Mercyful Fate: Coven of Dark Metal

Monday, April 22, 2024 – Movistar Arena

(Check out HERE the photo gallery of the show)

Mercyful Fate’s debut in the country at the Chile Stadium in 1998 was not what was expected. Not because of the band, but because of an amateurish and unprofessional production; We had a great revenge the following year in 1999, with a spectacular show at the Providencia Theater. Then, the band took a long hiatus, and there was not even certainty if they would ever return, but black magic did its thing and after 25 years Mercyful Fate performed for the third time in Chile, and this time not only before his always loyal fans, but also before a whole new generation of subjects who had not even been born on his last visit.

At 8 p.m., the national band Mawiza was in charge of opening the evening with its fusion of metal with Mapuche culture and the result is not only a powerful musical hybrid with sonic references to Sepultura and Gojira, but also involves ritual dance and tribal percussion which makes its staging something totally different from the usual. With a previous stage where the band was called Nadie Seremos Dichosos, releasing two albums “Tierra” (2017) and “Kollong” (2019), their evolution has remained in a constant rise, opting to sing completely in the Mapuzugun language and they are already working on her debut album as Mawiza, where ‘Awükan’ is expected to come, her personal reversal and adaptation of Metallica’s ‘Battery’ that played in her devastating and compact 30-minute set.

With a black curtain that completely covered the stage and with some minutes that seemed eternal after 9 at night, the gloomy keyboard and harpsichord notes that introduce ‘The Oath’ began to sound through the amplifiers, until the curtain fell. and the band is revealed that begins the powerful black mass with a simply spectacular entrance, with King Diamond wearing his outfits as the master and lord of darkness in a meeting of witches and witches. The stage looked spectacular, like a large mausoleum or marble tomb with its respective stairs, with the presence of the goat on an altar and from above a large inverted cross crowning everything, completed with a great lighting game and smoke effects. It must be said that Mercyful Fate came with their complete production, the same one they have used on their European and North American tour and having them in Chile was a great privilege since the band on this side of the continent will only do shows in our country and Brazil.

The total madness unleashed at the front of the stage was as chaotic and suffocating as if it were a Thrash Metal concert, and King noted this when he said that “we were completely crazy in the good sense of the word” and that is that the The reception was overwhelming, even more so when the first chords of ‘A Corpse Without Soul’ were heard, which took the madness to even higher levels, and the band creates a kind of live spell from which it is difficult to escape, especially all because of that magnetic presence that King Diamond has on stage and also because of that voice from beyond the grave that continues to be at a very high level, as he had demonstrated on this same stage 7 years ago when he performed as a soloist. On the other hand, we have that great guitar tandem with the historic Hank Shermann, King’s right-hand man in the composition, along with Mike Wead (also King Diamond’s guitarist), who fit together perfectly in both the fluid solos and in the rhythm work (although we purists will always miss Michael Denner, the other original guitarist). And speaking of the rhythm section, the drummer Bjarne T. Holm was very compact, he has not lost steam or power in his punch and the new member of the band has undoubtedly been a success and a great discovery, since the beautiful and young British bassist Becky Baldwin plays with fingers in a style completely faithful to that of Timi Hansen, the great original bassist who sadly passed away from cancer in 2019.

After cardboard, the band presented their new song, an extensive 10-minute track titled ‘The Jackal Of Salzburg’ that will soon be released in its version as a studio single and that will also be part of the new and long-awaited album in which the group has working for a long time, and the truth is that as a preview it is very good because it sounds like the band’s classic material, and precisely the entire show focused on that period, the era of the monumental “Melissa” (1983) and “Don ‘t Break The Oath” (1984), plus two songs from their 1982 EP, so unfortunately there was nothing from the band’s great 90’s albums like “In The Shadows” (1993) and “Time” ( 1994), although King told us in an interview that for future tours he was going to rescue songs from there.

The dynamics of the audience were divided between those who were fighting at the front to be as close as possible to King and those further back in a state of complete trance, under the crushing, professorial and legendary spell of monumental songs like ‘Curse Of The Pharaohs’, ‘A Dangerous Meeting’, ‘Doomed By The Living Dead’, ‘Melissa’, ‘Black Funeral’, ‘Evil’ and Come To The Sabbath’, after which the band took a short break, to return with the final stab of ‘Satan’s Fall’ and the packed ‘To One Far Away’. A show so perfect and overwhelming, so monumental of what Heavy Metal is in its purest and most muscular concept and when you think about how influential this band has been for people ranging from Metallica to Marilyn Manson, through Thrash, Black and Death Metal, the greater value you assign to what is in front of you, so on this magical night of ritual, the oath was not broken, on the contrary, it was renewed until eternity and waiting for a soon return of one of the greatest Masters of all Metal.

Cristian Pavez

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