MERCYFUL FATE / KREATOR / MIDNIGHT
The Factory in Dallas, Texas
October 25. 2022
By Colonel Angus
The KING arrives...
MERCYFUL FATE is back and I could not be happier. When I saw they were going to play in Las Vegas, I started looking into flights but luckily they decided to place closer to home on a short North American tour. Instead of a flight, I got in my car and drove 200 miles to see them on the first show of the tour. That is how excited I was about the prospect of seeing MERCYFUL FATE on stage again. Almost 23 years to the date was the last time I saw them in Chicago on October 19, 1999. Back then they were promoting their latest release “9” and although they didn’t have much of a stage show, the concert was awesome. Although they are not promoting a new record at this time, they did give us a preview (more on that later) but they did bring along an extensive stage set that added a whole bunch of drama to the already dramatic music.
The Mayhem of MIDNIGHT
First on the bill was a band called MIDNIGHT and I’ll be honest with you, I have not heard them before. I figured they were a local act put on the bill but after doing some research, I realized that they are basically Athenar who records all the records but uses the talents of other musicians when performing live (They’ve been a fixture on the underground metal scene for over 20 years...seen them many times!--Dr. M). They have also been around since the early 2000s releasing E.P.s and split singles (two bands putting out one single – each band taking a side). Well, I didn’t know what to expect but I was glad I got to the show early and caught their set. I can’t begin to tell you what songs they played because as I mentioned, I’m not familiar with the band but after this performance, I will definitely be looking into getting their records. If I were to compare them to anyone, I would say they reminded me of early VENOM. They had that controlled chaos vibe about them and Athenar (bassist/vocalist) has a vocal style very similar to Cronos. Overall it was a short set and although they certainly had a bunch of fans in attendance, I feel they won over many new fans like myself.
Next up was legendary German thrash metal band KREATOR. I have seen them many times over the years but this was the first time they were the support act so I was wondering if they would have the same impact with a shortened set and limited stage. Well, not only did they bring along a stage set up with a huge backdrop of their latest record but they also had mannequins hanging from the light rig and some on spikes at the edges of the stage. Their stage production was headline status-worthy and musically, they played like their lives depended on it. From the opening chords of “Violent Revolution”, Mille and company had the crowd eating out of their hand. Even though it was a condensed set, they managed to pack it with all of their classics. They even threw in a couple of from their latest release “Hate Uber Alles”; namely the title track and “Strongest of the Strong”. Some other track that they performed were “Satan is Real”, “Enemy of God” and “Phantom Antichrist” but they left the best for last. Mille Petrozza got a little audience participation going when he asked them to scream out “hate” after he belted out “flag of…”. He didn’t have to coax the crowd too much as we were all primed for that thrash metal classic. To finish off the set, another classic was unleashed and “Pleasure to Kill” put an end to another great KREATOR show.
The fury of KREATOR!
Bow to the KING...
MERCYFUL FATE took no time to build anticipation for their return by having a curtain with their logo come down to cover the stage so the crowd wouldn’t get a glimpse of the stage show before they were ready. As the opening keyboards and sound effects of “The Oath” flowed out of the PA, the curtain dropped revealing a stage set with stair cases on either side of the drums, marble arches, and a satanic pentagram complete with red light-up eyes. And as an added feature, they added a neon looking upside-down cross. Thank God the band decided to go old school with actual props and not those annoying video screens that most bands employ.
The stage show was not only the aspect of the show that was old school. Aside from new track “Jackal of Salzburg”, the band stuck to their first three releases and if you are a old fan like myself, this was a dream set. "A Corpse Without Soul" was next and this was actually my first introduction into MERCYFUL FATE so I was excited to finally see this performed live and the band did not disappoint. Although I really enjoy the Shermann-Denner guitar duo, both Hank Shermann and other guitarist Mike Wead make for a great guitar team as well. During these first two songs, King Diamond wore a ram skull mask that brought a sense of evil-ness to the show. But take the mask and garb away and you are still left with a great vocalist and he sounded amazing at this show.
After a slight costume change, King came out wearing a black crown and they launched into new track “Jackal of Salzburg”. Apparently this will be on the next record which will be recorded after this tour is over and if this is any indication of the direction the record will take, then we are in for a classic MERCYFUL FATE album. It has all the drama of some of the other Fate classics. They continued the show by going back to their earlier material with “Curse of the Pharaohs” and “A Dangerous Meeting”. The crowd was treating this show like a religious experience and hanging on every work and note by the band. “Doomed By the Living Dead” was the other track performed off the “Nuns Have No Fun” E.P. and it was more brutal than the recorded version. Before I go any further, I have to say that the material performed was thunderous and that was due to the rhythm section of Becky Baldwin and Bjarne Holm. Baldwin is filling in for Joey Vera (who will be on tour with ARMORED SAINT) and she did a fantastic job fitting in both musically and visually. The concert continued with a trifecta from the “Melissa” disk in the form of the title track, “Black Funeral” and “Evil” with the latter being just that – evil.
They finished off the set with “Come to the Sabbath’ but the fans (myself included) weren’t going to let them leave just yet. MERCYFUL FATE came back for one more with encore “Satan’s Fall” and sadly, this time that was the end of the show. I really hope that I won’t have to wait another two decades to see MERCYFUL FATE on stage as I feel that they have plenty of more tricks up their sleeve. I can’t recommend this tour enough and this concert ranks as a top five show from the last five years.