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

TrooperEd, October 28th, 2015

...to 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