Mercyful Fate is a heavy metal band from Copenhagen, Denmark. Formed in 1981 by vocalist King Diamond and guitarist Hank Shermann, the band quickly gained recognition for their influential sound. With the "classic" line-up of King Diamond, Hank Shermann, Michael Denner on guitar, Timi Hansen on bass, and Kim Ruzz on drums, Mercyful Fate released several EPs and LPs that solidified their status as one of the most influential metal bands of the early 1980s.
Known for King Diamond's blasphemous lyrics and theatrical stage presence, Mercyful Fate was often associated with the first wave of black metal. However, musically they were closer to bands like Judas Priest or Iron Maiden. In 1985, the band split as Shermann decided to pursue a more commercial direction. King Diamond embarked on a successful solo career with Denner and Hansen joining him.
The legend of Mercyful Fate continued to grow after their split. The classic line-up reunited in 1993 for a new album but without Kim Ruzz. Throughout the 1990s, they carried on while King Diamond pursued his solo career. Despite lineup changes over the years, including Michael Denner's departure in 1996 and Timi Hansen's battle with cancer until his passing in 2019, Mercyful Fate remained an iconic force in heavy metal music.