The pillar of heavy metal spoke with Knotfest’s Daniel DeKay following his historic performance, punctuating the four-day congregation of heavy music in Sin City.
Among the most anticipated performances of the year, the return of Mercyful Fate at Psycho Las Vegas vaulted the summer festival and celebration of heavy music as an essential destination for live music in 2022. Securing such a historic headliner, the event marked Mercyful Fate’s first domestic US show since 1999 – more than two decades in the making.
The live ritual functioned like as a congregation of the culture’s most devout – reaching an international audience all hellbent on bearing witness to the re-emergence of one of the genre’s undisputed architects. The result was pure exhilaration as 1984 classic “The Oath” cascaded over the thousands of diehards – a powerful punctuation to a weekend that included legendary performances, rare appearances, and a brilliantly curated assembly of the finest extreme music has to offer.
Just minutes following his monumental performance at Psycho Las Vegas, King Diamond graciously took some time to reflect on what had just transpired with Knotfest’s very own Daniel DeKay in a rare, post-performance backstage interview. Taking a pause to properly process the moment, the King offered his insight on what it was like to prove so triumphant after decades away, what it felt like to be so championed as both a legend and a contemporary and how the performance was indicative of a resumption, not a reunion.
Comparing the enthusiasm of the room to that of a South American play, King explained how the rush onstage was something he had never felt before in the States. He shared how that electricity is something rare and typically linked to the most impassioned fans and for the first time ever, in the U.S., those intersected.
King also emphasized how this was less a reunion and very much the band picking up where they left off in 1999. He also shared how the aim was to remain as true to the era as possible, even enlisting the 1999 line-up apart from the tragic departure of bassist Timi Hansen in 2019. King revealed that the band’s bassist Joey Vera, remained reverent in his role playing for Hansen, even meeting Hansen’d daughter to get the blessing to proceed with the band with the spirit of her father at the forefront – so much in fact that Vera plays with Hansen’s signature finger technique rather than using a guitar pick – a detail that remains important to the integrity of the band’s classic catalog.
King also spoke about the forecast for Mercyful Fate, particularly the band’s newest song in “The Jackal of Salzburg” and how the track is indicative of the band’s enduring creative chemistry between King and guitarist, Hank Shermann. Making it no secret that duo are currently hard at work on a new Mercyful Fate full length, King shared how the expansive single evolved from seven minutes to an eight and a half minute epic – further proving that the band is not tip-toeing back into the space but rather steam rolling.
On that note, the two dove into the legacy of a cultural document like the timeless Mercyful Fate album, Melissa, and how the record will mark it’s 40th anniversary next year and yet remains so relevant reaching new generations of fans in the present. Confiding that he cannot express what that means to him, King shared that he doesn’t pay attention to the time that has gone by until he is reminded to and then, the impact of having reached so many generations of fans throughout the years is an incredibly profound realization – one he doesn’t take for granted.
Breaking down the fourth wall and addressing the fans that were not able to witness the majesty of Mercyful Fate live at Psycho, King spoke directly to the fans and said given how incredible the performance was and how celebratory the environment was, it cannot be the last time. Hinting that there maybe more on the horizon from both Mercyful Fate and King Diamond, he kept the details close to chest but offered an auspicious tone about the future – giving fans the world over a reason to be excited.
Stream the complete interview with King Diamond of Mercyful Fate and Daniel DeKay from Psycho Las Vegas below.