Guitarist Hank Shermann of influential Danish metallers MERCYFUL FATE has confirmed that he is working on the first new music from the band in more than two decades.
Last August, it was announced that MERCYFUL FATE would reunite for an unspecified number of concerts throughout Europe and North America during the summer of 2020. However, with much of the world on lockdown due to the ongoing global pandemic, all major live events have been canceled or postponed, including most European and American rock and metal festivals.
Speaking about how the coronavirus crisis has affected MERCYFUL FATE's touring plans, Shermann told Australia's Heavy (hear audio below): "This totally [knocked] out all shows for 2020, I predict, and as it looks now, all MERCYFUL FATE shows look to be canceled. We might have an option in November [to do something], maybe, but who knows how it looks at that time?"
Asked if he is using the coronavirus downtime to work on new music, Shermann said: "First of all, King [Diamond, vocals] is living in Texas, in the States. I'm living here north of Copenhagen, in Denmark. The drummer [Bjarne T. Holm] is also here, so I work with him in the rehearsal room shaping the new songs. The other guitar player [Mike Wead] is in Stockholm, Sweden, and our new bass player [Joey Vera] is in Los Angeles. So everything is [being done via] Dropbox or e-mails."
He continued: "I have been working at least the last one and a half years on new MERCYFUL FATE songs, and I think there's about six or seven [tracks that are] about to be ready. The first song has been sent to King after it's been mixed and all the guys played on the song. So I sent the files to Joey in Los Angeles; he did the bass. And then I sent the same files to Mike in Stockholm; he did his solos. And now King has the first song, evaluating for the vocals to be added. And then we will rearrange certain parts to be twice as long and stuff like that."
MERCYFUL FATE's last studio album, "9", was released in 1999.
MERCYFUL FATE will be remembered for its unquestionable mark on the history of metal with its innovative sound, complex arrangements, memorable melody, and its influence on bands that later took the genre to new heights.
In 1998, METALLICA paid tribute to MERCYFUL FATE by recording a medley of classic MERCYFUL FATE songs on the album "Garage Inc." Titled "Mercyful Fate", the medley included parts from "Satan's Fall", "Curse of the Pharaohs", "A Corpse Without Soul", "Into the Coven" and "Evil".
Lars Ulrich of METALLICA (a fellow Dane) played drums on a new version of MERCYFUL FATE's "Return of the Vampire" on the "In the Shadows" album, which came out in 1993.