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Review: Mercyful Fate - In the Shadows
Mercyful Fate
In the Shadows

Label: Metal Blade Records
Year released: 1997
Originally released in: 1993
Duration: 53:34
Tracks: 10
Genre: Heavy Metal

Rating: 4.75/5

Review online: June 5, 2009
Reviewed by: Hermer Arroyo
Readers Rating
In the Shadows

Rated 4.4/5 (87.91%) (43 Votes)

This was Mercyful Fate's first reunion album Mercyful Fate - by that time King Diamond was in the midst a very successful solo career. So after 10 years one of the first Black Metal bands reunites to record this album: In the Shadows. But first one thing must be said: This does not sound like old Mercyful Fate at all, so if you are expecting this to have a super evil sound with satanic lyrics you'll be severely disappointed. Instead this has a lot in common with King Diamond's solo material except that this is not a full-blown concept album.

But enough comparisons as I want to tell all of good things that this record has. First let me start with King Diamond's voice: it is a lot more controlled than on any of his solo albums. Seriously, he doesn't restrict himself to sing falsettos all the time. He sings with a lot of control and variety, making the songs a whole lot better. For that reason I think that he sounds better here than on any of his solo work. Next the guitarists Hank Shermann and Michael Denner, what can you say about them that hasn't already been said? Like on the old records, these guys take over completely, their riffs and leads are biting and breathtaking, rivaling anything they have done before or after. The rhythm section made of Timi Hansen and Morten Nielsen (Kim Ruzz was absent) is solid but unspectacular as their main job is not to distract, and that is fine by me.

The songs here are first rate; most of them grab your attention in one way or another. But what separates this record from the rest for me is the amount of hooks found here. Whether it is a riff, a chorus or a drum pattern, by the end of the album you'll remember something from it. The album also features awesome production; you can listen to every single note and vocal line the way that the band intended and yet, it doesn't sound overly polished.

If there is anything wrong with the album, it is that "Legend of the Horse Rider" just drags on and on. It could have been better if it was a minute shorter and "Is that you, Melissa" sounds like a reprise of the 1983 classic instead of an original song. Also the appearance of Lars Ulrich on the remake "Return of the Vampire" doesn't add much. Granted, he wasn't the best drummer around but I had expected a little bit more from him. Still there isn't much wrong here, In the Shadows is a highly enjoyable album and while it may not be an essential classic, it is damned close.

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