Mercyful Fate

Live at The Youtube Theater

Los Angeles, CA

October 29th, 2022

Review and photos by Travis Baumann

Mercyful Fate should need no introduction to anyone who has been into metal for more than a few decades, but for newer members of the scene they may not recall the influential power of the pioneering Danish band.

Founded in 1981 in Copenhagen, the band took heavy metal in new directions and have been hailed by mainstays of the scene such as Metallica and Slayer as being responsible for a lot of sound, imagery, and content direction of the overall metal world.

Mercyful Fate has had a rocky road to say the least, with multiple disbandings and reformations. The latest sees them embark on the first North American tour in over twenty years.

King Diamond is the face and voice of Mercyful Fate and many will know him from his prolific solo career between the hiatus and reunion roller coaster of Mercyful Fate. His signature vocal delivery and theatrical talent drive both projects.

Joining him on stage for this tour is fellow band founder Hank Shermann, whose guitar work has been the rocking foundation of the band since the beginning.

Long-time drummer Bjarne T. Holm is back behind the kit as well as Mike Wead on guitar. Both of these guys have been with Mercyful Fate on and off since the mid-1990's and while most of the songs played tonight are from before their era with the band, they are still a major part of what kept Mercyful Fate going all these years.

Currently on bass guitar is new-comer Becky Baldwin who took over Joey Vera's roll now that he is back on tour with Armored Saint. Founding bassist Timi Hansen unfortunately lost his battle with cancer in 2019 (RIP) and Joey had been filling in for him since he was first diagnosed.

As with any show involving King Diamond, the stage set-up was elaborate and steeped in evil imagery. From the giant neon-lit inverted cross to the enormous goat-head centered pentagram, the smoky set evoked the gates of hell. Large stair cases framed the main stage with marble-esque arches at the top.

King entered through one of these hellish gates with a sinister ram's head mask as they opened the set with "The Oath" from their 1984 sophomore release, "Don't Break the Oath". The crowd went wild and were singing along, mimicking King Diamond's vocals as much as possible, including when he goes into his extreme falsetto.

They proceeded to do material from their first three releases, "Melissa", "Don't Break the Oath", and the "Mercyful Fate" EP. There was one notable exception from this trio in the form of a brand new song yet to be recorded called "The Jackal of Salzburg".

They closed out the set with two fan-favorites in a row, "Evil" and "Come to the Sabbath" which have been frequent inclusions in the King Diamond sets of recent as well.

The encore gave us "Satan's Fall" from their debut, which was met with all the righteous fan fare and furor they deserve. It was an amazing show for fans old and new, the former of the two getting to see something they have desired for decades, the latter getting a taste of what theatrical metal can ascend to.

Great to see King in whatever formation he chooses but this was truly an epic night of days gone by but brought fully into the present with as much gusto as anyone could hope for.

Setlist:

The Oath

A Corpse Without Soul

The Jackal of Salzburg

Curse of the Pharaohs

A Dangerous Meeting

Doomed by the Living Dead

Melissa

Black Funeral

Evil

Come to the Sabbath

Encore:

Satan's Fall

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