In the Shadows
After an eight-year hiatus, the original members of Mercyful Fate reunited for 1993’s In the Shadows, which revived the rawness and intensity of the band’s early years. With its pulverizing opening riffs, “Egypt” immediately showed that the group had only become heavier in the intervening years. The combination that made Mercyful Fate famous was the band’s ability to navigate the intricate, meandering riffs of “The Bell Witch” and “Legend of the Headless Rider” without losing an ounce of ferocity. And while the album is full of back-to-basics riffs like “Thirteen Invitations,” King Diamond’s lyrical content had matured since the group's early days. While he once wrote simple prayers to Satan, In the Shadows became a showcase for his versatile storytelling. “The Bell Witch,” “The Old Oak,” and “Legend of the Headless Rider” are visions of primordial folklore—a breath of a fresh air for a black metal scene that had become mired in clichés. Lars Ulrich appears as the guest drummer on “Return of the Vampire,” but longtime fans were more excited by “Is That You, Melissa,” which marked the reappearance of the band’s female mascot, who'd not been seen since their 1983 debut.