Legendary Danish metallers MERCYFUL FATE are currently on an extended hiatus and have no plans to regroup for at least a year, guitarist Hank Shermann has revealed in an interview with Metal Reference.
"For now [MERCYFUL FATE's future is] a bit uncertain because [singer] King [Diamond] is busy with [the forthcoming KING DIAMOND album] 'The Puppet Master', a live album, DVD and all that," Shermann said. "But it may take a year, maybe two or three years, it really depends upon how 'The Puppet Master' is doing with sales, concerts... and King has to have a break. Otherwise it would be way to confusing if he had to resume work with MERCYFUL FATE right after finished his own stuff. Then the market would get saturated with King as a person... imagine if we had Marilyn Manson around the whole year — that would be unbearable... So, it's in the hand of King, and when he's ready we'll be there within hours... but it's been four years since the last MERCYFUL FATE release.... so, we're not sitting in the sofa waiting for King to call us on the phone. Perhaps another four years will pass, or it may be next year some time. We have no plans at this time, but I know there'll be a MERCYFUL FATE DVD release to make up for the lack of an album. It may be ready for Christmas, but we're working on it right now..."
When asked if he's spoken to King recently, Hank said, "Yes, we talk once in a while to say 'Hi', but he's busy with his forthcoming release, planning the tour, and so on, but I think I'll get his album soon... I haven't heard anything yet, and I'm excited to hear what he's done... is it good or not, haha, so I'm really looking forward for that!"
In the meantime, Shermann is keeping busy writing and recording new material with FORCE OF EVIL, the new Danish all-star band which is completed by guitarist Michael Denner (ex-MERCYFUL FATE), bassist Hal Patino (KING DIAMOND), drummer Bjarne Holm (MERCYFUL FATE), and vocalist Martin Steene (IRONFIRE). The group, were recently forced to postpone the "official" release of their self-titled debut album "until [they've negotiated] the last distribution contracts into place," are already working on their sophomore effort, tentatively due in early 2004. "We're not sitting and waiting for the first record to get out, and we want to top ourselves in what we have done so far, otherwise we'll have the same waste of time as with MERCYFUL FATE," Hank explained. "Three or four years pass by and you're doing shit! Of course you're doing other things in the meantime, but instead of sitting in the sofa, you might as well use the time for some productivity.
"We hoped for a simultaneous release of the [first] two albums, but the time schedules in the music business aren't always as you want them to be. But our first record is there, everything is ready for printing and shipping within a week, but when doing a deal with a record company, we want to be sure everything is correct, so we're not in a hurry. After all you're able to buy it online if everything else fails... but our manager [Olé Bang] is on it so it's not something that we worry about every day...
With regards to the possibility of a FORCE OF EVIL tour following the release of the forthcoming CD, Shermann said, "Well, of course we have to get our first album on the streets, but the next album is just as much of having more songs when playing live, and because we feel like doing it... and that's when you get good songs. But we have big plans, eventually for a live album, a DVD or something like that, even if that means we have to take care of everything ourselves regarding the printing, release, sales and so forth." Read the rest of the interview here.