Giving you a brief rundown of where I stand, I thought “Beginning” and “Melissa” were good. I did NOT like “Don’t Break the Oath.” I thought “In the Shadows” defined the term ‘major comeback.’ “Time” was an interesting gentler side of Mr. Diamond. “Into the Unknown” was an uneven record, but it did have its moments. Well, on “Dead Again,” guitarist Mike Denner was replaced with Mike Wead. (This leaves King Diamond and Hank Shermann as the only remaining original members.) While some people will obviously miss Mike Denner, Mike Wead actually fills the spot well, and the truth is, “Dead Again” may actually be Mercyful Fate’s best record! This is arguably the strongest lineup Mercyful Fate had and King’s vocals are in outstanding shape. ‘Torture’ is a powerful opener with frightening lyrics and a driving edge. ‘The Night’ has a dark tone made more prevalent by the guitar work. Songs of lost love are not too common on Mr. Diamond’s records, but ‘Since Forever’ is a frighteningly well put together track that convincingly combines sorrow and rage. (On this song, the team work of Shermann and Wead is really prevalent.) ‘The Lady Who Cries’ is less intense, but it is still dark and haunting. On ‘Banshee,’ Mr. Diamond shows us yet again, that sometimes softer and more quiet = more eerie. ‘Mandrake’ is a good song that releases the tension for a moment. ‘Sucking Your Blood’ is a surprisingly frightening song that is told from the eyes of a vampire. The real terror begins with ‘Dead Again.’ Skillfully preceeded by some soft classical guitar, Mr. Diamond unleashes 13 minutes of different types of music unified by lyrics portraying someone wandering through different images of death, and of course Mr. Diamond’s unusual talent for organization. As far as Hank Shermann and Mike Wead’s guitar work, I can honestly say they may not get the kudos that Eddie Van Halen, Jim Hendrix, or Steve Vai get, but Shermann and Wead are the better guitarists. ‘Fear’ is an almost thrash song that follows ‘Dead Again’ as well as could have been expected. The record has a real intense and frightening end with ‘Crossroads.’ Shermann and Wead again show that this may be the best guitar tandem that King Diamond ever had. And of course King’s vocals are unleashed full blast for this final track of terror. Generally, I try to understand the different opinions of others. But I honestly wonder how anyone could call this a weak record on Mercyful Fate’s part. The lyrics, the music itself, King’s vocals, and King’s lineup, are all nothing short of phenomenal on this record. So much so, that not only is “Dead Again” arguably their best record, but it sounds like it was meant to be revenge on alternative, rapp, grunge, and sell outs. Don’t be swayed by the negative revews. You will miss out on this record of intense musical terror!