KING DIAMOND Offers Update On New Music From MERCYFUL FATE And His Namesake Band

February 23, 2024

In a new interview with Sam Acevedo of El Planeta Del Rock, legendary Danish heavy metal singer King Diamond spoke about the recording and touring plans for both KING DIAMOND and MERCYFUL FATE. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "We were not supposed to play any shows this year. We are very busy. Both MERCYFUL FATE and KING DIAMOND are writing new material. KING DIAMOND is also preparing production for the upcoming new album's release and tour. The first tour, hopefully, will happen — they're planning it right now — in the U.S. at the end of the year with the brand new album. That'll be the first album of two in that story. And MERCYFUL FATE are writing as well and recording. KING DIAMOND's album will be out first. It's where we ended when COVID came. The record label told us, Metal Blade Records, we are continuing from the same place where we stopped. And that was gonna be the next KING DIAMOND album, and that's what's gonna happen next. When it's done and we've toured that new KING DIAMOND album, MERCYFUL FATE will have a new album ready to be released. And then we will get out and tour that with the updated show production and everything. And when that's done, the next KING DIAMOND will be finished and ready to go out. And I even know what the production of the KING DIAMOND stage is going to look like this time, but also next tour. So there's a lot of things that are being planned."

King went on to talk about the new MERCYFUL FATE material, including the song "The Jackal Of Salzburg", which was performed live for the first time during the band's spring/summer 2022 tour. Lyrically, the track is inspired by one of the last major witch hunts, the Zaubererjackl trials in Salzburg, Austria (1675-90). 139 people were executed as the followers of Wizard Jackl or Magician Jackl or Jäckel, who was himself never found.

"Right now 'The Jackal Of Salzburg' is almost finished," King said. "I am doing vocals at the moment. When I'm finished, [new MERCYFUL FATE bassist] Becky [Baldwin] will do bass one more time. She's done one bass, but we want her to be the last to record. That's the thing that we want to do for MERCYFUL FATE and KING DIAMOND, is to give the bass player the chance of really doing special stuff, like old URIAH HEEP, for instance. And we did it ourselves with Timi Hansen, when he was playing for both KING DIAMOND and MERCYFUL FATE. The bass player might follow the guitar sometimes, sometimes [the bass player will] follow vocals or choirs, backing vocals or whatever. I mean, [there's] freedom to do extra cool stuff, as long as it all fits together. But that you can't do until the vocals are on as well. So [Becky] will do one more round of real delicate bass. And that will be the final thing. But I'm working on recording the vocals right now for 'The Jackal Of Salzburg'. And there will be one more song that we are working on now. I know Becky has also done the first bass for that. Hank [Shermann, MERCYFUL FATE guitarist] has done all guitars for that. It's another song. It is called 'Sacrifice'. It's about four minutes long. The one I mentioned before is 'The Jackal Of Salzburg'. It's nine minutes long. That's the first one we actually played live sometimes now. But we hope we can get it finished, mixed and released before we come down to South America [in April], so that you can hear the version with all the vocals, all the guitars, all the stuff that a MERCYFUL FATE song would normally have had in the old days. So, it makes it different to hear it again live [once] you [have] heard the studio version. So that's what we're working very hard on right now. And, like I said, 'Sacrifice' is the same. It will be given to [MERCYFUL FATE guitarist] Mike Wead next, I think, to put guitars on it. And then I will also start working on… I have a lot of lyric ideas for that already, 'Sacrifice'. And I have worked with Hank in the beginning on arranging it the right way for vocals, so it should be pretty ready for vocals now. And there's a third song I'm not gonna talk about but that we are working on as well. And then I have a couple of songs on my own for MERCYFUL FATE. I have the title track for the next album and some other stuff."

King also talked about the progress of the songwriting sessions for KING DIAMOND's long-awaited new album. Titled "The Institute", KING DIAMOND's first studio LP in 17 years is tentatively due in late 2024 via Metal Blade. It will be made available as a two-LP horror concept story, with the second part arriving at a later date.

"I'm working on four of my songs and the intro and another smaller two-and-a-half-minute thing," King said. "And two of them have already been worked on for arrangement, and there's a third one that's basically done; we just need to do some mixing of it. We are far, we are very far with a lot of this stuff, I can tell you that. But it's also —we don't talk about it all the time. We do our stuff and then we come and then we are ready. We have plans for a long time now, I can tell you."

According to King, both MERCYFUL FATE and KING DIAMOND will stage spectacular live shows once they return to the road.

"You're gonna see the full [MERCYFUL FATE] production when we come down and play [in Santiago, Chile] on the 22nd [of April]," he said. "The whole production will be there for MERCYFUL FATE. And with KING DIAMOND, the new production they're building and setting up for 'The Institute' is gonna be something you have never seen before on a stage."

Becky officially joined MERCYFUL FATE as a permanent member in January. The Birmingham, England-based musician previously toured with MERCYFUL FATE in the fall of 2022 as the temporary replacement for Joey Vera who was unable to make the dates due to a scheduled conflict with his longtime group ARMORED SAINT.

In 2019, it was announced Vera would be replacing Hansen for the band's summer 2020 European festival appearances due to Hansen's cancer diagnosis. Hansen passed away in November 2019 and MERCYFUL FATE's 2020 summer festival appearances were rescheduled for 2021, and then to 2022.

MERCYFUL FATE's North American tour, which featured support from by KREATOR and MIDNIGHT, followed the band's headlining performance at the 2022 edition of Psycho Las Vegas.

Last October, KING DIAMOND released a music video for the 2019 single "Masquerade Of Madness". The clip was directed by David Brodsky and Allison Woest of MyGoodEye Visuals.

KING DIAMOND received a Grammy nomination in the "Best Metal Performance" category for the track "Never Ending Hill" off the band's last album, 2007's "Give Me Your Soul … Please".

"Give Me Your Soul ... Please" sold 4,500 copies in the United States in its first week of release to debut at position No. 174 on The Billboard 200 chart.

KING DIAMOND released a DVD/Blu-ray, "Songs For The Dead Live", in January 2019 via Metal Blade Records. The set captures 1987's seminal "Abigail" album in its entirety, twice, and in very different locales: Belgium's Graspop Metal Meeting in June 2016 and Philadelphia's Fillmore in November 2015. The performances feature KING DIAMOND's current band, comprising of guitarists La Rocque and Mike Wead, bassist Pontus Egberg and Matt Thompson.

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