Classic Album Review

Album of the Week: Melissa – Mercyful Fate

Melissa is the first studio album by the Danish band, Mercyful Fate. The record was recorded July 18-29, 1983 at Easy Sound Recordings in Copenhagen, Denmark and released October 30, 1983, by Roadrunner in Europe (the record company’s first release), Music for nations in the UK, and Mega Force in the USA.

Interestingly, the album (and the band) are, obviously listed in the Heavy Metal genre, but also the Black Metal genre. Like Slayer (listed as Heavy Metal / Death Metal), from the same era, it is not the lyrical delivery that determined the category, but the lyrical content. Mercyful Fate (and Melissa) are renown for the occult – demonology, witchcraft, and Satanist – subject matter.

The (now) legendary King Diamond, with his operatic vocals (notably, his usage of falsetto) and death mask face paint, wrote and performs all lyrics. The band is solidly rounded-out by the awesome Hank Sherman (guitar; composer of all songs), Michael Denner (guitar), Timi Hansen (base), and Kim Ruzz (drums). Melissa clocks in at 40:09 long, while containing seven tracks.

It was planned to be an eight song record, with a cover of, “The Immigrant Song” (Led Zepplin), but the band decided it did not fit well with the theme and feel of the rest of the record. Included in the seven track selection, clocking 11:23, is the epic, “Satan’s Fall.” The song, according to the band, contains 16 different riffs, and took “forever" to learn because Sherman kept adding parts! It was the band’s longest song for many years. One single was released for the record, “Black Funeral,” with a B-side, “Black Masses" (a song recorded during Melissa, but not making the final cut).

In 1985, the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC) cited “Into the Coven" among their Filthy Fifteen (their list of objectionable songs) because of its occult content. In 2017, Rolling Stone ranked Melissa at 17th on their list of ‘The 100 Greatest Metal Albums of All Time’.

1983 Track Listing:

  1. Evil
  2. Curse of the Pharaohs
  3. Into the Coven
  4. At the Sound of the Demon Bell
  5. Black Funeral
  6. Satan’s Fall
  7. Melissa

Favorite Songs: Melissa; Curse of the Pharaohs; Satan’s Fall

Rating: Definitely a solid 10/10!!

Melissa is simply one of the best Metal albums on the market and a MUST HAVE for the serious metalhead! BTW, Mercyful Fate have reunited and are touring during the 2019 season! Catch them if you get the opportunity!

Stay Metal,