- Released: September 23, 2003
- Label: Roadrunner Records
- 1.Doomed by the Living Dead
- 2.A Corpse Without Soul
- 3.Nuns Have No Fun
- 5.Curse of the Pharaohs
- 6.Into the Coven
- 7.Black Funeral
- 8.Satan's Fall
- 9.A Dangerous Meeting
- 10.Desecration of Souls
- 12.Come to the Sabbath
- 13.Burning the Cross
- 14.Return of the Vampire
Mercyful Fate: King Diamond (vocals); Hank Sherman, Michael Denner, Benny Peterson (guitar); Timi "Grabber" Hansen (bass); Kim Ruzz (drums).
Producers: Jac Hustinx, Henrik Lund, Mercyful Fate.
Compilation producers: Tom Burleigh, Monte Conner.
Recorded between 1982 & 1992. Includes liner notes by Mark Hunter.
Personnel: King Diamond (vocals); Benny Petersen, Hank Shermann, Michael Denner (guitar); Kim Ruzz (drums).
Liner Note Authors: Mark Hunter; King Diamond.
Recording information: 1981-1984.
Photographers: Thomas Grondahl; Ol? Bang.
The birth of thrash metal can be pinpointed to three specific bands -- Mot?rhead, Venom, and Mercyful Fate -- with the latter two outfits single-handedly creating the darker "black metal" genre. Fronted by vocal acrobat King Diamond (a chap who had a soft spot for Alice Cooper, as evidenced by his use of makeup and on-stage theatrics), the Danish group combined the speed of Judas Priest with the doom of Black Sabbath, and helped influence a legion of subsequent metal bands -- everyone from Metallica to Dimmu Borgir. Due to their importance and influence, the group made a logical choice for a "best-of treatment" when Roadrunner Records began assembling such sets for their catalog artists of yesteryear. The 14-track collection focuses on the group's early releases, 1983's Melissa, 1984's Don't Break the Oath, and 1987's The Beginning, the latter just so happens to have been recorded during their "classic" period. Highlights include all five songs that Metallica later covered as part of their "Mercyful Fate" medley on 1998's Garage, Inc. ("Satan's Fall," "Curse of the Pharaohs," "A Corpse Without Soul," "Into the Coven," and "Evil"), as well as such other highlights as "Return of the Vampire," "Doomed by the Living Dead," and "Black Funeral," among others. If you're a fan of dark metal and are unfamiliar with Mercyful Fate, it's time to check out the genre's godfathers, and this Best of is a fine place to start. ~ Greg Prato