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68 of 74 people found the following review helpful
on May 18, 2004
MUSIC
Technically, Mercyful Fate's debut LP is slightly patchy and derivative, particularly of early Black Sabbath and Judas Priest, although in parts it is more ambitious than those bands' major works, in a `proggy' kind of way. It also sounds a bit dated in parts. In terms of originality, craftsmanship, instrumental prowess, and King Diamond's application of his unique and controversial voice and vocal range, it was comprehensively surpassed by Diamond's later solo classics (particularly Them, Conspiracy, and The Eye), and even by Mercyful Fate's 1993 reunion album, In The Shadows (although I prefer the more dynamic rhythm section on Melissa than those on The Eye or In The Shadows).
What puts this album in a supreme league of its own is a wickedly powerful aura that builds up throughout the album, which is something that no amount of musical training can achieve, and no review can adequately reflect. Reviewer `stevex3' gives us a taste when he says "I'm sure that this CD gets played at every gathering of demons," but you really cannot have any idea what that means unless you experience this album for yourself (preferably played loud in the dark), as different people will experience it differently, and will undoubtedly have a hard time explaining their experience.
LYRICS
You'll find a lot of people dismissing this album because of the overtly `Satanic' lyrics.
Firstly, I listen to music for its sonic qualities, rather than its lyrical content. If I am interested in philosophical ideas or stories I can always read a good book, watch a good film, or communicate with a person who has devoted his/her life to a particular field of thought. It's a good bonus when an artist that makes good music uses it to communicate thoughts and ideas that I can relate to, or are simply interesting, but good lyrics do not make good music, good music doesn't necessarily require any lyrics at all, and the voice can be used as a musical instrument without any lyrics at all. Really lame lyrics can sometimes compromise a great sonic experience, but only if they are sung in a way that makes their content really stick out. Fortunately for those who may be put off by the lyrics on Melissa, Diamond's extreme vocal acrobatics are such that very deliberate attention to the lyrical content is required to make out what he is saying.
Secondly, the `anti-Satanism' whiners seem to overlook the fact that Diamond is a THEATRICAL musician and vocalist. I can't speak for all the whiners, but I am amazed at how many of them are entertained by all sorts of shock and horror movies, or other representations of violent and/or racially and/or sexually degrading themes and images, yet they dismiss brilliant music because it conveys `Satanic'/evil tales or fantasies. Wake up and smell your thoughtless self-contradictions!
Thirdly, let's assume that at least some of the "Satanic' content on this album is an accurate expression of King Diamond's personal desires or convictions. As a person who relates strongly with the teachings of Christ, as distinct from the distortions of most subsequent leaders of organized Christianity, I find it very disturbing that many people have no problem facilitating religious, political and economic oligarchs who satisfy their greed and megalomania at the expense of the livelihood of millions, yet they cry outrage when some comparatively insignificant singer expresses his twisted imagination or fantasies on a record. Wake up and smell your hypocrisy!
Fourthly, any genuine opponent of `Satanic' ideas should benefit from informing himself/herself as to what these `Satanists' truly stand for and why, as distinct from what the media or your average Christian activist or passive Christian might suggest they stand for. Although I doubt that this album is very reflective of the band's true convictions, I do know that King Diamond subscribes to some `Satanic Bible' by Anton Lavey, which apparently does not propagate any Satanic WORSHIP, but is merely a critique of Christianity (something that I suspect should probably be blamed on the false prophets who dominate organized Christianity). Wake up and empower yourself!
BOTTOM LINE
Regardless of the lyrical content of this album, if you are an enthusiast for heavy and unique music you must experience it. It is one of the most powerful `underground' Metal albums ever.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on November 10, 2005
Arguably the most original and critically acclaimed group to come from Denmark was Mercyful Fate. Mercyful Fate's nucleus comprised of the multi-octave vocals of King Diamond aka Kim Bendix Petersen, and the twin lead guitar attack of Hank Sherman aka Rene Krolmark and Michael Denner. "Melissa" was the group's first formal recording and was a featured LP for Road Runner Records. Although "Melissa" was originally released in 1983, and re-released in 1997, Roadrunner Records has remastered the songs and released this classic for your listening enjoyment. It includes the highly sought after early 1980's BBC sessions, two extra demo tracks of "Black Funeral", and "Curse of the Pharaohs" and a three track DVD featuring live footage of the band during early 1983. A commentary by King Diamond himself narrates the performance and the story of the group during that time frame. Mercyful Fate pioneered a sub genre of ultra heavy and complex music renown for its macabre lyrics, and Satanic/occultism driven imagery and attitude called Black Metal.

The relevance of "Melissa" as a recording is immense. Firstly the LP had 7 drop dead knock out classics including the 11 minute opus "Satan's Fall" Secondly, Mercyful Fate's sound was so obscenely original that to this day not another group even vaguely comes close to emulating them. And thirdly, Mercyful Fate's success paved the way for many other extremely heavy artists to prosper.

In conclusion, this group's body of work isn't for everybody, and some will find the subject content and or delivery of Mercyful Fate's music to be uncomfortable. But for those who are interested in truly groundbreaking Metal classics and the development of the genre of darker Metal music, this CD/DVD package is a must have for your collection! Be sure to check out Mercyful Fate's 9 other releases, King Diamond's solo work and Force of Evil's cds featuring Hank Sherman and Michael Denner
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on August 6, 2001
I'm sure that this CD gets played at every gathering of demons. In fact, it has to be on the personal playlist of Satan himself! This is perfect Halloween and witching hour music. In all seriousness, this album is full of truly great metal! In my opinion "Melissa" ranks only behind "Don't Break The Oath" in terms of Mercyful Fate's greatest work!"Evil," "Curse Of The Pharoahs," "At The Sound Of The Demon Bell," "Corpse Without Soul," "Into The Coven," "Black Funeral," "Satan's Fall," and "Melissa" are all outstanding songs. "Satan's Fall" is long, but good. "Melissa," a song written to remember those who died as a result of the witchhunts in medieval Europe, is a classic by any standard!Early Mercyful Fate exudes greatness! The work on the "Nuns Have No Fun" EP, "Melissa," and "Don't Break The Oath" proves that. The music is very powerful! Michael Denner is outstanding on lead guitar, as is Hank Shermann! Kim Ruzz is great on drums, Timi Hansen is an awesome bassist, and of course King Diamond is a vocal giant! Grab this CD and start your descent into hell today.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on September 3, 2005
this album includes a dvd of three songs by mercyful fate from the live at the dynamo in holland 1983

track list for dvd:

1.doomed by the living dead

2.black funeral

3.curse of the pharaohs

*also inludes exclusive commentary by king diamond

but wait there more it also includes a cd of melissa

track list:

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

* all tracks remastered

bonus tracks:

8.black masses (b-side of the "black funeral" single)

9.curse of the pharaohs(bbc radio 1 session)

10.evil(bbc radio 1 session)

11.satan's fall (bbc radio 1 session)

12.curse of the pharaohs (demo)

13.black funeral (demo)

also this album kicks ass I love mercyful fate and king diamond

I also recommend you buy some celtic frost.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on January 20, 2006
An excellent release. Always my favorite Mercyful Fate album, this version is an improvment over the remastered version due to the inclusion of a video of three live tracks. The optional commentary by King Diamond is a nice touch. The sound quality of the video is about what one would expect from a pre-Melissa club setting. Not as good as my "Live from the Depths of Hell" boot, but good enough. They used three cameras, so the footage is quite nice.

I have the remastered version of Melissa as well, but really, to have a video of Doomed by the Living Dead makes it worth twice the price. Of course, this only whets my appetite to have a full DVD release from the Melissa and "Oath" period. How about it guys?
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on September 28, 2005
Here is another re-release for Mercyful Fate's Melissa album. I already owned two different versions when I saw this but I had to get it for the demos and for the Live DVD. You should know this already, but if you don't, this is one of the top five heavy metal albums of all time, in my opinion. The song writing is top notch, combining great melody with brutal riffing. You'll hear influences from NWOBHM, thrash, true-metal and even some blues. The singing of King Diamond, in my opinion, is amazing! Some people can't get past it though, so if you don't like high pitched singing and screaming this might not be for you. But, still give it a listen, the music will win you over.

The two demos on the Melissa album are nice and to my knowledge not available anywhere else. All of the BBC tracks are available on the album Beginning. Now, for the DVD. It is a shame that they couldn't have made it longer. I mean, if you're gonna keep taking our money give us more! Well, they got my money anyways! The sound and camera work isn't very good, but what do you expect, it's 1983. The songs are pretty choice that they used, although I would have loved to see them play Satan's Fall! It also would have been nice if they would have shown more of Hank Sherman's solos! The commentary tracks by King Diamond are pretty neat, as he gives you little details about that time period and the members. It's a little hard to understand him sometimes though. Overall this package is well worth the money. Especially if you don't own this album yet!

When I said that this album is in my top five, I include in that Metallica - Kill 'Em All; Diamond Head - Lightning To The Nations; Witchfinder General - Death Penalty; Black Sabbath - Black Sabbath...so trust me or not.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on December 29, 1999
melissa is by far one the best metal albums of this century.songs like evil,curse of the pharoh.satans fall.these guys here set the stage for following most the metal bands today even you big wigs like metallica have these guys as influences..mercyful fate are one the most darkest,bands of there times.king diamond has the most awesome vocal style of all metal singers and he is a true legend of his time and will always be a legend like ozzy or iron maiden,king is one the main founding fathers of metal....and melissa is a must be have in your metal collection if ya dont have it i recommend you get it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 12, 2004
Merciful Fate had a lot more to do with the sound of american metal bands, particularly Metallica and Slayer, than people realize. If you've never heard this before, give it a listen and then tell me with a straight face that this wasn't the major inspiration behind the first 3 Slayer releases and also a strong influence in early Metallica. Your average Metallica and Slayer fan doesn't even know who these guys were, and that's too bad - there is some very fine heavy riffs here. Sure, Diamond is goofy, and his lyrics are stupid, but that's all part of the fun. As silly as King is, he surely has to have the highest screaming falsetto in all of metal - anything higher pitched would be in the dog whistle range. All in all - fun for those not afraid of goofy satan metal that rocks pretty hard.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on February 3, 2006
"Melissa" the first full length Mercyful Fate album is the best album either King Diamond or Mercyful Fate have released. From beginning to end the album is awesome, every track is a classic. From the killer "Evil" to the catchy "Curse of the Pharaoh's" to the epic "Satan's Fall" and the haunting title track, everything on here is excellent. Listening to this album you can really hear the influence this group had on latter groups (Metallica for example). Mercyful Fate also has the distinction of being one of the first black metal bands (the honor for the first black metal band goes to Venom of course). My personal favorites would include "Into the Coven", "Black Funeral" and the title track, but as I said before every track is utterly fantastic. Both for its historical importance and for its musical excellence this album ranks very highly on the list of mandatory metal albums. Get the album NOW. I recommend that you either pick up the two disc version which includes "The Beginning" or the new deluxe version though. In any case whatever version you get, just get it!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on May 4, 2001
This, along with the seminal Venom and Celtic Frost stuff, is one of the most influencial releases in European metal, and certainly THE best metal album to ever come out of Denmark..
Many people claim that "Melissa" is a Black Metal album, but ofcource that is silly; Mercyful Fate is well rooted within the "Classic Heavy-Rock" sound of, say, Kiss, Rainbow, Deep Purple or Alice Cooper.
The reason that many Black Metal bands claims that "Melissa" was a great influence, has to do with the whole "vibe" of the band, occult, Satanic and totally emerged in darkness as they were; especially because of King Diamond's larger-than-life character..
The production on "Melissa" was aweful, but that just make a sublimely sinister track like the epic "Satan's Fall" even more chilling.... The Re-mastered CD-version has radically improved the soundquality of "Melissa", though...
Maybe "Don't break the Oath" has a couple of Mercyful Fate's best tracks ever and a better production, but "Melissa" still remain my favorite, because of the whole evil underground "feel", that makes it a MUST BUY!!
As far as understanding todays extreme metal scene, "Melissa" is as vital as ANY release...
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