Mercyful Fate

Mercyful Fate EP

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Although they eventually re-formed in the early '90s and went on to release a number of very decent albums, it was during the first three years of their career, from 1982-1984, that Denmark's seminal Mercyful Fate laid down the songs that would be remembered as their true legend and legacy. In fact, few would contest the fact that the band's first two albums, 1983's Melissa and 1984's Don't Break the Oath, remain mandatory listening for any self-respecting metalhead. Mostly forgotten among such praise, yet almost as important, however, was the band's eponymous 1982 EP -- also referred to as Nuns Have No Fun. A truly fascinating and revealing artifact from the Danish group's formative period, the EP opens in rousing fashion with the phenomenally titled "Doomed by the Living Dead," which bears all of the hallmarks that Mercyful Fate's core creative duo of vocalist King Diamond and guitarist Hank Shermann would soon hone to perfection (minus the hooks to qualify it as an actual classic). The far more striking "A Corpse Without Soul" is up next and not only features the first truly dazzling solo from Michael Schenker disciple Michael Denner, but also finds King Diamond experimenting with a number of vocal styles -- something that would become a trademark of his intensely theatrical solo career. Though it is a typical Fate offering in most every other respect, the amusing "Nuns Have No Fun" is of course notable for its unheard of (and hardly ever again repeated) sense of humor, while the final salvo of "Devil Eyes" delivers yet another engaging chorus while highlighting the underrated drumming of the brilliant Kim Ruzz. Quite the collector's piece in the years immediately following Mercyful Fate's breakup, this EP was thankfully made available to the public at large as part of 1987's The Beginning, which, in turn, was later combined with the landmark Melissa as part of Roadrunner's "Two From the Vault" series.