Mercyful Fate - Melissa (1983), 5/10

The obvious but necessary critique here of King Diamond’s silly vocals pervades the whole track list. There are some killer riffs and exceptional musicianship that are utterly drowned by the vocal style, but even more importantly by the timing and creative choices behind the vocals. Momentum builds up just enough to get you going before a clownish chorus kicks back in. If you can separate the two, there are some great, epic songs underneath, but this becomes increasingly difficult as the album goes on, especially on a lengthy track such as “Satan’s Fall”. This eleven-minute song essentially contains several shorter songs within, some of which are driving, passionate, and even satisfying but are undercut repeatedly by the vocal interludes and ludicrous vocal exercises. I have given Mercyful Fate more than a fair chance with many repeated listens, especially of their first two records, but I will likely never succumb to the indoctrination that is enjoying the oafish vocal styles of King Diamond. Perhaps I will revisit some of these songs like the opener “Evil” or “Curse of the Pharaohs” for their instrumental prowess but nothing more.