Like its predecessor (the comeback disc In the Shadows), Time has a mostly original Mercyful Fate lineup delivering strong material that might not exactly stand up to the group's best early-'80s work, but still packs a nasty horror-metal punch. As always, the distinctive frontman King Diamond leads the way on Time with his epic (if a little silly) lyrics and bizarre vocal range that defined the group's sound. Often overshadowed by Diamond's theatrics, the other bandmembers (guitarist Hank Sherman, bassist Sharlee D'Angelo, and relative newcomer Snowy Shaw on drums) do their usual fine job cranking out retro and near thrash metal riffs with biting precision. The sprawling "Lady in Black" is a clear standout, with its superior guitar grooves and relatively melodic and intelligible vocals. Other choice cuts include the crushing opener, "Nightmare Be Thy Name," and the title track, "Time. If there was any concern that In the Shadows was going to be a one-off treat exclusively designed for nostalgic old-timers, Time proved that Mercyful Fate was back and ready to build upon its massive '80s underground metal reputation. ~ Vincent Jeffries
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