Danish band featuring vocalist King Diamond, guitarists Hank Shermann and Michael Denner, bassist Timi Hansen, and drummer Kim Ruzz.
Mercyful Fate won a large cult following thanks to their dramatic lyrics, showing a Gothic obsession with evil and the occult, and Diamond's amazing vocal range, which shifted from a low growl to a banshee scream, plus the interplay of Shermann and Denner. The band broke up after two full-length albums owing to differences of opinion about what direction the group should take (Shermann wanted a more commercial approach). Diamond pursued a solo career in the mid-'80s. In 1993, the group reformed its original lineup, with the exception of Ruzz (King Diamond drummer Snowy Shaw joined instead). The initial results were quite successful, as the group seemed to pick up right where it left off, much to the delight of their fans. Hansen left after the first reunion record, In the Shadows, and was replaced by Sharlee D'Angelo on its 1994 follow-up Time; drummer Shaw's place was taken by Bjarne T. Holm for 1996's Into the Unknown. Dead Again followed in 1998, as did further lineup shifts; original member Denner called it quits, and the band recruited Mike Wead to take his place on guitar. This lineup remained in place for 1999's 9. ~ Steve Huey, Rovi