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Review of the Album "Don’t Break the Oath" by Danish Metal Band Mercyful Fate - One of the Best Albums of All Time

Ara is a journalism graduate from California State University, Northridge, who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.

There Are No Bad Songs On the Album "Don't Break the Oath"

In the history of heavy metal, there are certain albums that stand out as some the greatest albums of all time even as those albums enter their 3rd decade of existence. One such example of an album like this is the one called Don’t Break the Oath released in 1984 by Danish heavy metal band Mercyful Fate. The music on this album could be described as melodic heavy metal with black metal influences. Mercyful Fate has not been active since 2009 but this is the album that I got a chance to listen to first and I was VERY impressed! So why is this album one of the greatest heavy metal albums of all time especially in 2020?

The Back of the Cover for the Album Don't Break The Oath


Why Is Don't Break The Oath One of the Best Heavy Metal Albums?

1. The vocals of King Diamond (also known as Kim Bendix Petersen)
2. The guitar riffs and interludes
3. The diversity of musical influences
4. The fact that these guys did not try to sound too-one dimensional

Don't Break The Oath Songs 1-4 Including the Song Nightmare

From the first song, I can hear riffing that is similar to German hard rock band Scorpions. Throughout the song, the riffing style sounds like early Judas Priest (think about the years 1976 through 1982). However, the most notable moment for me on this album is the classic song Nightmare. The bass guitar which is one of the catchiest parts in the history of heavy metal sets the tone for what is one of the best songs not just of 1984, but in the history of heavy metal. Then one minute and twenty seconds in there is a pounding, aggressive riff that you can kind of dance to and jump up and down like a teenager. The song called Night of the Unborn starts with some blues soloing before speeding up into some similar riffing we heard in the second song. This song is an example of musical varied musical influences.

Looking at the bigger picture though, Mercyful Fate may be Denmark’s most well-known heavy metal band and they are the ones that sort of popularized the kinds of lyrics you see in this album. The first song also has some bell-like sounds as it slows down and gets back to mid-tempo riffing.

Why This Album Is So Memorable

Imagine sitting in the office of your boss at your workplace and he begins a casual chat with you about some of the most notable Danish musicians especially Lars Ulrich. That’s the conversation that this writer had with his boss at his last corporate job with his Danish born boss one afternoon. Then I could remember the brilliance of King Diamond and Mercyful Fate even more.

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"Desecration of Souls"

Don't Break The Oath Songs 5-9 and Conclusion

"The Oath" which is the 5th song in the album starts with a very ominous keyboard orchestration kind of sound followed by sounds of thunder, something that British black metal band Cradle of Filth would explore with years later. The next song "Gypsy" is one of the other best songs in this album not only for King Diamond’s vocals but the lyrical content is a little bit better. The song is about someone that discovers a bright light during a winter night. He sees the gypsy wagons that are left stranded in the snow. He knows that he must see this gypsy woman who knows the secrets of time. He hopes that the gypsy can gaze into her crystal and tell him all that she sees. The song "To One Far Away" is a short, mostly instrumental song that features Iron Maiden style guitar along with the good chants of King Diamond. The last song "Come to the Sabbath" is no less impressive than the songs before it and provides one of the most solid finishes to one of the best albums in heavy metal history!


© 2017 Ara Vahanian

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