Artist: Mercyful Fate

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Jess and the Ancient Ones - s/tJess and the Ancient Ones
Svart Records


This is quite the surprise release by this relatively new Finnish seven piece. There's an immediate atmosphere here that's both unique and captivating -- a retro heavy rock psychedelia that doesn't sound quite like anyone else. That said, the Finns obviously pull their musical inspiration from the likes of Iron Maiden, Thin Lizzy and Mercyful Fate as is evident on numerous occasions throughout the album. There's also a slight hint of early Metallica found here and there, although it must be stressed that this isn't a metal album by any stretch. Frontwoman Jess has a great sounding voice, although it seems to lack power in some areas, most likely a result of the vocals being slightly dimmed in the mix. There's a touch of a feminine Patrick Dubar in her voice who, for those of you who don't know, was the extremely underrated vocalist of '90s hard rock band Mindfunk. For the most part this album is upbeat, driving stuff, with incredible musicianship on display -- from the Maiden/Lizzy pummel of "Ghost riders" to the "People are strange" vibe of "Devil (in g minor)" and the subdued Opeth-prog of closer "Come crimson death" -- and almost perfect pacing throughout. It's an exciting body of work with a powerful production that hints at bigger and better to come from these occultists.
- John Norby

Transubstans to release Noctum CD

will be catering to the vinyl-impaired by compiling Swedish metal act Noctum's two records, "The seance" and "The fiddler" -- both previously released on wax via , onto one CD for release on December 14. If you dig occult metal with a retro vibe ala Mercyful Fate or Witchcraft, you should definitely check these dudes out.

In Solitude to Metal Blade

Lambgoat reports that has signed Swedish metal act In Solitude:
The band recorded their new album at Nicke Andersson (Hellacopters, Death Breath, Imperial State Electric, etc.) at his new Gutterview Studios in Stockholm with Fred Estby (Dismember, Necronaut) producing. Expect a spring 2011 release. And as for those UFO comparisons, I dunno... as far as I'm concerned, the band's 2008 self-titled debut sounds way more like Mercyful Fate/King Diamond worship to me. Not that that's a bad thing.

MP3: Ghost - Ritual

Behold! The latest underground metal hype! Shame that the vocals are so feeble because the music is pure Mercyful Fate-worship awesomeness. And I'm sorry, but the Satanic Grimace-priest outfit pales in comparison to the horror conjured by The Curator. I mean, they're still a decent band and I really do love the tracks that feature prominent organ playing, but that singer is pathetic. No balls whatsoever. At least they smarty eschew all band member names and faces so they could quietly replace him very, very easily.

Ghost - Ritual

Sirius playlist week #41

Here's the playlist for this week's radio show Sirius XMU:

01. The Scrags - In the devil's hands
02. TALK 1
03. Boeoes Kaelstigen - Desolate view
04. Johnossi - Roscoe
05. Kimono - Tomorrow
06. TALK 2
07. Fun - Here comes the ugly man
08. Kite - Hexx
09. Mother of the Forest - Bränna broar
10. Mother of the Forest - Vid berget
11. TALK 3
12. Non Tiq - QUiet
13. Dead Letters Spell Out Dead Words - I could have sworn I heard them SING
14. Enslaved - Raidho
15. TALK 4
16. Säkert! - Riot
17. Kristofer Åström - Devil
18. Sweatmaster - Calling Satan, let me in
19. Mercyful Fate - Black funeral
20. TALK 5
21. Lighthouse Project - Lust for lie

Reminder: my show airs every week on Sundays and Mondays at 11pm ET on Sirius XMU. That's channel 26 on Sirius, 43 on XM and 831 for DirecTV subscribers.

Ghost signs with Rise Above, will also release 7" with Iron Pegasus

Swedish retro metal act Ghost has officially signed with UK label for the release of their debut album this coming fall. The band has also contracted with out of Germany for a 7" single featuring the track "Elizabeth" which sounds a lot like Mercyful Fate, as you can hear at myspace:

MP3: Notre Dame - I bring Nosferatu you

Where I grew up, we knew the night before Halloween as "Mischief Night". I've heard it called all sorts of other things, but y'know what? It's all a pack of lies. And if there's something musical befitting Mischief Night, it's the b-movie horror-inspired sounds of Notre Dame, the more-or-less solo act of oversized metal personality Snowy Shaw (ex-Mercyful Fate, King Diamond, Dream Evil, etc.). As his resumé would suggest, Notre Dame plays heavy metal mixed with a touch of blackness and a hefty dose of camp, but on this particular track, it's pretty much all camp. How could you not love a song with such a punny title? It won't be the scariest thing you'll hear this year (for that, I recommend Australia's Portal, whose new album "Swarth" is truly disturbing), but it should hopefully help you get in the proper holiday mood.

Notre Dame - I bring Nosferatu you

Sirius playlist week #43

Here's the playlist for this week's radio show Sirius XMU, a special pre-Halloween edition:

01. TALK 1
02. Switchblade - 1815
03. TALK 2
04. Abandon - In reality suffer
05. Raison d'Etre - Metamorphyses phase III
06. TALK 3
07. Notre Dame - Le theatre du vampire
08. Mercyful Fate - Desecration of souls
09. Cortex - Warrior night
10. TALK 4
11. Immortal - All shall fail

Reminder: my show airs every week on Sundays and Mondays at 11pm ET on Sirius XMU. That's channel 26 on Sirius, 43 on XM and 831 for DirecTV subscribers.

MP3: Black Rose - The end

Halloween isn't Halloween without a little King Diamond, so today I've got a track for you from Black Rose, King's band pre-Mercyful Fate. The group formed in 1979 and put out a few records, but the stuff I like best are the rehearsal tapes that were reissued in 2001. The band always had a killer hard-rock sound, but on this stuff the organ is way louder, giving them an even stronger Deep Purple/Iron Butterfly vibe. And for those who are convinced that King's, uh, "distinctive" vocals are not to their taste, you may be surprised here because he doesn't really do any of the falsetto wailing he's known for. Lyrically, it's still pure comic book horror, so naturally that's why I'm offering it to you on this fine Hallow's Eve, but it's not prototypical scary metal. And dig that extended jam that makes up the bulk of the track! Maybe not quite as awesome as some of Fate's best work, but still damn cool, especially that organ solo. Crank it up and have a happy Halloween!

Black Rose - The end

Here's the playlist for this week's special spooky/scary Halloween edition radio show:

01. TALK 1
02. Entombed - Hollywood Babylon
03. ARM - Humming bug
04. Camouflage - Oktober
05. TALK 2
06. Notre Dame - Red Cross
07. Sanctum - Lie low
08. Bay Laurel - Pale colours
09. TALK 3
10. At the Gates - Blinded by fear
11. Frode Haltli - Lude
12. Brighter Death Now - Little baby
13. Death Breath - Lycanthropy
14. TALK 4
15. Breach - Mr. Marshall
16. The Skull Defekts - Carved in bones
17. The Cardigans - Mr. Crowley
18. TALK 5
19. Diabolique - Catholic
20. Dead Letters Spell Out Dead Words - Masks, walls and other ways to keep things out, to keep things in
21. The Bear Quartet - Broken heart
22. Mercyful Fate - Come to the Sabbath
23. TALK 6
24. Beyond Dawn - Cigarette
25. Pimentola - Heart's dementia (Phase I)
26. Repoman - Chemically obsessed
27. TALK 7
28. MZ412 - Infernal affairs II
29. Satyricon - Nemesis divina
30. Switchblade - Selfdestruct schematics / Open aftermath
31. TALK 8
32. Rasion D'etre - Metamorphyses Phase IV
33. Cortex - We are the dead
34. TALK 9
35. Emperor - I am the Black Wizards

MP3: Mercyful Fate - Black funeral

Halloween, the season of the witch - a perfect time for creepy music, a perfect time for some classic Mercyful Fate. Frontman King Diamond may live in Texas nowadays (and has for years now), but he started out in Denmark, so this damn well qualifies as perfect Friday posting material. I'm too young to know what it must've been like to hear something like "Melissa" when it was first released in 1983, but it certainly made an impression on my fragile little mind when I did finally get around to hearing it as a teenager. No one else has a voice like that and the twin guitars of Michael Denner and Hank Shermann are unfuckwithable. I won't kid you - Fate's occult-obsessed lyrics are way more comic book scary than real-life scary, but I still get a visceral thrill hearing King shriek "Yes, hail Satan!" Furthermore, and I can't believe I haven't told this story here before, Mercyful Fate changed my life. Really! I went through a few different musical phases throughout my gradeschool career, dabbling here and there before eventually immersing myself in punk. I blindly accepted the idea that guitar solos are pure wankery and renounced the music of my youth. And then, sometime around my junior year of high school, I got the funny idea of seeing the recently reunited Mercyful Fate on the "Time" tour. I figured, what the hell - it'll be good for a laugh seeing the diminuative King Diamond prance around on stage in his makeup with his mic stand of bones. But you know what? They kicked ass. I wasn't laughing, I was reborn. So thank you Mercyful Fate, for setting me straight, back on the path of righteousness.

Mercyful Fate - Black funeral

My special guest on my radio show this week was Ola Frick of the Moonbabies. Here's what we played:

01. Johndoe - Kjøtere
02. TALK 1
03. Mixtapes & Cellmates - The better half of cynical boys
04. The End Will Be Kicks - Ass of a friend
05. Breach - Lost crew
06. TALK 2
07. Silverbullit - Only gold
08. Lack - Primo Levi
09. Samuraj Cities - All along the shoreline
10. Rockettothesky - Barrie for Billy MacKenzie
11. TALK 3
12. Fireside - Let Rasputin do it
13. Heroes & Zeros - Into the light
14. Moonbabies - War on sound
15. TALK 4
16. Moonbabies - Cocobelle
17. TALK 5
18. Moonbabies - Take me to the ballroom (comp version)
19. Björn Kleinhenz - Pocket of gold
20. TALK 6
21. Loney, Dear - Saturday waits
22. Revolvo - Marmelade
23. TALK 7
24. Emerald Park - Open up
25. KVLR - Capitol city child
26. TALK 8
27. David & the Citizens - Are you in my blood?
28. TALK 9
29. David Åhlén - Wasted breaths
30. Maia Hirasawa - Still June
31. TALK 10
32. Moonbabies - Sun A.M. (outtake version)
33. TALK 11
34. Moonbabies - Don't ya know?

Not only did Ola reveal that he used to be a member of the Mercyful Fate fanclub, but it also looks like he'll be recording the next David & the Citizens record. Excellent!

Friday's Sirius Blog Radio playlist:

01. The Alpine - Mondays look the same
02. TALK 1
03. Gravy - Back with the nerds
04. Giant Robot - Best match
05. Jomi Massage - A detail
06. TALK 2
07. Broder Daniel - Shoreline
08. The Grand Opening - Don't drop off
09. Moonbabies - Take me to the ballroom
10. Britta Persson - Oh how wrong
11. TALK 3
12. Lemonator - Would you die for me?
13. Trapdoor Fucking Exit - Short ends
14. Billie the Vision and the Dancers - Overdosing with you
15. TALK 4
16. Folie - Rocin
17. Robyn - Handle me
18. Laakso - Norrköping
19. TALK 5
20. Magnet - I walk the line
21. Isolation Years - Albino child
22. KVLR - Construction work
23. TALK 6
24. Anna Leong - 61
25. Tigerbombs - One giant leap
26. Motorpsycho - Hyena
27. TALK 7
28. Oskar Schönning - Other birds
29. Pan Sonic - Rähinä II / Mayhem II
30. Mercyful Fate - Evil
31. TALK 8
32. Ricochets - Come around over
33. Ghost Brigade - Based on you
34. Smalltown - The music
35. Popface - In the night
36. TALK 9
37. Circle Six - 1

PopMatters takes a closer look at Danish metal legends Mercyful Fate, highlighting their first two albums "Melissa" and "Don't break the oath":

Snowy Shaw (ex-Notre Dame, Mercyful Fate, etc.) is the new singer of Therion (alongside Mats Leven and two female singers)! The long-running Swedish doom act will release their new album "Gothic Kabbalah" in January.