KING DIAMOND Says Title And Cover Artwork Of Next MERCYFUL FATE Album Are Both Ready
July 19, 2023
Danish heavy metal legend King Diamond was a guest on a recent episode of "The Electric Theater With Clown" Internet show hosted by SLIPKNOT's M. Shawn "Clown" Crahan. You can now listen to the entire chat below.
Speaking about new music that he is working on, King said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "There's a lot in the works right now. I'm writing with Hank [Shermann, guitar] for MERCYFUL FATE and writing with Andy [La Rocque, guitar] for KING DIAMOND and writing on my own for KING DIAMOND. For KING DIAMOND, it's an album that's gonna be called 'The Institute', which is part one of two; there'll be two full albums that will be completing that full story. As the title says, it's gonna be some creepy, weird stuff. And for MERCY, I also have the title, but I'm not giving it out to anybody at the moment. We have the front cover for the new MERCY too. It's very correct, very right for MERCYFUL FATE. It's very back to basics.
"For my part with both MERCY and KING DIAMOND — even more KING DIAMOND, I would say — all vocals are gonna be lead vocals again, like they were in the old days for me," he explained. "It didn't matter if it was a choir singing on the right or the left side or whatever; they would still go in and pick up parts of the lyrics to progress the story and so on. So it's gonna be anything goes with the vocals, for sure — back to the old style. And for MERCY too; it's gonna be very old-fashioned. Hank is writing very much like the old days. And it's nice to feel that we can capture that again.
"So that's the two albums that are being worked on, that will be done by the time we go out on tour again, I'm sure."
This past February, MERCYFUL FATE guitarist Mike Wead told Guitar World magazine about the band's new song "The Jackal Of Salzburg", which MERCYFUL FATE performed live for the first time in June 2022 in Hannover, Germany: "It's one of the more epic songs out of the new ones I've heard. It's kind of bombastic, with a slight touch of doom metal, which is a bit different for MERCY. But then again, MERCY was never a band that stood still, either."
Lyrically, "The Jackal Of Salzburg" 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.
"It's so grotesque, man," King told Guitar World about the source material. "There was a young man, 20 years old, whose mother was burned alive as a witch in 1675. Two years later they started hunting [the son] based on confessions the mom had made under torture, where she gave up her son as being in league with the devil.
"It's pretty shocking when you think about spearing a child on this horrible thing that goes up your backend and comes out through your mouth, or on a wheel that would pull them apart. Completely insane."
MERCYFUL FATE played the final show of its first North American headlining tour in over two decades on November 16, 2022 at the Tabernacle in Atlanta, Georgia. Stepping in on bass for MERCYFUL FATE at these shows was Becky Baldwin, a British musician who has previously played with FURY, TRIAXIS and CONTROL THE STORM. She filled in for MERCYFUL FATE's regular bassist Joey Vera, who was unable to make the trek due to a scheduling conflict with his longtime band ARMORED SAINT.
In 2019, it was announced Vera would be replacing original MERCYFUL FATE bassist Timi 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 last year's edition of Psycho Las Vegas.
MERCYFUL FATE was formed in early 1981 in Copenhagen, Denmark by King and Hank. They were later joined by guitarist Michael Denner and bassist Timi Hansen, and soon thereafter drummer Kim Ruzz would join to complete the band lineup. The band recorded two demos in 1981 and later signed with Rave On Records in Holland for the recording of their successful self-titled EP, released in November of 1982. The "Mercyful Fate" EP was soon in heavy rotation around core metal radio stations, launching a new breed of heavy metal with their unique sound.
The band joined Roadrunner Records in 1983 and their debut full-length, "Melissa", was recorded and released that same year. The following year, MERCYFUL FATE returned to the studio to record their now legendary "Don't Break The Oath" full-length, released in September of 1984.
MERCYFUL FATE embarked upon a two-month U.S. tour in support of the record, which took them across the States several times sharing the stage with the likes of MOTÖRHEAD and EXCITER. The shows had created a brush fire within the metal community. The band reaped recognition globally, closing the year with a five-date tour in Germany with MOTÖRHEAD, GIRLSCHOOL, HELIX and TALON.
MERCYFUL FATE's first concert of 1985 was in their hometown of Copenhagen at an old movie theater with a large capacity. The show sold out and their stage show exhibited a new level of distinction. The night was a huge victory and a new highlight for the band. By April of 1985, however, MERCYFUL FATE decided to part ways for each to pursue new challenges. The KING DIAMOND band was born and reaped critical acclaim the following years with five studio albums on Roadrunner Records. KING DIAMOND has since signed with Metal Blade Records and is going stronger than ever before.
In the summer of 1992, MERCYFUL FATE decided to reunite and penned a new deal with Brian Slagel and his label, Metal Blade Records. "In The Shadows" was released in 1993 and was an instant triumph furthered by a sold-out U.S. tour.
MERCYFUL FATE has gone on to release another five studio albums and have toured Europe, the U.S. and South America multiple times. The highlight of 1999 was their critically acclaimed album "9" which was followed by a European tour with METALLICA, where King and Hank joined the band onstage several times for the medley "Mercyful Fate" which METALLICA had recorded on their "Garage Inc." double tribute album the year prior. Tours in the U.S. and in South America followed, marking the band's last live performances for over a decade. MERCYFUL FATE then went on hiatus, but made a brief appearance when members joined METALLICA onstage in 2011 for their 30th-anniversary show in San Francisco, California.
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