A night of blasphemy and true satanic metal awaited everyone at Place Bell for the grand return of metal legends Mercyful Fate.
The last time Mercyful Fate played in Montreal was in 1999 for the “9” tour. Some of those attending the concert may not have even been born to witness King Diamond and his original band sing Satan’s praise.
Mercyful Fate gathered a fantastic line-up to tour with them across North America. The lineup featured Midnight and the German thrash metal legends Kreator.
Our opening act was the fantastically energetic Midnight. They may have been the perfect band to bridge the sound between Kreator and Mercyful Fate. Storming the stage with their hooded black masks, they played their brand of satanic black metal punk songs. A short set featuring songs across their discography included some of my favourites like “Szex Witchery” off their latest release, “Let There Be Witchery,” and their timeless classic “You Can’t Stop Steel.”
The German thrash metal legends Kreator were up next. I was lucky enough to have a seat in the front rows on the floor. However, the general admission section was seated on this particular night, which strongly hindered my appreciation for one of the longest-running and greatest thrash bands of all time. Kreator played a strong set that focused a lot on their post-2010 material. Their career has had quite a rebirth as they have worked a new, more melodic thrash sound compared to their 80s roots. Some of my favourites from the setlist were the fast-paced “Enemy of God,” the excellent “Hate Uber Alles” from their newest album, and the very catchy “Satan is Real” from the Gods of Violence album.
Guitarist and singer Mille also seemed a tad bummed about the seating arrangement on the floor. Before one of the songs, he told the crowd that they usually perform a massive wall of death to this song, but tonight he wanted everyone to bang their heads as hard as they could. They finished their set with two of their classic songs, “Flag of Hate” and “Pleasure to Kill.” They offered a fantastic performance despite the lack of thrashing from the fans. Kreator told us they plan to return sometime this summer on a headlining tour. We will get to thrash and mosh to our hearts’ content with Kreator soon.
It was finally time to see Mercyful Fate once again. They hold a very special place in my heart as they were the first band I ever saw live back in 1999. I was very excited to see them on stage once more.
The set opened with “The Oath” as King Diamond came down the stairs from the stage set as some sort of satanic temple. He wore a goat skull on his head as his vocals blew all in attendance away with his trademark falsetto singing.
We were then launched into the virtuoso guitar solo intro of Hank Shermann for the classic “A Corpse without a soul.”
We were then treated to a fantastic new song, “The Jackal of Salzburg,” which fit in quite well with the older material. It has a fantastic vocal melody and a strong, slow doom-like pace to it. I cannot wait for this one to be properly recorded and released.
The set continued featuring other classics such as “Curse of the Pharaohs,” “A Dangerous Meeting,” and “Doomed by the Living Dead.” The band launched into the intro for the classic song “Melissa” as King gave the Montreal crowd a vocal performance they would not soon forget. I was amazed he could still hit those notes being in his later 60s. A fellow fan next to me had tears in her eyes as we all sang along with King Diamond to this metal classic.
We all knew the evening was wrapping up as we were getting into their biggest hits like “Black Funeral,” “Evil,” and “Come to the Sabbath.” After a short intermission, the crowd wanted one last song, the classic eleven-and-a-half-minute song “Satan’s Fall” was eagerly awaited by all the fans. I chuckled to myself, remembering that in 1999, King Diamond was telling the crowd he was too old to sing such a long song. We were offered a fantastic finale by the band as they played with passion. The crowd couldn’t hold it in anymore, and despite the metal chairs on the floor, the fans started a mosh pit in the centre alley of the floor, to the dismay of the security guards.
I greatly enjoyed the show and all of the band’s performances. I was so grateful to have the opportunity to witness a legendary band like Mercyful fate once more in my life. However, chairs do not belong in general admission for a metal show, and it was the one negative comment many fans echoed after the show was over.
Review – Jason Maher
Photos – Kieron Yates