MERCYFUL FATE Debuts Brand New Song At First Concert In 23 Years
June 2, 2022
Influential Danish metallers MERCYFUL FATE played their first concert in 23 years earlier tonight (Thursday, June 2) at the Expo Plaza in Hannover, Germany as the support act for VOLBEAT. The band's seven-song set included a brand new track, "The Jackal Of Salzburg", which is expected to appear on MERCYFUL FATE's upcoming studio album, tentatively due in 2023 via Metal Blade.
Joining frontman King Diamond in MERCYFUL FATE's current lineup are Hank Shermann on guitar, Bjarne T. Holm on drums, Mike Wead on guitar and Joey Vera on bass.
The setlist was as follows:
01. The Oath 02. The Jackal Of Salzburg (new song; live debut) 03. A Corpse Without Soul 04. Curse Of The Pharaohs 05. Evil 06. A Dangerous Meeting
07. Satan's Fall
In 2019, it was announced that 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 initially rescheduled for 2021 before being moved back to 2022.
In a Twitch livestream from a few days ago from the MERCYFUL FATE rehearsals, which took place in Glostrup, Denmark, King revealed that he and his bandmates were planning to debut a brand new song at the 2022 shows. "We're trying," he said. "We're still working on a song. I wrote the final lyrics the day of our departure [for rehearsals], I would say, and that's a couple of days ago. So the others have not heard me sing the song at all. We played a few riffs from it yesterday. I didn't sing to it at that time. But it's coming [along] here. The next couple of days we're gonna see where it leads us."
Regarding the musical and lyrical content of the new MERCYFUL FATE song, King said: "It's quite a monster, I would say. It's almost nine minutes long. So it's not just a quick little [tune]. We hope we can play it. We're gonna do everything in our power to play it. It's not recorded yet. So whatever version we might play for you could change before it actually is fully recorded. Some drums have been recorded — that's what I can say. But we will do our damnedest to play it. We put it early in the set even. But that's something to look forward to, definitely. And now we've gotta make it sound correct, 'cause the early demo versions have lots of stuff on that create a certain mood in the whole thing, which we can't do [when we perform it]. The live version will be different. I can't do the backing vocals, naturally, that is intended for the song. But that's also a challenge, to do a version that works live, of course, [with the] vocal lines. It's gonna be fun. It's gonna be heavy. The subject is very heavy too. We are back in 1675 till 1690. That's a piece of history that we are describing — a nasty piece of history," he added, possibly referring to the Salzburg Witch Trials.
Back in October 2020, Vera told Dead Rhetoric about how he landed the MERCYFUL FATE gig: "I've been friends with King for some time. ARMORED SAINT did a tour with King back in 1988-89; we have been friends and labelmates forever. And so, he came to see me when I was on tour with FATES WARNING supporting QUEENSRŸCHE in Dallas where he lives. He came to see the show. [Metal Blade Records owner] Brian Slagel was in town. King pulled me aside backstage and told me the story of Timi going through chemotherapy and had a summer tour booked and wasn't sure he was going to be well enough to do it. If he wasn't, would I consider stepping in and helping out. Of course, I was flabbergasted and honored, yeah. I didn't have anything else going on — it was supposed to happen this summer. To honor Timi and help them out, thank you for asking me. In the back of my mind, I was thinking Timi would pull through, he would get enough energy to make it. I was sadly mistaken and it was devastating."
Two years ago, Shermann confirmed that he was working on the first new music from MERCYFUL FATE in more than two decades. At the time, he said about the writing process: "First of all, King 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 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.