The Bell Witch - EP
Written during Mercyful Fate’s first reunion in 1993, “The Bell Witch” is easily one of the band’s best and most unique songs. Based on the story of a violent poltergeist that haunted a Tennessee family in the 1800s, the song’s darting rhythms suggest the movements of a banshee swirling through a household. It’s a tour de force performance by singer King Diamond, who utilizes his complete arsenal of vocal tactics, from whisper to growl to high-pitched squeal. It’s both wild and wildly entertaining. That song’s female protagonist is well paired to “Is That You, Melissa,” which stars the fictional heroine who provided the basis for Mercyful Fate’s first album. If those two songs showed that the reformed Mercyful Fate were as imaginative as ever, the live tracks included on this EP served to reinforce their prowess as performers. Recorded live at the Palace in Los Angeles on Oct. 8, 1993, “Egypt” and “Come to the Sabbath” practically jump out of their skins with furious elation. Extra credit must be awarded to drummer Snowy Shaw, whose flurrying fills lend a dexterity to tunes that could easily have become lead-footed.