I’m really glad that MF put this album out. I’m tired of the incessant comparison of every new MF album with MELISSA and DON’T BREAK THE OATH. Hell, DBTO was released over 15 yrs ago, and something would be very wrong with MF’s creativity if they still sounded today like they did back then. I read an interview with King and Hank Shermann (in Metal Maniacs) and they explicitly said they’re tired of everyone always saying, “This album isn’t MELISSA,” and that they’ve always wanted to try different directions with their sound. I admire them for finally taking broader steps, with 9, to move away from that ancient fan base that’s still stuck in the early 80s. I mean, how many times can you possibly listen to MELISSA and DBTO? MF’s fans should be grateful to have a band that continues to produce consistently high-grade music on an almost yearly basis (minus the breakup years). King Diamond himself has got to be one of metal’s most creative and inspired artists. I admit that the lyrics on 9 sound kind of similar to other KD/MF songs, but his singing remains impressably innovative and incomparable. “Church of Saint Anne,” “Sold My Soul,” and “9″ are vocal masterpieces. I also hope that Mike Wead will be allowed to contribute more music to the next MF album; his only composition, “9,” stands out as the most twisted piece of music on the album. I think 9 will, with the proper exposure, garner MF more fans and the wider listening base that they have been so long in deserving.