Mercyful Fate kicked off their first U.S. tour in 20 years at the end of October. It’s a trek that was years in the making due to pandemic-related delays, and timed after what was, at the time, the band’s exclusive U.S. show at Psycho Las Vegas in August. Fans were waiting, and the gloriously ornate Kings Theatre in Brooklyn — where frontman King Diamond also played right before the pandemic — was sold out Thursday night, full of familiar faces, and with a packed-in, mosh-friendly general admission section in front of the stage. MF were greeted to massive cheers as they finally took the stage after 9, but first…
Cleveland speed metallers Midnight are perfect openers for this tour (and for the Mayhem tour that hit Irving Plaza months earlier), musically and aesthetically. Already pretty popular themselves with consistently loved albums, they play crowd-pleasing blackened rock ‘n roll that always gets people moving. Their matching black, face-hiding masks up the evil factor even more, and for this show they raised their memorability level when towards the end of their set they brought out an extremely scantily clad dancer who twerked and pantomimed sex acts with members of the band (pun intended). Far from newcomers at this point, their set covered at least five different albums.
German thrash legends Kreator were up next, and they did not disappoint. Like Midnight who also made Decibel’s Best of 2022 list earlier the same day, Kreator are supporting a great new album called Hate Über Alles which they played the title track from, and which was produced by metal producer of the moment Arthur Rizk. Its release and reception have made the band feel just as relevant as ever over 30 years after their most classic albums including 1986’s Pleasure to Kill, which they also played the title track from. The lights, smoke, and stage set up — complete with hanging bodies and large backdrop with the new album art — made Kreator feel like a co-headliner and the big crowd treated them that way too. Their 9-song set included songs from 8 albums and had the crowd regularly singing along. Frontman Mille Petrozza worked the crowd throughout the set, saying it felt good to finally be back, and that it was an honor to be opening for MF. He encouraged multiple “Brooklyn style wall of deaths,” and at least one “Brooklyn style circle pit.” No poseur though, Mille also shouted out their many fond memories of playing Brooklyn’s most legendary heavy music venue, L’Amours, as far back as 1987. He also mentioned they’d be back in town for a headlining tour next year.
My only complaint with Mercyful Fate: the set was too short! The 11-song setlist — which you can see below — included 10 songs of classic 80’s material, and new song “The Jackal Of Salzburg” which the reunited band has been playing regularly at their shows so far this year. A new album has been in the works for years, and fully costumed King Diamond said something about still working on it when they played the new song. And it was awesome, as was the entire set. The whole band sounded great, and the energy in the room was massive. The stage setup was also elaborate, giant backward cross included, as you can see in the photos here. UK bassist Becky Baldwin was filling in for current bassist Joey Vera on the tour, and ’90s members Bjarne T. Holm and Mike Wead were on drums and guitar respectively. Original guitarist Hank Shermann of course got the biggest applause while King Diamond introduced the band. King also let us know he’d see us again soon.
Check out more pics from the whole show and merch by P Squared, and the setlist, below:
Mercyfyl Fate setlist
A Corpse Without Soul
The Jackal of Salzburg (new song)
Curse of the Pharaohs
A Dangerous Meeting
Doomed by the Living Dead
Come to the Sabbath
To One Far Away
(outro TO ONE FAR AWAY)