Mercyful Fate

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About Mercyful Fate

Mercyful Fate were one of the most influential metal bands of the early ’80s. Led by frontman King Diamond—who boasted a yowling falsetto and sported elaborate corpse-paint face makeup—the Danish group drew up a blueprint for both the grinding doom of black metal and the nimble grooves of thrash metal. They initially formed in 1981 out of the ashes of Brats, which featured vocalist King Diamond and guitarists Hank Shermann and Michael Denner. That trio and bassist Timi Hansen coalesced as Mercyful Fate and released a 1982 self-titled EP and 1983's landmark Melissa; the latter's title track, with its desperate lyrics about a witch burned at the stake, became a metal classic. A year after releasing 1984’s Don’t Break the Oath, Mercyful Fate broke up for the first time. This split paved the way for a new project: King Diamond, Denner, and Hansen teamed up with drummer Mikkey Dee to form a similarly heavy band, also named King Diamond. Mercyful Fate reunited for the first time in 1992, releasing a new album the next year, In the Shadows, and then went on hiatus in 1999. However, the original members occasionally came together—notably in 2011, when they made a guest appearance with Metallica to perform the latter’s “Mercyful Fate” medley—before fully committing to the band once again starting with summer 2022 tour dates.

Copenhagen, Denmark
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