What’s Up, Butcher Crew?! It’s your Master Butcher, The Saw. And today, I’ve got a Heavy Breakdown on someone that should need no introduction (but I’ll do it anyway!), King Diamond. I have seen King Diamond only one time, a few years ago, at The Mayhem Festival outside DC. What a great stage show! And the sound of his soaring vocals, and the band’s tight playing was incredible! I grew up listening to King Diamond. And The Butcher Shop has a Classic Album of the Week Review on Melissa, as well as a heavy breakdown of Abigail.
King Diamond (Kim Bendix Petersen) was born on June 14, 1956 in Copenhagen Denmark. His first Hard Rock band was Brainstorm (1974-76). Diamond left Brainstorm, and joined another Hard Rock band, Black Rose, where he began to work on the horror themes and satanic persona that we all know and love today. He left Black Rose to join Brats, a punk-metal band. Here is where Diamond met guitarist Hank Shermann. Diamond and Shermann were soon asked to join guitarist Michael Denner on a project called, Danger Zone. This band had Timi Hansen playing bass. In 1981, these band members would form Mercyful Fate.
Mercyful Fate were a part of the First Wave of Black Metal to infest the public in the early 1980s, along with Venom, Bathory, and Hellhammer. Mercyful Fate is acknowledged and credited as THE major influence in the development of Thrash and Death Metal in the ‘80s. And Diamond’s painted face is credited as the progenitor of future “Corpse Paint” in the Black Metal genre. Diamond sites Alice Cooper as one of his major influences. Gene Simmons (KISS) credits himself for influencing Diamond’s face paint, even suing Diamond over the design.
In 1982, Mercyful Fate released a self-titled EP with Kim Ruzz rounding out the band on drums. 1983 saw the band’s first studio album, the legendary Melissa. 1984 the follow-up studio album, Don’t Break the Oath, was released to the world. Mercyful Fate disbanded in 1985, but reunited in 1992 (without Ruzz) to record, In the Shadows, which was released in ‘93. The album, Time, was released in 1994, and Into the Unknown saw a release in 1996. Dead Again was released in 1998, and 9 was released in 1999. After the support tour for 9, Mercyful fate went on Hiatus, with Diamond focusing on the band of his namesake. Shermann, Holm, and Denner formed Force of Evil, and Sharlee D’Angelo joined Arch Enemy. In 2019, Mercyful Fate announced a limited number of European shows, and that the band was working on new material. As of that time, Mercyful Fate consisted of Diamond, Shermann, Holm, and Mike Wead (guitars). On November 4, 2019 Timi Hanson (bass) died of cancer. So, Joey Vera stepped in on bass.
Kind Diamond (The Band)
In 1985, King Diamond (the band) was formed. Andy LaRocque (Swedish Erotica) and Michael Denner (Mercyful Fate) were on guitars, Timi Hanson (Mercyful Fate) was playing bass, and Mikkey Dee (Scorpions, Motorhead) was the drummer. King Diamond released the single, “No Presents for Christmas” on December 25, 1985 in preparation for the band’s debut studio album, Fatal Portrait; released through Roadrunner Records in 1986. The legendary concept album, Abigail, followed in 1987. The concept album, Them,was released in 1988, and Denner and Hanson had left the band before recordings had begun. The 1989 studio album, Conspiracy, was connected to the storyline of Them, and was the first King Diamond album recorded in the US. Mikkey Dee left the band after this record. In 1990, King Diamond released their 5th studio album, The Eye.
Diamond reformed Mercyful Fate in 1993 and recorded and toured with them for a year. In 1994, his focus returned to King Diamond. Andy LaRocque and Herb Simonsen were on guitars, Christ Estes was playing bass, and Darrin Anthony (Mindstorm) on drums. In 1995, The Spider’s Lullabye was released; the band’s first through Metal Blade Records. 1996’s The Graveyard was a return to Diamond’s concept albums. John Luke Hebert (Chastain) replaced Anthony on drums after this recording. Voodoo was released in 1998, and Simonsen was replaced by Glenn Drover (future Megadeth guitarist). The year 2000 saw the release of House of God, with Paul David Harbour (Chastain) on bass. After the recording, Drover and Hebert were replaced by Mike Wead (guitars) and Matt Thompson (drums). Abagail II: The Revenge was released in 2002. The Puppet Master dropped in 2003. In 2007, Give Me Your Soul…Please was released, and the song, “Never Ending Hill” was nominated for a Grammy for Best Metal Performance.
In November of 2010, Diamond was rushed to the hospital, having suffered multiple heart attacks, and underwent a triple-bypass. In 2018, King Diamond announced their 13th studio Album, which would be divided into two parts to align with its story. The first part of the saga, The Institute, was originally scheduled with a 2020 release date and supporting tour, but is now due to drop this year (2022). On November 8, 2019 the first single from the album, “Masquarade of Madness” was released.
Diamond is married to Livia Zita, a singer and voiceover performer. She is the live backing vocalist you see on stage during a King Diamond show, and she has sung backing vocals on the last two King Diamond records. They have one child.
Present Members of King Diamond
King Diamond – Vocals, Keyboards (1985 – present)
Andy LaRocque – Guitars, Keyboards (1985 – present)
Mike Wead – Guitars (1991-93, 2000 – present)
Matt Thompson – Drums (2000 – present)
Pontus Egberg – Bass (2014 – present)
Chronology of Studio Discography
1983 – Melissa (Roadrunner Records) – Mercyful Fate
1984 – Don’t Break the Oath (Roadrunner Records) – Mercyful Fate
1986 – Fatal Portrait (Roadrunner Records) – King Diamond
1987 – Abigail (Roadrunner Records) – King Diamond
1988 – Them (Roadrunner Records) – King Diamond
1989 – Conspiracy (Roadrunner Records) – King Diamond
1990 – The Eye (Roadrunner) – King Diamond
1993 – In the Shadows (Metal Blade Records) – Mercyful Fate
1994 – Time (Metal Blade Records) – Mercyful Fate
1995 – The Spider’s Lullabye (Metal Blade Records) – King Diamond
1996 – The Graveyard (Metal Blade Records) – King Diamond
1996 – Into the Unknown (Metal Blade Records) – Mercyful Fate
1998 – Voodoo (Metal Blade Records) – King Diamond
1998 – Dead Again (Metal Blade Records) – Mercyful Fate
1999 – 9 (Metal Blade Records) – Mercyful Fate
2000 – House of God (Metal Blade Records) – King Diamond
2002 – Abagail II: The Revenge (Metal Blade Records) – King Diamond
2003 – The Puppet Master (Metal Blade Records) – King Diamond
2007 – Give Me Your Soul…Please (Metal Blade Records – King Diamond
*2022 – The Institute (Metal Blade Records) – King Diamond