Mercyful Fate Announces Comeback Show At Copenhell

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Yes, you read correct – the nigh-legendary Danish heavy metal band returns from a slumber of over 20 years! Get ready to be grumbled at.

Mercyful Fate had a brief but influential career in the eighties, and returned to both, stages and studio in the nineties but we’re once again laid to rest after the release of their excellent 9, at the turn of the millenium – seemingly for good. Kim Bendix Petersen went back to his successful solo band, with Wead in tow, Denner had a couple of solo projects and Force of Evil with Holm and Shermann and D’Angelo has been fairly busy with a whole slew of popular bands. It did not seem likely that Mercyful Fate would ever take to the stage again, and as the years went on by, there seemed to be less and less reason for them to either.

But here we are, roughly twenty years later and the band has announced their (hopefully) triumphant return to stage at the 2020 edition of Copenhell, arranged between 17th and 20th of June. And that’s not even the best of it as the band has promised that “this will very much be Mercyful Fate as we were in the very beginning”. Despite having a brand new major stage production,  in the spirit of King Diamond, I would expect, the band will only perform songs from their first era of activity – Melissa, Don’t Break The Oath, and the eponymous ep better known as Nuns Have No Fun.

The thing is, nothing about this, except for the songs, seems to be like they were in the very beginning. First of all, the band promotes this show as featuring the 9 line-up, which was radically different from the incarnation that recorded the aforementioned albums – and it’s not even true, as Sharlee D’Angelo will not be making an appearance.

Two key pieces from the eighties are missing from the fold, bassist Timi Hansen and guitarist Michael Denner, whose absence especially comes as a bitter turn of events considering his role in the band’s early work. Both of these men followed Petersen into King Diamond after the dissolution of Mercyful Fate, where Denner helped pen such classics as “Halloween” and “No Present For Christmas”. Both men were present when MF first re-gathered their ranks, though Hansen was quick to depart after the renewed band’s first record In The Shadows was released, while Denner stayed for several years and two albums more.

In the announcement, Holm is regarded kindly, as Joey Vera of Armored Saint/Fates Warning fame was asked to fill in on bass specifically because he has a unique finger-style “much like that of Timi Hansen”, which is important specifically because the band is only going to be playing their early material. But Denner has been left completely unacknowledged, and in these circumstances that seems like a personal insult.

So in addition to King Diamond himself, and the luckily returning Hank Shermann, the line-up will consist of KD guitarist Mike Wead, session bassist Vera and drummer Bjarne T. Holm whose first appearance in the band was late into 1994. And a brand new, major stage production a’la King Diamond. Just like old times indeed.

But hey, these things happen and even though Denner’s recent appearance with Shermann in the aptly named Denner/Shermann would seem to suggest that it’s neither Shermann nor the satanic themes that he opposes, it may just very well be that he didn’t feel the need for another reunion, whatever the line-up. But we shouldn’t mourn that which is not, we should celebrate that which is, well you should anyways. And it’s still Petersen and Shermann together, playing all your favourite Mercyful Fate songs that are played on every King Diamond concert as well, essentially making Shermann’s appearance the actual gist of this reunion.

Just kidding, they’re going to play all the other Mercyful Fate songs too. And you’re not getting “Black Horsemen”, or “Welcome Home”.

After recovering from a triple-bypass surgery in 2010, King Diamond has been  touring the globe heavily with his solo band, they’ve finally at the point where they’re supposedly started the preparations for a new album. To announce shows that border on King Diamond Presents: The Mercyful Fate Experience now, with the express promise of “some brand new songs written specifically in [80’s Mercyful Fate style]” with that line-up makes it sound like the new songs will just be the ones intended for the still upcoming King Diamond album.

I don’t know who else is playing next year’s Copenhell, but if it’s anything like last year, I’m sure Mercyful Fate will fit right in with, uh, Scorpions‘ 15th consecutive year of simultaneous farewell and comeback tour, Rob Zombie’s nondescript rock-o-rama-horror-house-for-children, Stone Temple Pilots‘ incredibly forgettable dad rock stylings featuring their 17th guest vocalist since the death of Scott Weiland, Slash but not Guns ‘N Roses, a band of all-around terrible people, including an alleged pedo-rapist, Jon Schaffer’s less Republican side-project and why-in-the-name-of-good-goddarn-is-Pretty-Maids-billed-that-high. Jesus, even Satan had to get middle-aged sooner or later, I guess, I just never thought I’d have to be around to see it.

 

Let’s be real for a moment here though, King Diamond Presents: The Mercyful Fate Experience featuring Hank Shermann sounds like a hell of a time, and if I get a chance to see it – and I just might, as in addition to their Copenhell appearance, the band will be playing an unspecified number of festivals in Europe, throughout the summer of 2020 – I most definitely will, and you should too. No word on US dates, yet but I’ll bet your sweet bippy there’ll be one or two announced later on, so make sure to keep an eye on the band’s Facebook page for further information, and the original announcement. And in case you’ve already packed your bags and are ready to go, keep an eye on Copenhell too.

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