Full-on classic Mercyful Fate. Ultimate metal screamer King Diamond and crew may be getting older, but like all true metal bands, they’re keeping a steady course.
And keeping with Mercyful Fate tradition, 9 is unbridled Satanism put to music. Some of it is “third person,” which means, mom and dad, that it’s simply story-telling (“Church of Saint Anne,” “Sold My Soul,” “House on the Hill”). The remainder of the album is pretty much frontman King Diamond’s personal manifest of a “love” for the Devil. A bitter song about dying, “Last Rites,” a “hell” of a mosh-along, is perhaps more of a praise of atheism: “…I don’t believe in heaven, I don’t believe in Hell/ So save your god for someone else/ Or save him for yourself…” “Burn In Hell,” another ass-kicker, mocks those who will burn with “….Jesus and Satan, hand in hand/Leading you down the stairway to the damned/No more pearly gates for you/Eternal flames wound’ring who is who…Ahhh.” I’m reminded of the Jack Chick tract “The Contract,” as this song seems to rip apart the idea that God will weigh a person’s deeds, regardless of faith, upon death. Brrr!
Oh, no, Tipper Gore is entering my body! [In shrill voice] Parents! Look out for songs like “The Grave” and “Kiss the Demon.” They offer instructions for new ‘initiates.’ [Bob Larson, traveling in his astral body attacks Tipper.] “C’mon, Tipper, baby, let’s you-and-me -and Al- get together at my palatial mansion in Denver and write another book!”
Whew! They’re gone, but I’m going to be careful about playing any Mercyful Fate from now on!
Metal Blade Records, 2828 Cochran St, Ste 302, Simi Valley, CA 93065-2793, www.metalblade.com.