Released: 2016, Metal Blade Records
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
An open letter to Hank Shermann and Michael Denner:
Dear Hank and Mike,
Can I call you Hank and Mike? I feel like I’ve known you long enough that we can dispense with the formalities? Your music has been a part of my life for over a quarter century, I hope it's okay. The first time I put DON’T BREAK THE OATH on my turntable I was 14 years old, and the opening riff to “A Dangerous Meeting” was honestly one of the scariest things I’d ever heard. Since then, I’ve gone to your shows, bought your albums (Mercyful Fate, Zoser Mez, Fate, Forces of Evil, Denner’s rockabilly band, countless bootlegs, you name it), sported the t-shirts; I’m a loyal soldier to the end. Though I had my reservations with last year’s SATAN’S TOMB EP, I was thrilled to hear you guys rockin’ out together again in a style and format so close to my blackened heart. However, upon purchasing and listening to your latest MASTERS OF EVIL full length, as a loyal soldier I feel compelled to share a list of grievances with said album. Ahem.
1. Could you possibly be any less subtle with that album cover? A hybrid interpretation of MELISSA and DBTO? BELIEVE US, we know, we get it - you guys were the heart and soul of Mercyful Fate. You don’t have to keep selling us on that.
2. Speaking of lack of subtlety, Sean Peck makes Jamey Jasta sound like Luciano Goddamned Pavarotti.
3. Sean Peck sounds like Jim Gillette without the funny hair and a better house band.
4. Sean Peck sounds like Rob Halford after he made out with a carnival grade helium tank, and then went to karaoke to sing King Diamond songs.
5. Is Sean Peck the human equivalent to the movie Speed? Like, if his vocals fall below a certain octave register, does a bus full of tourists blow up? That’s the only reason I can think that he’d intentionally ruin the acoustic passage at the end of “Baroness”.
6. Sean Peck has more backing vocal tracks on this album than Axl Rose has costume changes.
7. On “Servants of Dagon”, Sean Peck sounds like he’s saying “Sergeant Stadanko” from the old Cheech and Chong skit. I know that’s not intentional, but he should enunciate better – it’s distracting.
8. The lyrics across MASTERS OF EVIL read like they were written by a 12 year old who just discovered Mercyful Fate and is starting his first band. You’ve got the collective resources to hire a ghost writer, you deserve better than this.
a. “Escape From Hell” is literally about an automobile race with Satan to break out of Hell. Seriously?
b. A grown adult wrote this: “All of my sins sent from the past/they fuel my fury like a tank of gas”
9. Those guitars? Those riffs? SOOOOOO good. You haven’t sounded this inspired since the MF reunion years. That goes for Snowy Shaw too.
10. I would gladly pay hard earned American currency for an instrumental version of MASTERS OF EVIL. Should I call you guys directly? Slagel?
In closing, I would like to again assert my unflinching support of your continuing musical output, despite the aforementioned grievances with MASTERS OF EVIL. I’m hopeful that you’ll hit a festival appearance on these shores sometime soon, because it’s been 20 years since I heard you both twin guitar the intro to “Melissa” together, and I need this in my life.
666 Hugs & Kisses.