers).

That said, the one thing I will never understand is how this gets mistaken for black metal. This is NWOBHM/power/traditional/Judas Priest/whatever you want to call it style music. Yes, no vocalist in the world sounds like King, but aside from his tone and abilities he's very much a traditional singer. Lyricism drenched in satanism of course, but we don't see Number of the Beast getting called black metal do we? Great as Melissa was, Don’t Break The Oath was the sound of the band getting greater. It just sucks that we couldn’t get more of them at this crucial point in their careers. If you're a fan of....just metal in general, this is an absolute must own!

Recommended Songs:
A Dangerous Meeting
The Oath
Desecration of Souls

Act: 2 - 100%

StainedClass95, July 10th, 2014

This is, to me, probably Mercyful Fate's best album. This is also starting to tilt in the direction of Diamond's solo work. As I said previously, it's splitting hairs between their first two, but I do lean towards this one. The musicianship is better, the music is a little more original, and the songs are a touch more varied. Melissa was an elite album, but I feel this was an improvement, barely.

Compared to Melissa, the guitar playing here is a full notch better. Shermann and Denner were more fully tapping into their neo-classical influences, and the results can be excellent. Their sense of melody is much improved, and even average solos are more technical than any on Melissa. This is one of the first changes towards the solo group. This isn't as technical as Andy, but it's much closer than their previous releases had been hinting at. The riffing is somewhat faster on this album. There are still plenty of groove spots, but these feel less prominent. This album actually does give off something in the power metal direction, fast and melodic.

The bass and drums show some improvement as well. They are a little better, but it's not too much. The bass is less audible this time around, enough to make hearing Hansen hard at times. He does an excellent and audible job on Nightmare and The Oath, so he's not gone. The drums are still fairly loud, but you can't mix out drums. I find Ruzz does his groove as well as ever, but the decreased emphasis makes him shine a little less. Nightmare is, as well, probably his best performance.

Diamond's vocal approach has also changed a little. He uses his higher range a good deal more than previously. I also feel this is where we begin to see the peculiar voices that would dominate his solo albums. He doesn't quite have the more unique vocal melodies, but they are getting there. I'm of two minds about this honestly. I do feel he abuses his falsetto on this, but it does fit the music well, and the screams have improved.

My reference to originality is that I could easily compare Melissa to Stained Class with some modifications. This doesn't work as easily. They're still pretty Priest influenced, but this is more subtly. This is normal growth, and it's an obvious positive that they are experimenting with their sound. One of these is in song variety. Most of the numbers on Melissa were pretty close in speed, and tended to want to gravitate towards mid-paced until the title track. Oath will scorch and slow down much more often than Melissa did.

The production change needs to be covered. This album's production is probably the trebliest I've ever heard. I somewhat prefer guitar as far as the instruments go, so I've adapted. For others, they may not do as well. On a related note, this change in production flipped the atmosphere. Instead of a darkened cemetery, we now are surrounded by leaping hell fire, conjured by the guitarists themselves. I slightly prefer the former, but this isn't weak.

As I've mentioned several times, this is the album where one can see the seeds for the solo group. From Diamond's more bizarre deliveries, to the more melodic guitar playing, to the reduction of groove, this definitely functions as a transition. If you're more of a Diamond fan, than you will almost certainly prefer this to the debut. I prefer this and Fate, but many who find Diamond's solo band distasteful will likely gravitate towards the debut.

Taken all together, this is an excellent album. I really can't find a blemish. I have this in my top ten albums, and it won't leave any time soon. To those that believe that Ride the Lightning, Powerslave, Defenders of the Faith, or Metal Church was the metal album of 1984, you need to hear this again, as the consistency and peak of this album surpasses anything found on those. The Oath was one of those songs that, new to metal, had an impact on me. The main riff is still probably my favorite riff of all time. It is the best song this band ever did. This is an awesome album worthy of great praise. It wouldn't have a strong case for greatest metal album of all time, but it is very close. I would again advise any fan of metal to hear this, at least for the history and scope. In terms of who should enjoy this, I would expect fans of early, power, prog, and thrash metal to be quite pleased.

Yellow bastards - 100%

OlympicSharpshooter, November 17th, 2011

If you want to really love Mercyful Fate, and God is it rewarding to do so, you have to be kinda willing to just “go with it.” When you hear Fate for the first time, you can’t help but notice how ridiculous King Diamond’s voice is, and often people find it so distracting that they never really give the band a chance. I liken it to watching old horror movies: yeah, they’re dated and you can see the wires, and the things that scared people then seem trite and funny now, but on the other hand, the way they use the tools at hand to create their vision often results in a creative, really unique aesthetic. The ridiculousness is part of the appeal, sure, but you have to be willing to let yourself just accept these things on their own terms.

I mean, anyone who tells you the King’s voice is “badass” probably isn’t really thinking about what they’re saying; when you’re listening to Diamond’s spindly falsetto on Night of the Unborn, I can’t imagine you’re thinking, “Man, a guy with that voice could probably kick the shit out of me.” I always felt like he was a really earnest guy who wanted very badly to be able to scream like Rob Halford, but could only approach those high notes through a rather willowy falsetto. So he found a way to use the things he had, strangeness and creativity, to become one of the great metal vocalists. His willingness and peerless ability to master multi-tracking techniques, at the time uncommon in metal, and skewed-operatic sense of melody push him far beyond the limits nature had shackled him with. In 1984, you’d really have had to look outside the metal genre to find vocal multi-tracking on a par with what Diamond does on The Oath and Come to the Sabbath. He’s utilizing his voice as an instrument, coming up with these elaborate, really off-the-wall vocal melodies (only John Arch was nearly as original, and you can bet Diamond was a big influence), trying on weird effects, and ultimately matching note for note the decadence of the instrumental performances. Again, the fact that the guy probably thought this kooky shit was legitimately scary or occult is irrelevant. What he’s actually doing is just, for whatever reason, really fucking awesome.

It helped that he had maybe the baddest band in metal laying down the music. Denner and Shermann were churning out some of the finest riffs ever while putting on a “how to solo the metal way” clinic (see Gypsy for both), and the underrated rhythm section of Hansen and Ruzz consistently found that perfect balance between technique and groove. As much as I love Judas Priest, the more I listen to Don’t Break the Oath, the more I realize how thoroughly Mercyful Fate beat them at their own game. It’s like if some rookie did one of those ridiculous LeBron James-style full-court chasedown blocks on LeBron, and then posterized him with a dunk at the other end of the court. Maybe Priest were hampered by recording technology and the burden of inventing a new style, but it’s only fair that someone else ended up delivering the definitive statement of that style. After all, Priest had pretty much done to Deep Purple what Mercyful Fate then did to Priest. Night of the Unborn is K.K. Downing sublimed, and on album-highlight A Dangerous Meeting you can hear that trebly, hot rod Exciter template finally reach the sustained heat it had always aspired to. Listen in relative awe as the midsection of Welcome Princes of Hell thoroughly trumps You’ve Got Another Thing Coming. Songs like Come to the Sabbath and The Oath frequently find themselves inside the most intense, Dissident Aggressor-type moments Priest could only sustain for brief passages; Fate sounded like they’d be comfortable living there.

The scary thing is the way they just kind of toss off little ideas which show that, had they wanted to, they could’ve absolutely owned virtually any other contemporary metal band’s style as easily as they did Judas Priest’s. The rolling, groovy riffage of Desecration of Souls just about out-Savatages Savatage, and you know Dave Mustaine ripped off Come to the Sabbath’s coda for approximately half of the breakdown riffs on Megadeth’s first four albums. Their ability to seamlessly integrate heavy prog riff transitions and rhythms makes even classic Fates Warning sound clumsy by comparison. And the folky mellow guitar riffs at the beginning of To One Far Away? Tell me that doesn’t sound like the origin of Opeth.

I find myself staring into the cover art* while I listen to the record, and it seems like it perfectly represents what Don’t Break the Oath is all about. You do what I used to do when I was 15 and spread out all your metal CDs on your floor and it’ll just immediately catch your eye, that strikingly yellow square amongst all the blacks and blues. If other metal albums are burnt offerings to the Devil, then this offering is one that stills burns, constantly burns. There’s no album quite like it. It’s IIIIIIIIIN THE NAME OF SAAAATAAAAANNN, it’s Don’t Break the Fucking Oath, it’s the best metal album ever.

* By the way, am I the only one who thought the Melissa cover art was an abstract painting of blood dripping sideways because the skull face was so dim?


enigmatech, May 28th, 2011


Some may call this a "heavy metal" or "traditonal metal" album, while others think it is a "black metal" album, but regardless of whatever genre you think it is, there is no denying that this album is an absolute classic, and a landmark upon heavy metal as a whole. Every note, every lyric, every vocal melody, fuck, even every production aspect lends to this in some way. Anyone who dares step up and denounce the pure evil that is this "Don't Break the Oath" shall be struck down immediatly!

As for me, I like to call this a "black metal" album. In fact, it is a black metal album.

Sure, King Diamond's vocals are probably easier on the ears than today's run-of-the-mill Marduk or Darkthrone rip-off, and the riffs share about as much with Bathory and Sodom as they do with Led Zeppelin and Judas Priest. However, beneath the more material aspects of the album, I hate to say this, but there's a very strong sense of atmosphere that should be more drawn to black metal than anything else (just listen to "The Oath" for cryin' out loud!), along with the complete devotion of the lyrics to Satanism. Besides, very few bands were as heavy and brutal, yet remaining as tight (and in possession of anything resembling good production!!) as Mercyful Fate were on this album. And still, have you ever heard an album so evil in "tradtional metal"? No, sorry, you haven't.

But I digress. What is it about this 1984 release that is so compelling? Is it the hot, hellish production? Is it the crisp screams from the raw throat of our glorious King Diamond? Is it the brutal riffs which conjure up the powers of hell and cast an ancient, forgotten spell upon the listener, gracing them with a massive boner which manages to sustain itself for a whopping 3 weeks? Yes, my child, yes! Yes to all! Never before have I been in the presense of such a brutally, evilly, and utterly boob-grabbingly devillish recording, and if I have, then this band could easily be considered the pioneers of such a sound.

One very important element of this album would be it's production value, which sounds delightfully hellish. You can practically feel the heat from the eternal flames of hell call forth drops of sweat from your brow as you suffer eternal pain and suffering. The vocals have a very crisp sound to them, particularly the falsetto screams, while the instruments themselves have been carefully placed in order of importance. Up front, of course, are the guitars, beneath which the bass thumps and thunders, and beneath this, the drums keep the flow of evil from dropping off onto the listener, melting their face off with it's sheer force.

As far as King Diamond goes, this was no doubt one of his highest points. While King often focuses his lyrics more on the way he presents the lyrics as opposed to how the lyrics sound when read (hence why the lyrics to "Abigail" sound so awkward when read without the accompanying music, but that is a story for another day...), on this album you can be assured his lyrics are top-notch, showing off a more mature, yet a more evil direction as well, with tracks such as "The Oath" being rather blunt nods to legitiment Satanism as opposed to the cartoonish, sometimes juvenile depiction metal bands often paint. Just think, King Diamond was an actual Satan-worshipper who managed to approach the topic as something he truly felt inside his heart as opposed to some stupid gimmick or childish attempt to offend. It's much more genuine and for that I give King Diamond my gratitude.

Vocal-wise, however, this is when he began to expand his vocal talents and began to utilize the many different voices he would later become known for. He yells, he taunts, he growls, he shreiks, he cries, and he screams, all for the purpose of making this release sound as evil as possible. Just listen to the section of "Nightmare" in which he taunts the listener from his kingdom of hell, chanting "You are insane!" over inhuman laughs and screams, before bellowing out a tremendous death metal growl, saying "YOU'RE ONLY LIVING ON BORROWED TIME FROM YOUR FATE!"

On the topic of Hank Shermann and Michael Denner, this is where the album truly shines. The dual utilization of Hank Shermann and Michael Denner is a key aspect of the album, with both guitarists utilizing a strong sense of rhythm with memorable, catchy riffs that still manage to sound evil, as well as supplying an almost god-like sense of shredding, with solos that shred like fire from the skies and go leaps and bounds above the work of many, many lesser bands, without abandoning any sense of melody. There's no doubt you'll find yourself playing air guitar to the solo that closes out "Night of the Unborn", or headbanging furociously to the brutal riffing of "Gypsy", or cowering in fear before the majesty that is "The Oath".

Bassist Timi Hansen is no follower either, though. His bass thunders along the edge of the band's music, supplying it's own imput beneath the riffs, some of which sound even more evil than the guitar (The riff 2:48 into "The Omen" is a good example). While there never should have been any doubt that he was a great bassist (fuck, he plays all this stuff with his fingers!), but here he plays his own sick, twisted version of the riffs, creating a more unique and interesting sound. Sometimes his playing jumps to the front, being even more noticable than the guitar (such as the verse riff in "Welcome Princes of Hell"), while other times he's content with jumping to the back and watch the mutilation take place while jamming a simple riff. And fuck, let's talk about that solo of his in "The Omen"! While it may not sound like much when compared to today's collection of death metal superstars, but considering this was released back in 1984, a time when technicality wasn't exactly the focus of metal, (especially for bassists) and once again, he's using his fingers, as opposed to a guitar or bass pick, this solo is a hell of alot more impressive and damn, it just sounds cool!

As for visuals, the album cover art features a dark, ominous figure pointing at the listener from a consuming wall of flame, demanding the listener's soul in return for gracing their pale existance with a shimmer of the awesomeness that writhes within the flames of hell. This album, my friends, is awesome. Sure, it may not be the only awesome album ever made, but it's certainly a clearly defined testament to black metal and heavy metal in general. These are the rules, follow them or die!

Now we're going to get to the final, summary paragraph, where I tell you why you should buy this album. I'll be frank here, though, just buy it. You'll realize how much you were missing out on afterwards.

Sophomore slump, my ass. - 100%

MercyfulSatyr, January 31st, 2009

Some so-called music "experts" would have you believe that a band's debut is usually their greatest. They say by the time a band releases a second album, they've lost their fire. While they might be on to something with mainstream rock (see: Boston), they couldn't be farther off in regards to the metal scene. There are plenty of sophomore magnum opuses - in all of the Big Four of thrash, for example, or Sad Wings of Destiny. And let's not forget the most classic example of them all: none other than Mercyful Fate's Don't Break the Oath.

While Melissa certainly was good, Fate did not reach their true potential until the release of this phenomenal work of art. This is where it all came together - the songwriting, the vocals, the guitars - everything. There's not a bad moment on the whole album; rather, the entire thing is pure gold. Michael Denner and Hank Shermann are, of course, one of the best guitar duos of all time, up there with Friedman/Mustaine and Tipton/Downing. The bass is actually audible (most of the time) and frequently interesting, and the drumming is quite accomplished.

In particular, King Diamond carries the album along. We all know how unmistakable and unforgettable he is, as much for his distinctive corpse paint style as for his unique voice. His ability to switch between demonic midrange growls and unearthly falsetto shrieks at will arguably places him above even Rob Halford as the greatest vocalist of all time. With King Diamond at the helm, the already highly accomplished album is pushed to an even higher plane of existence.

The killer production adds to the outstanding musicianship to create a remarkable, one-of-a-kind atmosphere not even rivaled by such works as Transylvanian Hunger. The atmosphere could possibly be summed up as "demonically possessed," although that would still be an understatement.

And, of course, there's the songs themselves. Don't Break the Oath is supported by three pillars of blackened heavy metal - one at both the beginning at the end, and the third right in the middle. These three songs should be instantly recognizable to any self-respecting metalhead: "A Dangerous Meeting," "The Oath," and "Come to the Sabbath."

"A Dangerous Meeting" is, without a doubt, a magnum opus within itself. From the beginning, you're subjected to the majesty of Mercyful Fate, and once you hear it, there's no turning back. From the riffing to the lyrics to the vocals, everything literally screams perfection. There's a line that deserves special attention here, as well:

"Oh, they should have known
Not to play with the powers of hell!"

The way King Diamond wails that will brand itself into your memory. This song is quite possibly Fate's best song ever, and will keep you coming back time after time. It's like a drug, but even more potent.

"The Oath" begins with a quite convincing spoken Satanic rite. Right afterwards, there's an all-time great scream from King Diamond denouncing... well, guess. There are some truly evil lyrics on this one, not to mention a quote taken from the one and only Aleister Crowley. And then there's another falsetto shriek - the best on the album - at the climax of the pseudo-oath. It's not hard to believe King Diamond actually has bonded himself to the power of Lucifer.

Meanwhile, "Come to the Sabbath" sports the most memorable lyrics on the album (some pretty damn awesome lyrics, by the way). It's like a hymn, except ten thousand times more evil. The last few lines in particular bleed blasphemy. The song also contains some of the album's best riffs near the end. "Come to the Sabbath" really makes you want to go down to the ruined bridge and invoke malevolence in Satan's name.

That's not to say the other songs aren't good. Oh, far from it. While the aforementioned songs are the pillars that hold the album together, the rest of the album is the foundation that keeps it steady.

Take "Nightmare," for example. King Diamond sounds truly tortured here, as if demons really were mocking him with taunts of "you are insane!" (The delivery of these taunts is awesome, by the way.) The instrumentation is as good as ever, of course. There's also a defiant "this one's for the unborn!" in "Night of the Unborn," and a great introduction to "Desecration of Souls." The lyrics are deadly and uncompromising throughout.

"Gypsy" is perhaps the most straightforward metal song on here, but there's no diminishing its effectiveness. It's really fun to sing along to (almost as much as "Come to the Sabbath") and is a fine addition to the album. "Welcome Princes of Hell," with its wicked awesome title, also displays great amounts of competence. While not really one of the "best of the best," per se, it still is excellent.

As a whole, Don't Break the Oath stands proudly as both the crowning achievement of not only Mercyful Fate, but also blackened metal. No wonder it's so influential as proto-black metal much like Venom's and Celtic Frost's early albums. A pinnacle of musical mastery, Don't Break the Oath will eat at your soul like the wrath of Satan it invokes, and once it starts, it's unrelenting. Trust me when I say that this one will be with you for years to come.

no more juvenile occultism; this is the real deal - 86%

Uebermensch, December 8th, 2007

Here it is, boys and girls, the transition of heavy metal from a rebellious godchild of rock-and-roll to a religious philosophy.

There had been other bands that touched on these themes before, of course: Led Zeppelin helped to cultivate the New Age spiritualism of hippie hard-rock into an occult-oriented system informed by the writings of Aleister Crowley; Black Sabbath referenced the Lord of Darkness in a number of compositions, including their (in)famous eponymous track; Judas Priest had toyed with this angle on "Saints In Hell" from their Stained Class album; and Venom had adopted the horror-movie-cliché form of Satanism popularized by Anton LaVey two years hence. But what happens when a band decides that they no longer wish to ward off Lord Satan, as the protagonist in "Black Sabbath" did, but instead choose to embrace him with open arms, sulphuric smell and all?

You get Mercyful Fate, that's what.

This record is, of course, not Fate's debut; that would be Melissa, which began the long years of refinement to the Fate formula. But where Lucifer himself was addressed only in a very few tracks on that album, and directly only on the appropriately-titled "Satan's Fall", one is here immersed in deviltry and diabolism of all stripes, beginning with the very first cut, "A Dangerous Meeting".

Right from the bat (lol) we are treated to a chillingly powerful introductory riff, which quickly transitions into the serpentine main riff. Soon the King's vocals drift over the air like a banshee's wail, and we come to understand that this man has fully earned his regal title - he has a range unmatched in heavy metaldom. One cannot discuss this band without first discussing its frontman, but no conversation is really necessary. At 1:50 into "A Dangerous Meeting" you will either bow before the King or have your soul ripped from your still-heaving chest and cast out into the void by the Furies. Yes, it's that Goddamned good.

"Nightmare" follows up with an excellent bass intro (entirely suitable for this band) which transforms into something almost groovy, with ungodly high-pitched vocals on the part of Diamond, and quickly descends after the two minute mark into a pit of riffish despair before being blasted out of the depths like steam from the vents of Hell by an excellent thrash section.

"Desecration of Souls" is next, following up on the meandering chaos of the last track with much more controland focus - and with a lead riff so evil that I was possessed by demons and forced to do wickedly delicious things to myself while listening to it. Incredible shredding abounds here.

"Night of the Unborn" is the second-best track on this album for me. From the utterly Satanic opening shred to the half-grove of the main riff, this had me under its thrall from the beginning. The true highlight here, however, is Diamond's opening cry, which simply does not sound human. Halford, Tate and Dickinson are human demi-gods; this fellow is from another dimension altogether. All falsetto, all the time. "They will make a fool of the priest, and the dead boy's choir will sing!"

"The Oath" is probably the second most famous song from this album, superseded only by the last track, and for good reason: it fuckin' rocks! Opening with an atmospheric electronic squeal before descending into a maelstrom of storm and sorcery, this is quite possibly the most blasphemous song ever. This takes awhile to get going, but once it does, you'll be done for. Hank Shermann is the master of the galloping riff, and his prowess is in full display here. Yes, Mr. Diamond, we deny Jesus Christ, the deceiver as well; he couldn't rock nearly as hard as you.

"Gypsy" is unfortunately the last exceptional track on the record before the grand finale, but what a track it is! Taking a different route from the last straightforward rockers, this bursts into an almost danceable riff which is at times almost reminiscent of "Stained Class" or perhaps "Stranger In A Strange Land", save being darker than the latter and more slickly produced than the former. Definitely a keeper.

Unfortunately, the Diamond mine seems to have been depleted for awhile, for the next two tracks, "Welcome Princess of Hell" and "To One Far Away", are not as exceptional as the latter work and unfortunately slow this album down considerably. Both are quite soft works, with the latter being a complete instrumental, and, while very well-done for atmospheric purposes, seem to detract from the full-on Satanic assault which had been building until this point on the album.

Which is fine, because the last cut (on the standard version), "Come To The Sabbath", is simply the most amazing metal track of all time.

Picture this: you've sojourned out to your local cemetery one dainty eve to take a breath of fresh air, when suddenly a voice calls out to you from the black, beckoning you to come, come, to the Sabbath, down by the brook that runs. Have you the courage to heed the call?

Diamond did, and it paid off marvelously with this song. Every moment, ever second, every solo, note, and octave sounds perfect here, the slightly-dated production adding everything to the atmosphere. This is not a rip-roaring speed metal fest - then, this album really isn't, though it would like to be very much - and yet it's better than all of them. This, my good sirs, is what we call a piece de résistance. And it fucking rules.

Well, there you have it, the second-best release of 1984 in the traditional metal arena, being bested only so-very-slightly by Iron Maiden's stupdendous Powerslave. If this doesn't convert you, then you're already dead.

Don't Break The Oath - 100%

BCRichBich, September 8th, 2006

What can be said about Mercyful Fate that has not already been said? They have released some of the best and most influential metal ever. Most thrash, black, death, prog/tech, and even power metal bands list them either as a vital influence or list bands that Mercyful Fate have been a vital influence on. With no surprise. They along with Anvil, Motorhead and Venom have helped create what would become thrash and extreme metal, as well as black metal with the latter of the aforementioned bands. They are every bit as essential to the evolution of metal as Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. Think of it this way. If you think Metallica, Slayer and Megadeth were important bands, they would not even exist the way they had if it was not for Mercyful fate.

Now to the album. Don't Break The Oath is their second full length album. They were cult gods in Europe and underground icons in the US since the very beginning of the 80's. This is the album that gained them real worldwide exposure (as well as controversy and notoriety), even bringing them to the Billboard 200. A real gem and classic in every sense of the words, Don't Break The Oath is a benchmark that belongs in every metalheads vast album collection. This album features the complex bluesy bass work of Timi Hansen, as well as the technical and complex drumming patterns of Kim Ruzz. This is the album where they truly shine with their tight as a fist rhythm section, also bringing in an almost 70's hard rock style to this crushing metal release. Then there is the jaw dropping guitar duo of Hank Shermann and Michael Denner, a duo that happens to be one of the best in all of metal. Hank is more fast and technical while Michael is more passionate and emotional. I could swear that Michael can actually make his guitar talk. They have two very different styles yet they have a wonderful chemistry that has to be heard to truly believe. Then last, but certainly not least is King Diamond on vocals. Some hate him, most love him and there is really no in between. I am more than proud to say that I am in the latter category. His voice simply has to be heard to be believed. He can go from a deep death-thrashy kind of growl to an ear piercing, glass shattering, almost dog whistle falsetto in a mere instant without having to transition. The only vocalists I can think of who can reach all these octaves so fluidly are Rob Halford, Tim Aymar and Eric Adams, yet none of them can go to the extremes that Mr. Diamond is able to.

The music itself is a mix of thrash, heavy, prog and even shred metal. The lyrics are mostly based on Satanism or the occult. Another thing that must be mentioned is the production. It was way ahead of it's time, especially for 1984, and I cannot think of any album released until now that had such a wonderful mix. The instruments are layered so wonderfully yet it is so crisp, you will swear it is jumping out of you speakers.

Don't Break The Oath is such an amazing and flawless album. It's incredible how dark the atmosphere of Mercyful Fate albums are without having to rely on raw production or sounding guttural like so many of their contemporaries (and followers). If you don't have this album yet and are a fan of this band, get it now. Sell your blood or even your kids if you have to. It is an absolute essential that's more than worth every penny. 10 out of 10. Enjoy .

what heavy metal is all about - 94%

kollex, February 27th, 2004

Without Mercyful fate there would have been no Metallica. Don’t hold them against them though. Conventions and norms which now abound round the metal scene were often directly lifted (i.e. stolen) from this their last album before their first spilt. The album itself is heavily aggressive trad metal, with some exceptional displays of guitar ability within the solo’s (The Oath) and some marvellous invention displayed within the riffs (come to the Sabbath). Structurally it is slightly less linear than the heavy metal of the 1970’s yet still is fairly straightforward, thus meaning the album isn’t too simple as to get boring yet still have enough melody and repetition to be one which is easy to know by heart.

King Diamond’s performance on this secures his place as one of the kings nay the king of heavy metal. King Diamond is so cool; he could make love to your girlfriend, kill your dog and piss on your designer clubbing gear all at the same time. Why is this?
His vocal performance on this album is just superb. Ranging from melodic and poignant passages (which incidentally the squinty eyed socialist cum capitalist out of Radiohead stole for his own vaudeville act) on songs such as a dangerous meeting and desecration of souls, to his frankly incredible falsetto which carries more power and harmony than Bruce Dickinson’s corny and strained efforts ever could.

Stand out tracks including the poignant yet exhilarating A Dangerous Meeting and the heavy metal stomp that is Gypsy. In fact all the tracks are stand out tracks there are no weak tracks here.

Let’s face facts. If you claim to be a fan of heavy metal, then you need this album. its more essential than any of the Maiden, Metallica and Def Leppard (if you hold the belief that Def Leppard are better than Mercyful Fate then you better drink a Bleach martini, shaken not stirred, as your worth less than a fetid jar of monkey piss).

I repeat you need this album.

It's not bad, but no Melissa - 79%

UltraBoris, July 26th, 2003

This is a decent album, but it's just not the overwhelming riff monster that Melissa is. Part of it seems to be, that the band ran out of ideas, especially on side B of the album. Of course some of this stuff is undeniably classic, and it's an album worth getting, but just be prepared to be slightly let down by some kinda uninspired songwriting that echoes their previous songs a bit too much.

We start off with five songs, though, that are as good as Melissa, if not even a bit better. A Dangerous Meeting has some cool lyrics, and that opening riff is just speed metal Hell - but of course there are many, many more riffs in there, all of them headbanging monsters of various tempoes. Same with Nightmare, which is another epic number. "You're only living on borrowed time... from your FATE!!!!" Fucking Hell yeah. Then, Desecration of Souls which is pretty awesome in that after the "so I speak for the dead" it sounds like they'd play a fairly simple riff, and it opens up that way but then goes into a bit of shredding, and even when the second guitar comes in to play a short solo, the first one is still doing some crazy things, before finally settling into the simple (I use that word in a good way), catchy main verse riff. This is the kind of thing The Fate does really fucking well - at times blur the lines between rhythm and lead guitar and create some of the most awesome riffs ever. Second only to Black Sabbath, I must say - the first two Mercyful Fate albums have more killer riffs than even Judas Priest's first few, and that's one Hell of a feat.

Night of the Unborn is another great one - well, except for the fact that the really fast section at the end seems like it was lifted straight out of the fast section at the end of Evil. Though the melodic part leading up to it is just about the best solo on the album. Total Priest worship. And yes, the first solo is total Train Kept A Rolling (Aerosmith live version). Estigia was right. And, to reward him, I'll give this album a rating less than 90.

Then, of course... awesome keyboard intro, totally evil atmosphere, some Satanic rite, which explodes into "I deny Jesus Christ, the deceiver!!!!" and of course the completely fucking awesome highlight-of-the-album riff right before it... THE OATH, of course!!! Second only to "Evil" as Greatest Fucking Thing that this band ever came up with. Oh Hell yeah, and the rest of the song is just as fucking awesome - seven minutes of pure Satanfucking goat ecstasy.

Then, well - the album takes a bit of a sink. Gypsy sounds a bit like a ripoff of Curse of the Pharaohs except with a Led Zeppelin riff (Immigrant Song) spliced in. In and of itself, it would be a pretty great song, except most of Melissa sounds similar, but better. And the same thing happens for Welcome, Princess of Hell - which is a better song than Gypsy, and has some fucking awesome soloing too... though it just does not compare with some of the first few tracks of the album.

To One Far Away is a bit of an interlude - kinda cool, I guess, though half the time I tend to skip it. The beginning part of The Oath slays it in every way possible. Finally, Come to the Sabbath, which people seem to worship unconditionally, but I just don't think is that awesome a song. The intro is kinda nifty, but after that it just seems like they spliced out some of Satan's Fall, rearranged it a bit, and threw it into this song. Then, the fast part ("we curse the priest who took the life of Melissa") is off-and-on, because at times the drums take front stage over the guitars, and you're never supposed to do that, especially not when you've got one of the best guitarist pairs ever assembled. The keyboard part sounds like it's gonna do something very cool, but then it kinda falls apart - hint: Blue Oyster Cult did it far better (Don't Fear the Reaper). Then, the funny part, the riff immediately afterwards was ripped off by none other than Driving and Crying (Fly Me Courageous).

So, this is a very good album, it's just that it's no Melissa - if you get this one first, you'll probably not be as disappointed. Still, worth getting when all is said and done.

I gave it below 90, so sue me. - 82%

Nightcrawler, July 13th, 2003

The follow-up to Mercyful Fate's legendary debut Melissa is not a bad album by any means, but definitely not up to par with the debut.
The production is more polished, and although it remains the heavier edge, the atmosphere was much better brought out by the production on the former album.
The musical idea is generally the same: The songs are complex with countless of riff changes and various vocal lines. But less effort seems to have gone into the songwriting process this time. At some points, the songs just don't seem to flow quite well, as more effort seems to have been put into the individual riffs, which sometimes don't work together. It's not very obvious, but it's there on several occasions and at times seems to mess up the general flow of the album. Now don't get me wrong- it's a great album, but they can do way better.

Songs like A Dangerous Meeting and Welcome Princess of Hell has some lethal stuff, but for the most part they feel a tad uninspired. The former has that nice speedy main riff and a very cool, atmospheric chorus, and the latter has that awesome breakdown to the end of each verses. "Even in the night, I see the light shining bright... I'm alone with my friends." One more melodic vocal line in each vers may not seem much for the world, but it's incredible how much they can add to the song.
But despite these golden moments on the songs, they are mostly quite averagee. The verses of the opening track A Dangerous Meeting are forgettable and the overuse of the falsetto makes it lose some of the effect, which is another mistake that's made a couple of times on this album.
The first four minutes or so of The Oath is some of the best shit found on any of the band's first two albums. The vocal lines are evil and memorable, the riffwork is awesome, and that atmospheric keyboard part is mesmerizing. But then it just kinda falls apart. The vocal lines are less powerful and the riffs are less forgettable. Actually, it's not really bad, but if you compare it to the beginning of the same song, it looks quite weak.

But the rest of the songs found here are all fucking winners. Nightmare is awesome- especially towards the end, with that awesome keyboard part and the final vers; "Listen, they sing, the coven sings!", followed by those incredible operatic vocal melodies. Desecration of Souls is groovy as all fucking hell. Night of the Unborn, despite the definite overuse of falsetto, is really solid- just check out that solo section towards the end. Five solos in a row, each better than the previous. Gypsy is more straightforward and to the point, and is incredibly catchy. To One Far Away is a short but effective instrumental.

And then for the closing track is where it all came together. Come To The Sabbath easily beats anything on both Melissa and Don't Break the Oath.
More focus seems to be put on the songwriting and flow instead of the individual riffs, and suddenly a total fucking masterpiece is created. "Come, come to the Sabbath!" King diamond chants, and the song begins with the majestic and mesmerizing opening lines. From that, it's just pure fucking ownage- catchy riffwork with badass single note moments under the verses, memorable vocal lines and even some double kick drumming can be found here. Hank Shermann also proves why he is the superior man of the Mercyful Fate guitar duo in the blazing solo. And let's not forget the mesmerizing keyboard part.
Had every song been of this quality, then this had been one fucking masterpiece. Unfortunately, at some moments the band lost focus in the songwriting.
But despite some missteps, this is for the most part another heavy metal classic that definitely needs to be checked out.

And be sure to get the remastered version. There you can find an old demo version of A Dangerous Meeting titled Death Kiss- and fuck, they should've used that one instead. It's catchy as all hell, and works much better. King's vocals on that old recording sound pretty damn funny though... Great, but funny. Be sure to check that one out.

If someone give this a below 90 rate, kill him!! - 96%

Estigia666, February 12th, 2003

Traditional metal with a dark edge played with the utmost passion, great musicianship, adventurous approach in songwriting and one of the most original and recognizable vocalists in metal. This REQUIRES to be listened because it can't be explained with just words. Even the first song, A Dangerous Meeting, with those killer guitar riffs and its sheer complexity cannot stand to the various directions the following songs approach. Every song is different from the others, very much thought and no detail is missing from the picture.

The depths that this album reach are.... frightening. Nightmare has some clavichord arrangements and riskful approaches in the vocal territory (the "YOU ARE INSANE...YOU ARE INSANE!" part always ends with my patience, but i guess that you can't like every experiment a band makes). Desecration of Souls starts with a creepy slow riff, and gets "bluesy" in the verses, but it doesn't stay there, the changes come one after the other, keeping the whole thing interesting and never dull or boring. A short "rocking" guitar solo (sort of a reminder that this album was made in the middle eighties) introduces Night of the Unborn, again King Diamond's experiments with his vocals show some unconventional vocal melodies, sounding really eerie and sick at the same time. The chorus is memorable, and the lead guitar works SHINES!!!! The solos are made and played with so much fucking passion on this one, is almost incredible (Please, take note on the solo that starts in the 3:54 mark and ends in 4:29). The Oath has some satanic lyrical work, made in sort of a praying styling, and even more complex arrangements. Gypsy has sort of a more rock like approach than the previous song, more incredible vocal melodies, but appart from that it doesn't really shines that much (that doesn't mean that is bad, either). Actually, both Gypsy and Welcome Princess of Hell are most remarkable thanks to King's vocal work more than anything else. Come to the Sabbath, one of Fate's most recognizable classics, keep the nature of the first tracks, you know, the complex songwriting, the passion dripping all over the place, etc, etc.

Overall, this album is a CLASSIC in any way possibly imagined. If you aren't agree with me on this, go fuck yourself.