MERCYFUL FATE Has 'Three Songs Worked Out' For Next Studio Album
February 21, 2023
MERCYFUL FATE members King Diamond (vocals),Hank Shermann (guitar) and Mike Wead (guitar) spoke to Guitar World magazine about the band's upcoming studio album, which could arrive before the end of the year. Regarding the new MERCYFUL FATE song "The Jackal Of Salzburg", which the group performed live last June in Hannover, Germany, Wead said: "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."
On the topic of the timeline for the next MERCYFUL FATE album, Shermann said: "That's a really good question, because I really don't know, other than that I have at least eight or nine songs ready to be worked on. We already have three songs worked out, out of those, and the drums for 'The Jackal of Salzburg' are recorded. I would also say it probably depends on what the reaction is from [the fall 2022] U.S. tour."
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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