One of the Best Metal Albums Ever
Andrew DiGelsomina | Burlington, Vermont | 08/14/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is not "just" a jaw-droppingly excellent album songwriting and production-wise, but is a continually intriguing listen for musicians as well. In fact, this album could be favorably compared to such classics as Sabbath Bloody Sabbath and Sad Wings of Destiny in terms of musicianship and music composition.
There are several tricks and twists involving time signatures and anti-sonata form that rank this with the most imaginative Rock/Metal albums in history. The verse-chorus-verse-break-chorus/ I-V cliches of most metal are almost entirely abandoned on this cd. Instead what we get is involved and involving song structures, the antithesis of the sleep-inducing non-excitement of bands like Dream Theater and Avantasia (or, those "progressive" bands that try to hard to be "difficult").
King Diamond's vocals are definitely an acquired taste, and his lyrics can be comic-booky at times. But there's no denying the Drama of this release. We're talking Drama of Wagnerian proportions (even if the music of Don't break the Oath isn't 'exactly' Richard Wagner, laughing).
The guitar playing is shared by two, but it's the inspiringly lyrical contributions of Michael Denner in particular that make this mandatory for any guitar lover. There's alot of Michael Schenker in his playing, but that isn't exactly a bad thing, considering that Schenker might be , from a purely phrasing perspective, the most overall advanced guitar player in Metal history.
Mercyful Fate's first album, Melissa, isn't much below this one in quality either, so be sure to grab that one too."