Mercyful Fate is a heavy metal band from Copenhagen, Denmark. The band was formed by vocalist King Diamond and guitarist Hank Shermann in 1981. The original MF line-up shared members with another Copenhagen band, Danger Zone, whom Diamond and Shermann were helping out. By 1982, the "classic" Mercyful Fate line up of Diamond, Shermann, guitarist Michael Denner (ex-Brats and Danger Zone), bassist Timi "Grabber" Hansen (Danger Zone), and drummer Kim Ruzz was in place. Over the next couple years, the band would release an EP and 2 LPs that would cement their reputation as one the most influential metal bands of the early 1980s. King Diamond's blasphemous lyrics and theatrical stage presence would have many label the band as part of the 1st wave of black metal, although musically the band was closer to the style of Judas Priest or Iron Maiden. The group split in 1985, as Shermann decided he wanted to pursue a more commercial direction. King Diamond launched a solo career, taking Denner and Hansen with him, while Kim Ruzz disappeared into the regular world.
The band's legend continued to grow after their split. In 1993, the classic line up, minus Kim Ruzz, reformed for a new album, "In The Shadows". Hansen dropped out after that release but the group continued on throughout the 1990s. At the same time, King Diamond kept his own solo career going. Michael Denner left the band after 1996's "Into The Unknown" and Diamond and Sherman continued on with new players. 1999's "9" is, to date, the band's last full-length release. King Diamond has stated that MF has not split up but the band is on hold for the foreseeable future. In 2009, Diamond, Shermann, Denner, Hansen, and drummer Bjarne Holm (who has played with the group since 1994) reunited to re-record the songs "Evil" and "Curse Of The Pharoah" for the "Guitar Hero: Metallica" video game.