For those who are opposed to the idea of fate, let me offer the story of my first encounter with Mercyful Fate. I was in eighth grade at the time, and being a newbie to the metal genre, I was mainly listening to acts like Metallica and Ozzy Osbourne. Browsing the discount tape rack at The Wall (yes, this was a long time ago), I came across “In the Shadows” by Mercyful Fate. I hadn’t heard of this band before, let alone their monumental impact on the heavy metal world, but the album cover looked enticing and the $2 price tag assured me that I wouldn’t be too disappointed if the album did happen to be a flop. Upon entering my room and removing the tape from its case, I was greeted by a photo of a menacing madman in black and white corpse paint, an upside down cross adorning his forehead.
It was music unlike anything I had ever heard before, and was the only album I listed to for weeks. To this day, I still consider “In the Shadows” to be my first encounter with true heavy metal. A meager $2 gamble that forever changed my musical experience.
Though not quite up to par with Mercyful Fate’s heavier material from the early 80’s, “In the Shadows” is a fantastic album with only a minor amount of patchy points, and to me, the best thing King Diamond did in the 90’s (be it Fate, or solo material). King’s voice on the album is at a perfect equilibrium. There’s still alot of the trademark falsettos on the album (as opposed to his more recent vocal outings), yet it’s not overbearing as it sounds on albums such as “Abigail” or “Them”, making it a great introductory album for those whose ears are still virgins to King’s unorthodox singing style. Highly recommended.
As a funny denouement to my story, when I first opened up the cassette case for “In the Shadows”, I noticed that Lars Ulrich played drums on the track “Return of the Vampire…1993″. Being naive and unaware, I thought `wow, this no name band should probably be thankful that Lars is on this album’. Hahaha, oh how stupid I was. But seriously, this is one Hell of a comeback from one of metal’s most pivotal acts. Buy.