Mercyful Fate, Kreator, and Midnight took the stage in Cincinnati down by the river at the Andrew J. Brady Music Center last Friday night, and the place might never be the same.
One of my earliest European metal fascinations was Mercyful Fate. I jumped on with the Melissa (1983) album. At the time, you could still get the even earlier self-titled EP, so I did that – wish I still had it. Those two records and the almost-equally engaging Don’t Break The Oath (1984) kept me company in my formative years. Vocalist King Diamond left the band and it split up right afterward. A decade later, Mercyful Fate was at it again. During the nineties, several more albums came, and the sound was a little different. I always thought that King Diamond’s solo albums were more like the original Mercyful Fate than the nineties albums. In any case, there hasn’t been anything from Mercyful Fate since before the new millennium.
For these reasons and many more, I was thrilled to go to Psycho Las Vegas this year and see Mercyful Fate together again. Michael Denner is not with the band now, but Hank Shermann is, and, of course, King Diamond. It is Mercyful Fate.
The night started with the masked trio, Midnight. In the studio, Midnight is the one-man band Jamie Althenar Walters. Live they play a speedy brand of black metal that fits right in with Kreator and Mercyful Fate. I have really liked the last two records from Midnight, so it was great to see him and them live.
The middle slot was held by the German thrash band Kreator. The legend of the band stretches back forty years. Here we have another example of a band I have listened to for decades but somehow never saw live. I have been on their trail for some time and finally caught up with them. Their performance smoked, and I was especially glad to hear the title track from their new album Hate Über Alles.
As I mentioned, I saw Mercyful Fate a couple months ago in Las Vegas and, of course, it was basically the same set and show in Cincinnati. In other words, it was mind-blowingly incredible. If I could, I would be at every stop on the tour because I am a long-time fan, but also because the performance is just so good.
King Diamond, Hank Shermann, Mike Mead, Bjarne T. Holm, and, filling in on bass for the tour, Becky Baldwin, laid down the law for an hour and a half. They played my absolute favorites “A Corpse Without A Soul,” Curse of the Pharaohs,” and “Black Funeral,” and a half a dozen other songs from the early albums that were instantly recognizable. They also performed a new piece, “The Jackal of Salzburg,” reinforcing the word on the street that another album is in the works.
There is still time to catch the tour. There are not very many dates on this leg, but there are (at this writing) still six more chances to see the show. Check out the tour poster below for details and grab your tickets if any remain. There is no knowing whether there will ever be another Mercyful Fate tour so don’t put this one off because once you see it, it will live with you for the rest of your time.
Photos by Wayne Edwards.
Mercyful Fate, https://mercyfulfatecoven.com/
The Andrew J. Brady Music Center, https://bradymusiccenter.com/
Metal Blade Records, https://www.metalblade.com/us/
© Wayne Edwards