Mercyful Fate

Last updated

Mercyful Fate
King Diamond live 2006.jpg
King Diamond performing live with Mercyful Fate in Milan in 2006
Background information
Origin Copenhagen, Denmark
Years active
  • 1981–1985
  • 1992–1999
  • 2008–2009
  • 2011
Associated acts
Past members

Mercyful Fate is a Danish heavy metal band from Copenhagen, formed in 1981 by vocalist King Diamond and guitarist Hank Shermann. [4] [5] Influenced by progressive rock [6] and hard rock, [7] with lyrics dealing with Satan and the occult, [1] [8] Mercyful Fate were part of the first wave of black metal in the early to mid-1980s. [9] Many of the bands from this movement went on to influence later black metal musicians in the 1990s, particularly in Norway. [7] [9] Since the band's inception in 1981, Mercyful Fate have released seven studio albums, two extended plays and four compilations.

Heavy metal is a genre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the United Kingdom. With roots in blues rock, psychedelic rock, and acid rock, the bands that created heavy metal developed a thick, massive sound, characterized by highly amplified distortion, extended guitar solos, emphatic beats, and overall loudness. The genre's lyrics and performance styles are sometimes associated with aggression and machismo.

Copenhagen Capital of Denmark

Copenhagen is the capital and most populous city of Denmark. As of July 2018, the city has a population of 777,218. It forms the core of the wider urban area of Copenhagen and the Copenhagen metropolitan area. Copenhagen is situated on the eastern coast of the island of Zealand; another small portion of the city is located on Amager, and is separated from Malmö, Sweden, by the strait of Øresund. The Øresund Bridge connects the two cities by rail and road.

King Diamond Danish heavy metal musician

Kim Bendix Petersen, better known by his stage name King Diamond, is a Danish musician. As a vocalist, he is known for his extensive vocal range, in particular his usage of falsetto. He is the lead vocalist for both Mercyful Fate and the eponymous King Diamond.


After several line-up changes and self-made demos, Mercyful Fate released their self-titled EP in 1982, with the line-up of King Diamond (vocals), Hank Shermann (lead and rhythm guitars), Michael Denner (rhythm and lead guitars), Timi Hansen (bass) and Kim Ruzz (drums). With this line-up the group recorded their first two studio albums (1983's Melissa and 1984's Don't Break the Oath ), until 1985 when the band broke up due to musical differences. In 1993, four out of the five members of Mercyful Fate reunited to record the album In the Shadows , which was released the same year. During the 1990s, the band released four more studio albums and went through several line-up changes. Since 1999, Mercyful Fate have been on hiatus, but have reunited on occasion during the 2000s.

<i>Mercyful Fate</i> (EP) 1982 EP by Mercyful Fate

Mercyful Fate is the first official release of Danish heavy metal band Mercyful Fate. It is also known as Nuns Have No Fun, the "first album" or the "EP". It is a four track, 45rpm effort and was recorded and mixed at Stone Studio in Roosendaal, Netherlands, in two days in September 1982 and released on the independent label Rave-On Records as RMLP-002. The album was produced and mixed by Jac Hustinx and engineered by Willem Steetjes. The cover is drawn by Ole Poulsen. The album in its entirety was later re-issued in 1987 as part of The Beginning compilation.

Hank Shermann Danish musician

Hank Shermann is a Danish heavy metal guitarist. He began playing guitar in 1977.

Michael Denner is a Danish heavy-metal guitarist. He is part of the heavy metal duo Denner/Shermann with Hank Shermann.


Formation and first releases (1981–1985)

Mercyful Fate was originally formed in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1981, following the dissolution of the band Brats. [5] Brats had been a punk/metal band, featuring future Mercyful Fate members, vocalist King Diamond, and guitarists Hank Shermann and Michael Denner. [4] After two studio albums and several line-up changes (including the addition of Diamond and the departure of Denner), Diamond and Shermann began writing new material that was much heavier than any of Brats' previous work. [4] The band's record label CBS was not pleased with the material, and demanded they stop singing in English and become more commercial. [4] As a result, Diamond and Shermann quit the group and went on to form Mercyful Fate. [4] Former Rock Nalle bassist Ole Beich (later of L.A. Guns and Guns N' Roses) briefly joined the band around this time. [10] After several line-up changes and semi-professional demo tapes, Mercyful Fate released their self-titled EP in 1982. [7] [11] This line-up, consisting of King Diamond, Hank Shermann, bassist Timi Hansen, drummer Kim Ruzz and guitarist Michael Denner, [12] would go on to record the group's first two studio albums.

Denmark constitutional monarchy in Europe

Denmark, officially the Kingdom of Denmark, is a Nordic country and the southernmost of the Scandinavian nations. Denmark lies southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and is bordered to the south by Germany. The Kingdom of Denmark also comprises two autonomous constituent countries in the North Atlantic Ocean: the Faroe Islands and Greenland. Denmark proper consists of a peninsula, Jutland, and an archipelago of 443 named islands, with the largest being Zealand, Funen and the North Jutlandic Island. The islands are characterised by flat, arable land and sandy coasts, low elevation and a temperate climate. Denmark has a total area of 42,924 km2 (16,573 sq mi), land area of 42,394 km2 (16,368 sq mi), and the total area including Greenland and the Faroe Islands is 2,210,579 km2 (853,509 sq mi), and a population of 5.8 million.

Brats were a Danish (Copenhagen) band formed in 1977 as a punk rock band. Original line-up featured Hank Shermann on guitar, vocalist Franz De Zaster, drummer Eddie Haircut and bassist Mickey Rat. After recording songs for Danish Pære Punk compilation, the band split up in 1979, not much later reforming as a heavy metal band with new members. Hank Shermann was the only original member left, and he recruited bass guitarist and vocalist Yenz Leonhardt, drummer Lars Monroe and later second guitarist Michael Denner. This line-up signed a contract with CBS.

CBS is an American English language commercial broadcast television and radio network that is a flagship property of CBS Corporation. The company is headquartered at the CBS Building in New York City with major production facilities and operations in New York City and Los Angeles.

In July, 1983, Mercyful Fate recorded their debut album at Easy Sound Recording, in Copenhagen, Denmark. [13] Entitled Melissa , the album was produced by Henrik Lund and released on October 30, 1983 on Roadrunner Records. [13] After a number of concerts around Denmark, Mercyful Fate entered the studio in May 1984 to record their second studio album Don't Break the Oath , which was released on September 7, 1984. [14] During the album's supporting tour, the band played the US for two months and made festival appearances in Germany. [15] Despite winning a cult following around the world, Mercyful Fate broke up in April, 1985, due to musical differences. [5] [15] [16] Guitarist Hank Shermann wanted the band to move to a more commercial sound; [5] King Diamond refused and announced his departure from Mercyful Fate, which led to the band breaking-up. [15]

<i>Melissa</i> (Mercyful Fate album) 1983 studio album by Mercyful Fate

Melissa is the debut studio album by Danish heavy metal band Mercyful Fate, released on 30 October 1983. It was the first album released by Roadrunner Records. This was also the first Mercyful Fate effort to get an official release in the United States through Megaforce Records, as the self-titled EP was a highly sought after import, and the BBC sessions were only available on bootleg tapes.

Roadrunner Records is an American record label that concentrates primarily on heavy metal and hard rock bands. It is a division of Warner Music Group and is based in New York City.

<i>Dont Break the Oath</i> 1984 studio album by Mercyful Fate

Don't Break the Oath is the second studio album by Danish heavy metal band Mercyful Fate, released in 1984.

After disbanding (1985–1992)

After Mercyful Fate broke up in 1985, King Diamond, along with Michael Denner and Timi Hansen, formed the eponymous King Diamond band. [15] [16] Both Denner and Hansen stayed with the group until 1987's Abigail , after which both left King Diamond. [17] They were replaced by Mike Moon and Hal Patino, respectively, and King Diamond continued releasing albums even after Mercyful Fate had reformed. [17] After leaving King Diamond, Michael Denner opened up a recordshop in Copenhagen, until 1988, when he formed the band Lavina (which would later become Zoser Mez), along with former bandmate Hank Shermann. [17] [18] Hank Shermann had formed the hard rock band Fate in 1985, after having left Mercyful Fate. [19] With Fate, Shermann released two albums: 1985's Fate and 1986's A Matter of Attitude . [19] After leaving the band, Shermann joined-up with Michael Denner to form Lavina. [19]

King Diamond (band) Danish heavy metal band

King Diamond are a Danish heavy metal band formed in 1985 by vocalist King Diamond, guitarists Andy LaRocque and Michael Denner, bassist Timi Hansen and drummer Mikkey Dee. Diamond, Denner and Hansen had recently departed the group Mercyful Fate, and decided to form a new band under the King Diamond moniker, as it was already known from the Mercyful Fate days. In 1986, King Diamond released their debut album Fatal Portrait. Since then the band have released a total of twelve studio albums, two live albums, two extended plays, five compilations and five singles.

<i>Abigail</i> (album) 1987 studio album by King Diamond

Abigail is the second King Diamond album and their first concept album. It was released in 1987 on Roadrunner Records. There were several re-releases, first in 1997 with 4 bonus tracks, and then a 25th Anniversary edition in 2005 with a bonus DVD. This album has sold over 175,000 copies in North America alone. Abigail is the last album to feature guitarist Michael Denner and bassist Timi Hansen.

Mike Moon is the stage name of Mikael Myllynen, born 1968, a guitar player from Sweden. He is more well known for his guitar work while in the King Diamond band.

During the time Mercyful Fate were disbanded, Roadrunner Records released three Mercyful Fate compilation albums. The Beginning was released on June 24, 1987, and featured material from the band's 1982 self-titled EP, as well as rare live and studio recordings. [20] On May 12, 1992, Return of the Vampire was released, which was another compilation of rare studio recordings. [21] On October 6, 1992, Roadrunner released A Dangerous Meeting ; a split-release featuring material from both Mercyful Fate and King Diamond. [22]

A compilation album comprises tracks, which may be previously released or unreleased, usually from several separate recordings by either one or several performers. If by one artist, then generally the tracks were not originally intended for release together as a single work, but may be collected together as a greatest hits album or box set. If from several performers, there may be a theme, topic, time period, or genre which links the tracks, or they may have been intended for release as a single work—such as a tribute album. When the tracks are by the same recording artist, the album may be referred to as a retrospective album or an anthology.

<i>The Beginning</i> (Mercyful Fate album) 1987 compilation album by Mercyful Fate

The Beginning is a compilation album by Mercyful Fate released in 1987 consisting of the Nuns Have No Fun EP and different versions of 4 tracks from the album Melissa.

<i>Return of the Vampire</i> 1992 compilation album by Mercyful Fate

Return of the Vampire is a compilation album of rare demo tracks by Mercyful Fate recorded before their first, official release in 1982. It was released in 1992 by Roadrunner Records RRD 9184.

Reunion (1992–1999)

In 1993, King Diamond, Hank Shermann, Michael Denner and Timi Hansen reunited to reform Mercyful Fate (drummer Kim Ruzz was replaced by Morten Nielsen). [5] [11] The result was the album In the Shadows , which was released on June 22, 1993, through Metal Blade Records. [23] The album also featured a guest appearance by Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich (a fellow Dane), on the track "Return of the Vampire". [23] For the album's supporting tour, Morten Nielsen was replaced by King Diamond drummer Snowy Shaw, due to a knee injury Nielsen had sustained. [11] Bassist Timi Hansen was also replaced by Sharlee D'Angelo, as Hansen did not want to take part in touring. [11] [24] On June 27, 1994, the band released The Bell Witch , an EP of live tracks, as well as studio recordings from In the Shadows. [25]

On September 25, 1994, Mercyful Fate released the album Time , which was recorded and mixed at the Dallas Sound Lab during May–August 1994. [26] After the album's release drummer Snowy Shaw was replaced by Bjarne T. Holm for the Time Tour. [11] Holm had originally been asked to join Mercyful Fate back in 1981, but had declined due to prior commitments. [11] The band spent January through February 1996 recording and mixing the album Into the Unknown , which was released on August 20, 1996. [27] After the album's release, guitarist Michael Denner left the band and was replaced by Mike Wead. [11] In October 1997, Mercyful Fate began recording the album Dead Again at the Nomad Recording Studio in Carrollton, Texas. [28] Dead Again was released on June 9, 1998. [28] In February 1999, Mercyful Fate began recording the album 9 , which was released on May 15, 1999. [29]

Career activity (1999–2011)

After the supporting tour for 9, Mercyful Fate was put on hiatus. King Diamond focused on his eponymous band, along with guitarist Mike Wead, who joined the group during the European House of God tour. [17] Hank Shermann and Bjarne T. Holm reunited with Michael Denner to form Force of Evil, while Sharlee D'Angelo joined the band Arch Enemy. [30] When asked about the current state of the band in 2008, Diamond stated that Mercyful Fate is currently "hibernating", and that "it's definitely not finished, at least in my book." [31] In August 2008, King Diamond was asked by Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich if Mercyful Fate would be willing to participate in Activision's Guitar Hero: Metallica video game. [32] Ulrich requested the original masters for two of the band's songs, so they could be used in the game. [32] Unable to locate them, Diamond suggested to Activision the band re-record the songs, and as a result, King Diamond, Hank Shermann, Michael Denner, Timi Hansen and Bjarne T. Holm reunited to re-record the songs "Evil" and "Curse of the Pharaohs". [32] King Diamond was also made into a playable character in the game. [32]

On December 7, 2011, King Diamond, Hank Shermann, Michael Denner and Timi Hansen reunited onstage at Metallica's 30th Anniversary concert, at the Fillmore in San Francisco, California, where they, alongside Metallica, performed Metallica's "Mercyful Fate" medley from Garage Inc. [33]

Style and legacy

Mercyful Fate were a part of the first wave of black metal, along with other groups, such as Venom, Bathory and Hellhammer. [9] Many of these groups helped establish the style upon which future black metal artists would later build. [9] Unlike the other first-wave bands, typical elements of Mercyful Fate's style are influences from progressive rock, [6] epic 1970s hard rock [7] and traditional heavy metal. As many of the band's songs featured lyrics about Satanism and the occult [1] [8] and King Diamond was among the first black metal musicians to use the now famous corpse paint, [34] Mercyful Fate was a pioneer in developing black metal, [1] [8] although their musical style was not as much an influence as that of other first wave bands. [7]

Various musicians have cited Mercyful Fate as an influence. Kerry King, the guitarist for the thrash metal band Slayer, has stated, that he and Jeff Hanneman were big fans of Mercyful Fate when Slayer recorded the album Hell Awaits , so much so that the album was very influenced by Mercyful Fate. [35] Fellow thrash metal band Metallica recorded a medley of Mercyful Fate songs on their 1998 Garage Inc. cover album. Since then, the band has performed the song various times live with several members of Mercyful Fate. [33] [36] [37]



Mercyful Fate


Studio albums

Related Research Articles

<i>9</i> (Mercyful Fate album) 1999 studio album by Mercyful Fate

9 is the seventh and final studio album by Danish heavy metal band Mercyful Fate. 9 was recorded during February and March 1999, and was released on June 15, 1999, on Metal Blade Records. This album continues the heavier sound that was introduced in their previous album Dead Again, and also marks the return of the Satanic- and occult-based lyrical themes which were prevalent during the band's first incarnation, as the primary lyrical focus.

<i>The Bell Witch</i> (EP) 1994 EP by Mercyful Fate

The Bell Witch is a short, promotional EP released by Mercyful Fate to herald the band's reunion album. It features two tracks off In the Shadows, of which one is based on the American legend of the Bell Witch, plus four live tracks. The EP was released in 1994. It was re-released in 2004 on Metal Blade Records.

<i>Time</i> (Mercyful Fate album) 1994 studio album by Mercyful Fate

Time is the fourth studio album by the Danish heavy metal band Mercyful Fate. It was released on 25 October 1994 by Metal Blade Records.

<i>Into the Unknown</i> (Mercyful Fate album) 1996 studio album by Mercyful Fate

Into the Unknown is the fifth album by Mercyful Fate, released by Metal Blade Records in 1996.

<i>Dead Again</i> (Mercyful Fate album) 1998 studio album by Mercyful Fate

Dead Again is the sixth studio album by Mercyful Fate, released in 1998 by Metal Blade Records. It marks the first album from Mercyful Fate that Michael Denner is not present on. It also marked a new era for the band, as the production is more muddy and raw, and the guitar tone is more distorted than on the three previous albums. In addition, the album introduced a more complex and arguably progressive sound to several of its tracks.

Force of Evil was a Danish 5-piece heavy metal band formed by the twin guitarists of Mercyful Fate, Michael Denner and Hank Shermann. They joined forces with Hal Patino, Bjarne T. Holm and Martin Steene, all known for their performance with King Diamond, Mercyful Fate and Iron Fire.

<i>A Dangerous Meeting</i> 1992 greatest hits album by King Diamond and Mercyful Fate

A Dangerous Meeting is a compilation album of King Diamond and Mercyful Fate songs. The vinyl version included "Satan's Fall", which was omitted from the CD version due to time constrictions.

King Diamond discography

The discography of King Diamond, a Danish heavy metal band, consists of twelve studio releases, three live albums, five compilations, six singles, and four music videos. King Diamond was formed in 1985, after the dissolution of the group Mercyful Fate, by vocalist King Diamond, guitarists Andy LaRocque and Michael Denner, bassist Timi Hansen, and drummer Mikkey Dee. The following year, the band released their debut album Fatal Portrait, which charted at number 33 in Sweden. King Diamond's second studio album, Abigail, was released on February 24, 1987, and reached number 123 in the US, number 39 in Sweden and number 68 in the Netherlands. Following some line-up changes, the group released the album "Them" in 1988, which peaked at number 38 in Sweden, number 65 in the Netherlands, and at number 89 in the US, making "Them" King Diamond's highest charting album in North America. The following year, the band released the follow-up album Conspiracy, which charted at number 111 in North America, number 41 in Sweden and at number 64 in the Netherlands. In 1990, after more line-up changes, King Diamond released the album The Eye, which only charted at number 179 in the US, which makes The Eye King Diamond's lowest charting album in North America.

Mercyful Fate discography

The discography of Mercyful Fate, a Danish heavy metal band, consists of seven studio releases, three compilations, three singles, and six music videos. Mercyful Fate was formed in 1981 by vocalist King Diamond and guitarist Hank Shermann. After several line-up changes and self-made demos, Mercyful Fate released their self-titled EP in 1982, with the line-up of King Diamond (vocals), Hank Shermann (guitar), Michael Denner (guitar), Timi Hansen (bass) and Kim Ruzz (drums). With this line-up, the group released their debut album, Melissa, on October 30, 1983, through Roadrunner Records. The following year, Mercyful Fate recorded their second album Don't Break the Oath. Released on September 7, 1984, the album debuted at number 33 on the Swedish Sverigetopplistan charts. Despite winning a cult following around the world, with sales in the thousands, Mercyful Fate broke up in April 1985, due to musical differences.

<i>The Best of Mercyful Fate</i> 2003 greatest hits album by Mercyful Fate

The Best of Mercyful Fate is a compilation album by the band Mercyful Fate from years 1982-1984.

<i>Witchkrieg</i> album by Witchery

Witchkrieg is the fifth full-length studio album by the Swedish thrash metal band Witchery, released on June 21, 2010, in Europe and June 29, 2010, in North America. This album is their second on Century Media Records. Like their previous album, Don't Fear the Reaper, Witchkrieg was mixed by Tue Madsen at his Antfarm Studios. Witchkrieg showcases an impressive line-up of guest musicians such as Andy LaRocque from King Diamond, Kerry King from the thrash band Slayer, Hank Shermann of Mercyful Fate, Lee Altus and Gary Holt from Exodus and Jim Durkin from Dark Angel.

<i>In the Shadows</i> (album) 1993 studio album by Mercyful Fate

In the Shadows is the third full-length studio album by Mercyful Fate. It is also the first offering of the band since their reunion in 1992. It was released in 1993 on Metal Blade Records. Unlike previous Mercyful Fate albums, which were entirely centered around lyrical themes of Satanism and the Occult, the lyrics on this album are rather focused on more conceptual horror-themes, akin to King Diamond's work with his eponymous band. The band would not return to a primarily occult/Satanic lyrical approach until the band's final album, 9, released in 1999.


  1. 1 2 3 4 "Mercyful Fate: Melissa - Review". AllMusic . Retrieved 2012-12-09.
  2. Sharpe-Young, Garry & Born, R. "Mercyful Fate". MusicMight. Archived from the original on 2012-09-20. Retrieved 2009-12-08.
  3. "Melissa - Mercyful Fate - Songs, Reviews, Credits - AllMusic". AllMusic.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 "King Diamond interviewed in 1997". YouTube . Retrieved 2012-12-09.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 "Mercyful Fate". AllMusic . Retrieved 2012-12-08.
  6. 1 2 Götz Kühnemund: A History of Horror. In: Rock Hard, no. 282, November 2010, p. 20-27.
  7. 1 2 3 4 5 Björn Thorsten Jaschinski: Seziertisch. In: Rock Hard, no. 282, November 2010, p. 28.
  8. 1 2 3 "Mercyful Fate: Don't Break the Oath - Review". AllMusic . Retrieved 2012-12-09.
  9. 1 2 3 4 Dunn, Sam (2005). Metal: A Headbanger's Journey (motion picture). Seville Pictures.
  10. "Esbjergs største rockstjerne havde en destruktiv djævel". 2 January 2016.
  11. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 "Mercyful Fate - Band members". Retrieved 2012-12-08.
  12. "Mercyful Fate at". Retrieved 2012-12-10.
  13. 1 2 "Melissa at". Retrieved 2012-12-08.
  14. "Don't Break the Oath at". Retrieved 2012-12-08.
  15. 1 2 3 4 "King Diamond - Interview". YouTube . Retrieved 2012-12-08.
  16. 1 2 "King Diamond interviewed on the Music Box". YouTube . Retrieved 2012-12-08.
  17. 1 2 3 4 "King Diamond - Band members". Retrieved 2012-12-08.
  18. "King Diamond - Interview 1987". YouTube . Retrieved 2012-12-09.
  19. 1 2 3 "Fate". AllMusic . Retrieved 2012-12-09.
  20. "The Beginning at". Retrieved 2012-12-09.
  21. 1 2 "Return of the Vampire at". Retrieved 2012-12-09.
  22. "A Dangerous Meeting at". Retrieved 2012-12-09.
  23. 1 2 "In the Shadows at". Retrieved 2012-12-08.
  24. "Sharlee D'Angelo Interview". . Retrieved 2013-01-07.
  25. "The Bell Witch at". Retrieved 2012-12-08.
  26. "Time at". Retrieved 2012-12-08.
  27. "Into the Unknown at". Retrieved 2012-12-08.
  28. 1 2 "Dead Again at". Retrieved 2012-12-08.
  29. "9 at". Retrieved 2012-12-08.
  30. "Force of Evil". AllMusic . Retrieved 2012-12-09.
  31. "BLABBERMOUTH.NET - KING DIAMOND: MERCYFUL FATE 'Is Definitely Not Finished, At Least In My Book'". Archived from the original on 2008-04-22. Retrieved 2011-07-06.
  32. 1 2 3 4 "King Diamong Comments On 'Guitar Hero: Metallica' Game Inclusion". 2009-02-26. Archived from the original on 2009-03-01. Retrieved 2012-12-08.
  33. 1 2 "Metallica Joined by Mercyful Fate, Anthrax, Armored Saint Members for Second 30th Anniversary Show". 2011-12-08. Retrieved 2012-12-08.
  34. "On the Role of Clothing Styles In The Development of Metal – Part I". 2005-07-05. Retrieved 2012-12-08.
  35. "Kerry King interviewed by Metal Hammer". YouTube. Retrieved 2012-12-08.
  36. "Metallica performing "Mercyful Fate" w/King Diamond and Hank Shermann in 1999". YouTube. Retrieved 2012-12-09.
  37. "Metallica performing "Mercyful Fate" w/ King Diamond on August 9, 2008 in Dallas, Texas". Archived from the original on January 1, 2013. Retrieved 2012-12-09.