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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.