by Penelope Tritou & Gio Tsekas
“Mercyful Fate” is the first official release by Danish heavy metal legendary band Mercyful Fate. This would have been a main and the only needed reason for this to be one of the most important EP ever been released. Yet its four songs are excellent. From the very first moment of the opening iconic “A Corpse Without A Soul”, that lets praise Lucifer for Metallica that learned it to the masses in 1998, you get a wicked intro -that later will hear in “Captor of Sin” from Slayer- and a parade of riffs, rhythm changes, marvelous structure, harmonies and an unholy attack from King’s throat. Here you can hear a raw and unpolished King Diamond, uncontrolled, shocking when singing high pitched and screaming like there’s no tomorrow, while totally furious. It was the first time that we could hear his vocals range or a small example of it. A classic song that defined Mercyful Fate and their subsequent course. The A’ side closes with the Judas Priest like “Nuns Have No Fun” A piece that inspired the iconic artwork cover (which is drawn by Ole Poulsen). Despite the extreme lyrics for its time, the song is a typical Heavy Metal song, using chord-based riff, of the late70’s-early 80’s with groovy and addictive tempo in the veins of Judas Priest’s “Living After Midnight”. The lyrics on the other hand are rather scandalous and nowadays would political correctness speaking even offensive…hahahaha you fuckin’ millenials… B’ side opens with a killer one. Memorable chorus, great (and dirty) riffs and with indomitable leads until you please for mercy Denner, Shermann to stop, “Doomed By The Living Dead” is another Priest inspired instant classic featured in this debut EP. The closing is even better. What a brilliant straight-forward composition “Devil Eyes” is, isn’t it? Solos, riffs and melodies are perfectly combined with each other and the flawless drumming that sounds so analog and vintage 40 years after its original recording but at the same time so timelessly perfect.
Songs like these 4 is why “Mercyful Fate” EP is a milestone of our music not only of the band, because it’s ahead of its time musically speaking; the guitar tone, the vocal lines with the characteristic falsetto, the guitar leads and the blending of styles as also in terms of image, hype, lyrics, performance and attitude. And it’s not only Black Metal as a sub-genre that found in Mercyful Fate’s lyrics, artwork cover/aesthetic or King Diamond’s face paint, something to be inspired by. It’s also European power metal that Mercyful Fate heavily influenced with the glory of the leads, the high-pitched with extremely high notes screams and the backing vocals. The “Mercyful Fate” EP is also known as “Nuns Have No Fun”, the “first album” or the “EP”. The four track, 45rpm effort was recorded and mixed at Stone Studio in Roosendaal, Netherlands, in 3 days in September 1982, and released on the independent label Rave-On Records as RMLP-002. The album was produced and mixed by Jac Hustinx (the owner of Rave On Records) and engineered by Willem Steetjes. The album in its entirety was later re-issued in 1987 as part of “The Beginning” compilation. There are three pressings: First pressing is white bordered (this certain edition of about 1000 had the white frame and is pretty rare to get hands on today), second pressing is black bordered and the third pressing is black bordered but distributed by Bertus Holland.