As if it seems like March will never end, the Music Recs will also never end. Today we’re on to a stop that might be my favorite album title of all time. I’ve said that quite a bit about some of these albums I’ve reviewed, but Don’t Break The Oath is so goddamn cool. I’ve tried putting it in my own writing, thinking of a movie to title it that, and anything else in between. My love of King Diamond, Mercyful Fate, and Don’t Break The Oath is relatively new. In the case of a lot of the metal I’ve been introduced to, it’s through one of my best friends, Eli. Eli is like the wise, old (he’s only a year older), sage of ancient long forgotten metal secrets. Maybe you haven’t forgotten them, but I didn’t know about a lot of them. So to Eli, I thank you.
Mercyful Fate is a Danish metal band. They were formed in 1981 and are credited as a huge influence on Metallica, Slayer, and other huge metal bands of the time. They released their debut album, Melissa in 1983. That album would set forth the entire genre of Black Metal alongside the band Venom. While Melissa is a fantastic debut album, Mercyful Fate took it to another level with Don’t Break The Oath. Released on September 7th, 1984, the lyrical content and music would forever change the heavy metal landscape.
Don’t Break The Oath Shreds
King Diamond is a master of metal. He should be spoken of in the same vein as Rob Halford, Lemmy, Dio, Ozzy, and other luminaries like them. If Melissa was a great debut, Don’t Break The Oath improves on everything. It has better production quality, better songwriting, better art, and I believe it’s a more impactful record. The album began to show just what King Diamond and the rest of this band could do. King Diamond wasn’t the only person in Mercyful Fate though. Hank Shermann, Michael Denner, Timi Hansen, and Kim Ruzz all played their parts on this album.
Starting off with the opening track, “A Dangerous Meeting”, you know this is going to be good.
Everything about this song screams heavy metal. From the guitar tone, to the subject matter, to King Diamond’s falsetto vocals. It’s something completely different than any other band could have done. To me, this is what makes King Diamond and Mercyful Fate so great. No other band could write and perform this song the way they do. His vocals set them apart from any other artist in the metal community.
About a group of seven people who try to summon the powers of Hell and pay for it, with their lives. It’s a cautionary tale about messing with powers we don’t understand. The satanic and occult imagery on this album is turned all the way up. It sets it apart from the story of Melissa.
More Awesome Tracks
Another song about spirits and celebrating that side of life that we might not know much about. The ghosts of the past and evil are out tonight at the Chapel. Nothing, even the Priest can stop them. We live our lives, but we live much longer in the realm of the dead. The other thing on this song that can’t be stopped is Michael Denner’s shredding guitar. Holy crap. The last third of this song is a masterclass on how to melt someone’s face with a guitar solo. Not even in the Steve Vai/Yngwie way of just guitar wanking, it’s got substance, and adds to the overall brutal feel of the song.
Finally on Don’t Break The Oath, we’ll close with my favorite and the best song on the album. On an album like this one, it takes a lot to close it out. Luckily Mercyful Fate did just that.
“Come To The Sabbath” is their magnum opus. On an album filled with hard and heavy classics, it takes a lot to stand out. This song starts off strong, and is just the perfect blend of everything that makes Mercyful Fate awesome. There’s not much I can say about this album that hasn’t been said before. It’s a landmark in the sphere of heavy metal and one that has lived on. Proving that people can take the two signs of heavy metal, fanciful, over the top imagery, and mix them with hard, overclocked guitar tones, Mercyful Fate does this better than anyone had before them.
For more on Mercyful Fate, Don’t Break The Oath, heavy metal, or any other general pop culture, make sure to check back to That Hashtag Show.
For more information about Mercyful Fate, check out their website here.
To see yesterday’s music rec, click below: