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Baker's Dozen

Getting To The Point: Anthony Fantano's Favourite Albums
Max Pilley , January 13th, 2021 09:49

With over two million subscribers to his YouTube channel, Anthony Fantano has caused a revolution in music journalism. In this week's Baker's Dozen he talks Max Pilley through 13 favourite albums, from ODB to MIA, Laurie Anderson and LCD


Mercyful Fate – Don't Break The Oath
This is a band I had run across when I was doing a lot of research into black metal and looking at artists that were influential on the form. It's a really interesting heavy metal album that is far more dark and atmospheric and occult than anything else that had come out around that time, in my opinion. You have your Alice Coopers and everything, which are very theatrical and campy and respectable in their own right for flirting with those aesthetics, but I think Mercyful Fate brings it to a darker and weirder place, especially with the vocals. It's not just a testament to really good heavy metal songwriting, this record has that wailing siren – [emits piercingly high note] – you honestly cannot fully understand it until you've heard it, because it is unlike any heavy metal vocal around that time. It's cool if you've listened to Halford and you're a Maiden fan, but this vocal style is very much different to anything that would be on a mainstream, quote unquote classic heavy metal album. It just sounds very ghoulish.

The devilish figure pointing at you from the flames on the cover is an evocative message, especially in the thick of the time when metal music was considered to be a danger to the youth. To be putting out such a blatant occultish, satanic visual was certainly edgy of them at the time. I love the atmosphere and the odd but beautiful qualities that the record showcases on the vocal side and how melodic and hard rocking it is at the same time. It's also reminiscent of an era of metal where songwriting was pretty key and a lot of the songs are good quality songs – I do love the extremity of a lot of modern metal but sometimes I do think songwriting does get put to the wayside.