2011. április 30., szombat

Mercyful Fate - Pictures of bootlegs

Mercyful Fate - fourth part

Then on April 30th, you began to work on the next release for the next 19 days, once again at Easy Sounds Studios, when did you start wrting the song for this second album, that became the excellent Don’t Break The Oath? Did the songcomposing something/somehow change compared to Melissa?
We wrote songs all along as we rehearsed after Melissa. There was no change to how we composed/arranged the songs. But the songs came pretty fast one after the other.
Were you more prepared then with the previous release?
Yes I think we were better prepared after having done it once before. We learned what not do and we knew how to improve our recording. It always helps with a little more experience. You learn things all the time.
On June 10th 1984, the band performed at the prestigious Heavy Sounds Festival in Poperinge, Belgium and beside Mercyful Fate, the bill also featured Motörhead, Twisted Sister, Metallica, Baron Rojo, Lita Ford, H-Bomb and Faithful Breath, what kind of memories do you have considering this festival?
Oh it was great. We had a lot of fun with especially Motörhead, Metallica and Twisted Sister. I remember sitting in the dressing room, when everything suddenly went black. I looked up and saw Dee Snider walking in the door to say hi to us. Man – he was big as a house and blocked the entire doorway. And of course we hung out with Metallica. When we went on stage it was early afternoon and the sun was burning down, so it was quite a sweaty performance.
Does it mean, that you did/hold a little break during the recording sessions? Did you perform some new tunes on this festival?
Was that in the middle of our recording? I can’t really remember, but you might be right. I think we played a couple of songs from the new album at the festival, but I’m not sure how many.
It was actually the first time the band played outside during the daylight, playing when the sun is shining doesn’t really fit to the songs which are quiet dark, so it loses too much of its atmosphere, but its a necessary evil as the band had to do it anyway, even though they preferred playing in the dark, how do you view it?
As I said above the sun was burning down on us when we went on stage, but we took it with good humor and made the most of it. We performed like we would have done anywhere else at night.
In May 1984, Mercyful Fate returned to Easy Sound Studios with producer Henrik Lund for the recording of their second full-length album, was it obvious for you working again Henrik with? Would you say, that you were on the same wavelength considering the work, the recording sessions?
We thought that Henrik did a great job on the first album, so it was natural to work with him again, and in my opinion it worked out quite satisfying. Don’t break the Oath is still one of my favorite albums with both Mercyful Fate and King Diamond.
How much did Henrik help for you? Did he suggest some ideas, riffs etc.?
He had of course some inputs to different things concerning the sound on the album, but the composition of the songs he never interfered with.
What about the recording sessions? Did you have a decent budget, more time to record the album?
Not really. But we didn’t need much time for recording as we rehearsed as much as we did. We knew the songs my heart and had everything worked out before we went into the studio.
Since Melissa became an influential masterpiece, a classic, were you under pressure considering the new album? Did the fans have a high expectation?
It rather think that we ourselves expected an even better 2nd album and I think we made it. I know Melissa has become a classic with many MF fans, but I still think Don’t break the Oath came out a little heavier.
It’s finally on August 10th 1984 that was released the album Don’t Break The Oath, which had to become another heavy metal classic album…Do you think, that the guitar playing is more technical, the bass and drum-work tighter and vocally and lyrically come close to the evil atmosphere King Diamond spews forth?
Yes as I mentioned above I think we were very well prepared for this album. And for my own part I had improved my bassplaying. I was far happier with my bass playing on Don’t break the Oath. And I also thing the guitars were better worked out.
The album is conceptually tight as a whole and tells a diabolical tale of Satanism, which for this era (the early 80s), was unheard of, how do you view this?
At the time when we recorded the album I found it very interesting to do a concept album, and I think King got a great horror story out of it.
The guitar solos are all unique in approach and technique and the rhythm playing is just as good as the solos, they have two very different styles yet they have a wonderful chemistry, correct?
Yes absolutely right. Michael and Hank worked so well together as guitarists, even though the are completely different in their style of playing. Michael Denner plays with a lot of feeling while Hank plays more aggressive. I’ve always compared them a little with the guitar pair in Judas Priest.
Is it correct, that many songs on the album previously appeared on some of the band’s earlier demos, sometimes under different titles, with different lyrics and arrangements? Did these songs change, develope a lot compared to their earlier, original versions? Did they become heavier?
Yes we played several of the songs earlier under different names. We worked on the songs as we rehearsed and improved some of the songs along the way. And yes I think we played the songs heavier along the way.
Some of them were actually written even before Melissa was done, such as Come To The Sabbath among others and this song, as well as The Oath were ready by the time the band did the Melissa album, but you preferred keeping it for the following album, right?
Yes thats right. We saved the songs because we thought that they didn’t really fit in on Melissa. And therefore we saved them for the 2nd album, so we could include them on the concept album.
Did sometimes the band end up in fights over whose songs were going on the album, because everybody wanted their own songs on the album?
No we actually agreed on the songs without any fights. We had the same kind of ideas about how the albums should be, and we always worked it out piecefully.
As for you, did you have a great hand in the songcomposing? Did you write your bassparts yourself?
I never wrote any of the songs, but I wrote my own bassparts. That was something I insisted on. Nobody interferes with my basslines. Of course we could talk about it if King for an example thought I did a little too much „running” on the bass when he had some singing parts. But we always worked it out without getting mad at each other.
Another song that was written for a while and ended on this album was A Dangerous Meeting, which was originally called Walking Back To Hell, and then retitled Death Kiss, wasn’t it?
Yes A Dangerous Meeting was originally called Walking Back to Hell and then Death Kiss before we rearranged it slightly and called it A Dangerous Meeting. It was mostly down to that King wasn’t happy with his lyrics and changed then a couple of times.
The song Welcome Princess Of Hell, was supposed to be Welcome Princes Of Hell, it was a title misprint, where the lyrics were correctly written in the original pressing but the title wasn’t…Is this the album that gained you real worldwide exposure? Were you on your peak at this point?
I think this album was the one that really opened op to worldwide exposure, but I wouldn’t say we were at our peak. Perhaps as Mercyful Fate, but personally I didn’t peak until the King Diamond days. By this I mean myself as a bassplayer.
Do you agree with, that, you are every bit as essential to the evolution of metal as Iron Maiden and Judas Priest?
I wouldn’t compare us to those two great bands. They are both more metal than we were. But you could say on the heavy part we were essential to the break through of Heavy Metal all over the world.
The cover of the record is one of the best one in the history of metal…
I agree with you. I think it’s become a classic and the one cover everyone combines to Mercyful Fate.
Soon after its U.S. release on Combat Records, the album became the first underground metal album to reach the Bubbling Under section of the prestigious Billboard magazine album chart; it came in at #202, just two slots of making the Top 200, was the band as „popular” in the U. S. as in Europe?
After the U.S. release we became very popular over there. I think we became even more popular in the U.S. than in Europa.
Shortly after the release of the album, the band fired co-manager John Kibble as you discovered that he recorded their gigs and sold the tapes falselly pretending these were real albums, which pissed off the band due to the lack of quality of these recordings, can you tell us more about it? Does it mean, that John caused a lot of harm for you?
That’s right we had to fire him after we discovered that he sold demo tapes and recordings, but I don’t think it harmed the band. I won’t go into details about the whole thing.
Is it correct the authorities found it and destroyed the whole lot, which represented around 5,000 to 10,000 copies? Didn’t you think about, although John earned a lot of money with the boots, this recordings spread more the band’s name in the underground?
I haven’t heard anything about police involved in this. It might have spread our name faster than it would have normally.
Mercyful Fate became self managed with the help of Ol Bang, a friend of the band who was involved with them since the very beginning, how did he end up becoming the manager?
It was natural as he was taking care of a lot of the things around the band to let us concentrate on playing.
In the following month of October, some American promotors were finally convinced to book the band for an American tour as you gained always more and more success over there, did you surprise about it? Did you have a big name in the U. S.? The initial plan was to do 15 shows in 3 weeks, but as the ticket sales far surpassed expectations, the tour was extended for 19 additional dates…Mercyful Fate headlined their own club tour, then opened for Motrhead on a trek through theatres, were these shows the preparations for the coming U. S. tour? Were they a kind of warm up gigs?
No the first tour in America in 1984 we arranged ourselves. Ole got ahold of different promoters and put a tour together, which a lot of people in the U.S. thought was a very risky thing to do, but it went well and at the end of this tour somebody must have seen our show, because we were signed to start all over on another tour with Motörhead and Canadian band Exciter. During these months we gained a big audience in the U.S. being the kind of band we were.
The band headed to the USA on October 18th, as their first show was scheduled two days later in Portland, Oregon, then on the October 26th, the band was performing in San Francisco, California, how did these shows go? How was playing in San Fransico, where the famous Bay Area scene was born and bands started popping up such as Exodus, Death Angel, Possessed etc. at this point?
The first show in Portland wasn’t great but ok. But the show in San Fransisco was great. We had Metallica on stage with us during the extra songs at the end of the show. That was a great feeling.
By the way, was it your first touring experience in the States?
Yes, we had never been to the States before.
The American Tour then ended on December 16th in Providence, Rhode Island, how about this show?
That was a small club and not many people showed up, but they still got the same show as had it been a full packed arena.
Further dates in Norfolk and Pittsburgh were canceled as local promoters were pressured by religious groups to ban the group from performing as Mercyful Fate’s reputation had actually preceded them, the band even landed on the front cover of the biggest news papers in America, USA Today and The Globe, stating in a headline Satanic rockers threaten our kids, what do you recall of it?
We all laughed about it. We couldn’t really take it seriously.
Do you agree with, that the American tour was completed with success? Did you feel good in the States? What kind of experiences did you gain during that U. S. tour?
I think we completed the U.S. tour with success. It was great to tour the States and it gave us a great experience, plus it matured the band regarding live performances.
Some frictions within the band began to arise regarding the musical direction the band had to take after that, what happened? Wouldn’t have been those problems unavoidable? Did the problems envenom the connection of the band members? Is it true, that a rift had sprouted between Hank and the other members, leading to the fabled reports of Hank wearing pink sweatsuits onstage while his bandmates still prowled the boards in black leather and spikes?
There were some differences in the opinion of what kind of music the band should do. Hank wanted to add a little funky stuff in songs for the next album, but both King, Denner and I said STRONGLY no way. And eventually it led to Hanks departure from the band. He did wear pink sweat pants on stage once or twice, but I think that was as much to provoke the rest of us, but we kept doing the same show.
Anyway, the band then came back home for a well-deserved Christmas break, but pretty short as you were booked to appear on the German Christmas Metal Meeting Tour, which lasted from December 26th through December 30th and the bill also comprised of Motörhead, Helix, Girlschool and Talon, was it a good gig by the way?
It was. We had gotten real close with Motörhead during the U.S. tour, so it was just like being with „ole friends” again. And it was a good oportunity to talk to Girlschool again.
In the beginning of 1985, the band was preparing material for their next album, did you have already some songs written or only rhythms, riffs, ideas?
At the time it was only ideas, though some riffs had been put together during our touring, but most of the material was written when we came home.
Do you something know about, that at the end of February, Hank stopped by King’s apartment to play him a tape of riffs and ideas he prepared for the upcoming album, King also had 5 tracks ready which were a direct continuation of the style displayed on the previous albums? Is the material Hank had was in a completely different direction as it was much softer and even funky in certain places?
Like i mentioned above Hank wanted to bring a funky touch to some of the songs, and King, Denner and I wouldn’t hear of it. Mercyful Fate was a heavy band, not a funky dance band.
Why did Hank want to change the band’s musical direction? Was he fed up of playing metal or…?
At the time being i think he was fed up and simply changed as a person.
How about you, Kim and Michael? What were your goals considering the band’s future career? Neither Hank and King wanted to compromise, and this situation left King with only one sensible choice; leaving Mercyful Fate and starting a band of his own, right? Is it true, that for the next month King kept his decision a secret from the rest of the band while laying out plans for a future on his own?
No. King, Denner and I had a good talk about it all and we decided to try and get an even better record deal than the one we already had, and the only way we could do that, was to close down the band Mercyful Fate. We agreed on that our fans would connect Kings name to Mercyful Fate, and that’s why we started King Diamond Band. That was King, Denner and I.
Would you say, that from this point did start forming the King Diamond Band, along with you, Michael Denner and drummer Mikkey Dee? How did he get in the picture exactly? Were you a four piece at this point?
You’ve got it all wrong. Let me tell you in a few words how it all happened. We knew Mikkey from a Danish band called Geisha, so we asked him if he would like to join our new line up. Fortunately he joined us immediately. We also got a hold of a friend of Mikkey's from Gothenburg (Floyd Konstantine) who came over and played with us for a while as we were waiting for a new contract to be drawn. By the time we were about ready to go into the studio to record the new material we agreed that Floyd wasn’t the right guitarist for our band. So Mikkey got hold of yet another friend from Gothenburg (Andy LaRoque), and he came down to Copenhagen, and we all clicked at once. So the new King Diamond band was born.
Even after its demise, Mercyful Fate was still causing controversy as in the summer of 1985, an organization, formed by American senator’s wives, called the P.M.R.C. (The Parents Music Resource Center) published the infamous Filthy Fifteen List, that was a list of the fifteen songs that the P.M.R.C. considered the most harmful for young people; among others, such as Black Sabbath, Judas Priest and W.A.S.P., but there was also Mercyful Fate on this list, regarding the song Into The Coven, were you aware of it?
Yes we heard about it, but again we could only laugh about it.
Now that the band was no more existing, Hank went on his side forming his new band called Fate, King, on his side, started on a new band simply called King Diamond, while drummer Kim Ruzz, decided to call it quits for the musical scene as he was not asked to follow King because Michael did not get along with him at all and they even had a fist fight on tour, right?
Yes Hank formed his own band and King, Denner and I continued as King Diamond Band with Mikkey Dee and Andy LaRoque. It was actually me that had not a fist fight with Kim Ruzz, but he wasn’t my favorite person. Let’s just leave it with that.
You recorded several singles and two records with the King Diamond Band, what were the differences and similarities between Mercyful Fate and KDB? Could you tell us more about both about Fatal Portrait and about Abigail?
Well the music was still heavy but with a little twist of classical music in some riffs. And as a band we developed a more theater like performance with different costumes that we thought fitted with our stage show.
Two compilations (The Beginning – 1987 and Return Of The Vampie – 1992) were released under the moniker of Mercyful Fate, did these releases keep the band’s name alive? Did the band leave its mark on the scene?
People still remembered Mercyful Fate as we toured around the States and Europe.
Would you say, that Mercyful Fate has (or would have) a place in the Hall Of Fame of Metal?
It would surely be a great honour, but I’m not sure we were big enough to have a place in Hall of Fame of Metal.
Once again you returned, as you played on Mercyful Fate’s comeback album In The Shadows, how did this reunion (comeback) come into being? How long did it take ’til King and Hank buried the hatchet?
It was Brian Slagel from the record label who wanted to reunite Mercyful Fate. So we just met and agreed that we would do this album. There weren’t really anything between King and Hank other than musical differences. We have all kept contact ever since the early days.
Why wasn’t Kim Ruzz interested in playing Mercyful Fate again?
Nobody had really talked to Kim at the time, so we found another drummer – Morten – who went into the studio with us.
Do you agree with, that everything from the early ’Fate days are here considering the In the Shadows album, such as excellent dual lead work, powerful bass, and King’s unique vocals? Is the main element that makes this album so great is the atmosphere?
I think we actually got the sound very a like a the early Fate stuff. I was quite satisfied with the album, and it was great to be together again.
How did the old, classic Return Of The Vampire make up on the record? Did you something change on the tune? Why wasn’t the song on the early Mercyful Fate classics released?
Return of the Vampire sounded just like I remembered us playing it live in the old days. As far as I remember we didn’t change anything on the song. The reason why it never made on the early albums were that we saved it for later. It didn’t really fit in the album material we wrote back then.
How did Lars Ulrich end up drumming on this tune?
Lars and the rest of Metallica have always loved the old heavy tunes from Mercyful Fate, and we knew they were on tour an had a week off in Mexico at the same time as we were in the studio in Dallas. So we called up Lars and asked him if he would like to make a guest appearence on the album and he had a quick word with Metallicas manager and called us back and confirmed. So we flew him in from Mexico together with his drum tech (my old brother in law). I had my son with me from Denmark to Dallas when we recorded, so he was very excited that he was gonna meet his uncle Flemming in America. And we had great fun while he was with us in the studio, and he actually loved playing the old Mercyful Fate classic Return of the Vampire.
Two years ago you released a two song single including Evil (2009 Version) and Curse of the Pharaohs (2009 Version) and these two songs were also be available as a limited edition 12-inch vinyl picture disk from both Metal Blade and Massacre Records, what can you tell us about this release?
Nothing really. I haven’t heard about this. I haven’t really been in contact with others than Denner and Hank for the last 5-6 years.
How about you these days? Are you still a metal fan?
I still love heavy/metal music, but these days I spend most of my spare time in the local football club FB, where I take care of our 1st teams kit and have everything ready for each training and match. We play in the 4th best league in Denmark.
What kind of stuffs do you listen to? Do you still follow what’s going on in the metal scene?
I listen to many different styles of music these days, but I still prefer heavy metal. This music can still make me drift away in my old memories og those great days. I don’t know a lot of the new young bands turning up. When I listen to metal it’s mostly the old stuff.
How would you sum up your career in Mercyful Fate? What were the greatest and the worst moments with the band? So the highlights and lowpoints?
I had some very good years with Mercyful Fate and the rest of the guys in the band. We got quite close from being so much together as we were. I think one of the greatest moments was being discovered more or less in the Dynamo Club in Eindhoven and coming back there again. One of the worst moments was the supposed tour with Manowar, who turned out to be the worst kind of fellow musicians. There was no need for them to be such big assholes to us as they were.
A Mercyful question: what your favourite Mercyful Fate songs and records? Are you proud of being the bassplayer of this legendary, influential band?
My favorite song must be A dangerous Meeting. I loved to play that song. And my favorite album is Don’t break the Oath.
Would you have ever thought that Mercyful Fate will be a great influence for a lot of metalheads and musicians?
No not really, as we were just a bunch of music loving guys who thought it was fun playing together. I’ve heard things from a lot of people after I quit the band(s) about how big influences we have been to other young musicians. I never really looked at us as being big influences, but since I’ve heard so many times from people all over the world I have started to believe that it is actually so, and that makes me VERY proud. To hear from so many people that you’ve actually meant something for them is the biggest achievement you can get in life.
Is the band’s name still big an it is in people’s minds?
Obviously. Whenever the name is mentioned when I’m with some people who doesn’t know I’ve been a part of that, they always go: what? Have you been in one of the greatese heavy bands ever?. That sometimes makes me think that Mercyful Fate has meant a lot and still does. Again that makes me VERY proud.
Timi, thanks a lot for the interview, share us your final thoughts…
Well it’s been a pleasure to share some of my thoughts about the whole world around Mercyful Fate. And it’s always great to be able to share some of my very best memories of my life. I think I had my best years with both Mercyful Fate and King Diamond band. I never regret having been a part of that and I never will. And to all the young promising musicians around: Keep up the good work, work hard and always believe that you could be tomorrows new stars. Stay heavy and all my best wishes for you all.

Mercyful Fate - third part

Is it true, that there was a priest in Denmark who really tried to finish Mercyful Fate’s career, before the first EP came out, and you had the chance of appearing on national TV in Denmark? Did it do/mean some extra promotion for the band?
No not before the first EP. But there was a priest at a time who went on to national TV in Denmark to confront King. He was left blank, because King had some really good answers to all his accusations.And yes I think it gave people the impression that we weren’t just a stupid rock band, but young guys with brains, and if that was the case it couldn’t be all that bad.
The band had the opportunity to perform their first shows outside their native Denmark under the name Mercyful Fate, the first one took place at the famous Dynamo Club in Eindhoven, Holland, on September 23rd, as the club was packed with 300 people, can you tell us more about this gig, since it was your very first touring/live experience abroad?
Dynamo Club in Eindhoven still stands as one of my favorite venues all over the world. As I told you earlier, Eindhoven became our 2nd hometown. We were blown away by the reaction from the crowd in Dynamo Club. They really took us to their hearts and we have visited friends in Eindhoven after and one summer about 6 people from Eindhoven came and visited us in Copenhagen. So we have always had a special feeling about Dynamo Club.
How did the second show, that was at Ulicoten, still in Holland, two days later go?
Again a great reception from the audience. But then again a lot of people from Dynamo Club came and saw us at Ulicoten too, so we had a great gig there too.
The next day, the band returned to Copenhagen, where they were booked to support the English all-female band Girlschool, were all of you aware of that NWOBHM movement? Which NWOBHM bands were you into?
Yes we all knew NWOBHM and have known it all the time we were playing as a band. Bands like Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Motorhead, Girlschool, Saxon, Riot, Tygers of Pan Tang and others. They were/are all great bands.
During this show, Girlschool singer Kim McAuliffe suffered an injury, right?
Yes unfortunately she was electrocuted when holding her guitar and the mike stand. She touched both at the same time and some bad electricity went through the whole PA and that’s when it happened. It was an unfortunate accident, but luckily she wasn’t really hurt by it. Only a little shocked.
How and when did then an invitation from Tommy Vance, who asked the band to record a live session for the Friday Rock Show on BBC Radio 1, in England come? What about the travel to England?
I can’t really recall how we came about the invitation, but I guess he heard about this new band from little Denmark and got interested. That's where we played Satan’s Fall live and he was very impressed.
In London on March 18th you performed your first show in England at The Moonlight Club in front of a small but very enthusiastic audience, how did the people welcome Mercyful Fate? Would you say, that you were heavier, than the NWOBHM bands altogether?
I remember this little club The Moonlight Club. There was only about 25-30 people there, but we agreed that if they had paid to see us they deserved a full show, and we went on stage and had a great time. After the show we just went down and talked to all the people there. It was like performing for a group of friends and the people there really liked out attitude and I think this helped us further on, as we were known as a bunch of really nice guys who really gave us time to talk to everyone. I think we were heavier than NWOBHM bands altogether as NWOBHM bands were more metal than heavy. Not that I see this as bad, cause I have always loved the above mentioned bands.
The band recorded the 3 songs for the BBC session: Curse Of The Pharaohs, Evil and Satan's Fall, that were recorded in only 8 hours in The Maida Vale Studios, were later mixed and produced by BBC engineer Tony Wilson, what was the goal of this recording sessions? How did these songs sound like?
What can I say. As I explained about Satan’s Fall we took it in one take. So it sounded fantastic ! ! !
You managed then to perform at The Clarendon Ballroom, also located in London…
Ah yes the Clarendon. I don’t really remember much from that gig. Sorry.
In April, after you returned home you decided to leave Rave On Records, what kind of reasons did lead to the department with the label? How much support, help did you get from them?

We were offered a better contract with Roadrunner Records and King and Ole Bang took care of all negotiations with them. Rave on Records helped us as much as they could, but the offer from Roadrunner was just too good to pass.
Having returned to Denmark, the BBC broadcast of The Friday Rock Show was aired on April 22nd and after the broadcast, BBC had so many requests for a re-broadcast that you did it, and it really helped the band a lot, it seems, Mercyful Fate conquered England and draw more fans attention to the band, right? Did you reckon to such a success by the way?
No we didn’t really expect that kind of response, but after Tony Wilson praised us for our performance in the studio, we all had a feeling that something great could happen.
Among the listeners, there was also some people of Roadrunner Records of Amsterdam, Holland, they were then interested in signing the band for a long term contract and so, they contacted Mercyful Fate in May 1983, were you the first (or one of the first) signing of the label?
I don’t think we were their first signing, but I really don’t know.
Did you think, that Roadrunner will be a better chance for the band in terms of promotion, support, distribution etc.?
It seemed like it according to the contract we signed with them.
On June 1st, the band then played a show in Copenhagen, and on June 25th, you were performing at the annually held Aardshock Festival in Holland, which bands did you share the stage with? Did you do a really triumphant performance?
I’m sorry I can’t recall which other bands played the Aaardshock Festival, but as I recall we had a great gig at the festival. I remember stumbling around on stage after having stepping on a big nail which went through my foot. But I still had a great show.
The next day you played in Bochum, in Germany, before returning home to start preparing the material for the upcoming recording sessions of their first full-leghth album, correct?
As far as I remember we played with Accept in Bochum and I lost my Flying V when our roadies forgot it at the venue in Bochum. You’re right. We started working on our new material for the first full length album as soon as we came home from Bochum.
So, on July 18th 1983, Mercyful Fate started recording at Easy Sounds Studios in Copenhagen for the 13 next days with producer Henrik Lund, which was the co-owner of the studio along with his brother, how were those songs born? I mean, how were they written? How about the songcomposing as a whole?
Normally the person who wrote the song, presented it in our rehearsal studio and we all put our own way of playing to it. The composing was done by the songwriters alone at home.
Did you have more time working on Melissa and recording the material, as you did the first EP?
Yeah the first EP was recorded in a couple of days and Melissa we had 2 weeks in the studio.
Is it correct, that the band knew the songs very well before entering the studio and made it very quickly?
Yes, as I described earlier in the interview, we rehearsed 7 days a week and could play the songs even if we were woken up at 4AM and asked to play. All the songs were in our backbones.
What about the recording sessions?
We always recorded the ground track first, them the drummer put in his drumming with guitar and bass playing along. Then I went in and did my bass tracks. Then the rhythm guitars, then the guitar solos and finally Kings singing.
As for the title of the record, it was the name of a skull the band was using at the time in their shows, and that we can see on the cover of the album, wasn’t it? Does Melissa have a story by the way?
I’m not really sure. I think i remember it all was in Kings fantasy and he just called the skull Melissa for fun and the name followed the skull and also we thought it would be at great name for our 1st album.
Do you agree with, that this record is not only influential to countless bands, but also landmark of the genre?
I have heard from several musicians, that they took big influence from Melissa and Don’t break the Oath. At the same time I would agree with you that it was kind of a landmark of the genre. We were actually the first band (as far as I know) who wrote a full compilation album – meaning that all the songs were connected as one whole story.
Everything was said and written about Melissa, so I would ask you describing the album with your own words! What kind of memories do come in mind considering this period?
Oh, I have some great memories concerning Melissa. Not as much the recording as the people around the band at the time of the recording. We had 6-8 people from Eindhoven to visit us while we were recording and we had a great time with these people in Copenhagen.
Some of the material on the album had their roots in even earlier demo recordings done during the Brats days, such as Curse Of The Pharaohs, which was originally titled Night Riders on some old Brats demo, but retitled after King changed the lyrics to it as the original lyrics were written by the Brats bassist, there was also Love Criminals, which is actually the first song Mercyful Fate ever written, that have been finally available for the first time on this album, but under the title Into The Coven, which was originally meant to be the title of the album too, how much did these songs alter compared to their early versions? Did the sound lot heavier and brutal?
I have only heard these songs from earlier recordings once or twice, so I can’t really remember them other than they sounded slightly different in the earlier days. I think they came out a lot heavier played by Mercyful Fate.
Was Satan’s Fall unaccustomed those days in terms of lyrics, structure, music etc.? Would you name it an epic tune?
Satan’s Fall is one of the most complicated songs I ever had to rehearse and learn by ear. There was so many changes in the song (32-34 I believe in 12 minutes) going from light and fast to very heavy. And fast and half beats. In my opinion it is surely an epic in heavy music.
At that time, the label asked the band to do a cover song, so the band tried Led Zeppelin’s Immigrant Song, why did ask you Roadrunner doing a cover at all? How did your choice fall on this song?
He wanted us to record a song people already knew to make more people than „just” underground listeners open their ears to Mercyful Fate. We actually agreed on Immigrant Song pretty fast. We all loved the song and we had jammed the song at several rehearsals just to warm up.
The band skipped it because you didn’t felt it was working very well, so it seems, it wasn’t recorded, but was it planned to be featured on Melissa or…? Did this song fit to the band’s musical world?
We agreed that we didn’t want to do a cover song on our album. Melissa should only contain our own material. As far as our musical world I think the song would fit in very well.
November 26th 1983 Melissa, the first full-length album was released and this was also the first Mercyful Fate effort to get an official release in the United States, as the self-titled EP was a highly sought after import, and the BBC sessions were only availlable on bootleg tapes, do you think, that this album opened the doors for the band both in Europe and Overseas?
I’m pretty sure Melissa opened the doors for Mercyful Fate overseas. A lot of people had heard our demo tapes as they floated around the underground heavy metal world in the US, so when Melissa was released a lot of people wanted to hear more of this „Satanic” band from Denmark.
In December 1983, the Black Funeral single was released, it contained a B-Side called Black Masses, which was recorded during the Melissa session, but has been deleted from the album, why? Did you have other songs written, that didn’t make up on the record?
Black Masses was saved from the album exactly to be released as the B-side of a single. It was already agreed before recording Melissa. We didn’t really write any songs that didn’t go on an album. But as we had so many songs when we were about to record Melissa we decided to save Black Masses.
What kind of goals did the Ep serve at all? Was it a limited release by the way?
It was meant to open doors for us. Yes, I think it was only released in about 1000 copies. (As far as I know).
During the same month, Mercyful Fate was booked to support Ozzy Osbourne in Copenhagen, but due to an illness on Ozzy’s part, the show was cancelled, right? Were you disappointed about it?
I have no recollection of us supposed to support Ozzy in Copenhagen. Sorry.
Later that same month, the band performed a headline show in Copenhagen as preparation for your upcoming European tour….
We played the „Salt Storage” in Copenhagen.
It was also in 1983 that Mercyful Fate first met the guys of Metallica, with whom you stayed very good friends since then and it all began when Metallica, while recording some of its albums (Ride The Lightning – 1984 and Master Of Puppets – 1986) in Copenhagen, asked Mercyful Fate amplifiers and other borrowed equipments from them, can you tell us about it?
Michael Denner and Lars Ulrich knew each other from their school days and had stayed in touch. Then when Metallica came to Copenhagen to record Ride the Lightning, they used our rehearsal room to get ready to go into the studio (which by the way was right next door to our rehearsal room). During their recording we took the guys out in Copenhagen and we had some great times going out together. We introduced them to almost everyone in the heavy/metal scene in Denmark and we spend a lot of time together. It was also then Lars found his drum tech Flemming. Flemming was my brother in law and a drummer in a local band. Lars asked me if I knew a good drum tech who could prepare his drum kit every day in the studio and get paid for it. So I asked Flemming and he was happy to get the job. Now he has worked with Lars as his drum tech for 27 years.
The European tour started in Holland on January 19th 1984 at The Dynamo, in Eindhoven, do you recall how much gigs did you perform altogether? Can you tell us more about this tour?
Again I’m sorry I don’t recall how many shows we did and where. I think Ole Bang is the right person to ask this. He might still have itenerarys from back then.
What were the highlights and the lowpoints of the tour? What kind of experiences did you gain during the tour?
Dynamo Club in Eindhoven was ALWAYS a highlight on ANY european tour. We got familiar with performing live on these early tours to get ready for our first US tour.
March 3rd, you started your UK tour supporting Manowar and originally, 11 shows were booked, but it turned out that Mercyful Fate would only play one, what happened?
Manowar f..... us up real good at the first show, so we agreed that they could tour the UK without us and went back home to Copenhagen.
On April 5th, the band played a sold out headline show at Saltlageret, in Copenhagen, was it the last station of the Melissa tour?
As mentioned above there was never a Melissa tour due to „Women of war” as we called then after they treated us real bad in the UK. But the show in Saltlageret was great.
There, for the first time, you were able to present you new chapel; a fantastic stage set in which the band had invested a lot of their earnings in their never ending quest to deliver the ultimate show for the fans, weren’t you?
Yes that was the first time we had the „Chapel” with us on stage, and what a great prop that turned out to be. It gave our live show so much more atmosphere. Everybody thought it was a great show. We were always trying to give our fans a better show every time. And it was getting better and better from gig to gig, as we ourselves got more self confident on stage and developed our stage show. At the time of the King Diamond days the show was at the best I have experienced in my musical days.

Mercyful Fate - second part

In early 1982, Mercyful Fate had recorded two 4-track demos; the first one contained Walking Back To Hell, Running Free, Black Masses and Hard Rocker, as the second one contained Curse Of The Pharaohs, Return Of The Vampire, A Corpse Without Soul and Burning The Cross, how were these demos recorded and how did they sound like?
They were both recorded in a small studio in Copenhagen as far as I remember. It’s a little blimp for me. I wasn’t really involved in the sound, but I think it sounded pretty heavy for the time, when metal was the preferred rock music, but we wanted to create a more heavy sound and I think we succeeded in this.
Is it true, that then co-manager John Kibble had been knocking on all the major label doors, but even though these demos received some attention from the underground tape-trading circuit, nobody was willing to take that big chance, although a lot of the A&R people liked what the band was doing? Would you say, that the demos helped a lot to expand the band’s popularity in the underground?
Yes, John Kibble tried all he could to get the bigger labels interested, but most of them pulled back because of our lyrics. It was too strong for them and they thought that they couldn’t release an album on their label with this kind of lyrics.
Prior to that, the band had already performed a few more headline shows and had also opened for a show of The Gillan Band in Copenhagen, on March 26th 1982, right? How was this show?
It was a lot of fun. Alone to meet Ian Gillan (one of our boyhood heroes). He was a nice guy and we had some fun together. The gig itself went very well and Gillan and his band praised us for our performance. They thought we were a really good live band and that gave us a lot of confidence to hear that from well experiences musicians.
Later on the band flew to Hull, England, to record a session for a newly established label Ebony Records, their A&R man, Daryl Johnston, liked a lot the material he heard from the band, were only Ebony Records that started showing interest in the band or…?
At the time Ebony Records were – as far as I remember – the only label interested at the time being. But other labels were beginning to show some interest.
He offered them the opportunity to do a session for 2 upcoming compilation albums on his label, right so the band then recorded Black Funeral and Walking Back To Hell and Black Funeral was included on the Metallic Storm compilation album, do you still remember about this album? Was this song your decision to be featured on the compilation or…?
I have to be quite honest. I can’t remember if the label decided or if we had any inputs to that.
It came out during the following summer, which was the first album on which the band appeared, wasn’t it?
My God I’m getting old. My memory is not what it used to be. I think we released the mini album before this – or am I wrong ? It’s embarassing not to remember – sorry ! ! !
Why Walking Back To Hell have not been used at this time for a release?
We didn’t think the song at the time was strong enough for a release.
Can you tell us more about your experiences in London?
We went into BBC radio studio to record one song live on the radio. And we went in and played Satan’s Fall direct and the studio reporter was very impressed that we could go straight into the studio and just go through a song at 12 minutes with 30 – 35 different changes and beats and do it perfect. He was very amazed. That is the thing I remember the best from our trip to London.
During the summer that followed, Benny left because of his girlfriend, and Michael Denner went back in the band, so from this point, this line-up had to remain the same until the demise of the band, correct?
Yes we stayed together until we split and called the band King Diamond band, and that was really only to get a better record deal from Rave-On Records.
Then came the Dutch label Rave-On Records, offering the band their first record deal, Rave-On Records was based in the same city as Holland’s leading heavy metal magazine Aardshock, which was a very supportive magazine of the band since hearing the demo recordings; that’s what introduced the band to the label, how did that happen?
If you want details about how the contract was landed, I’m not the right person to ask. King and Ole Bang will know this a lot better. I wasn’t involved in the meetings about the contract. I was actually only a musician in the band.
So, in the following September, in Stone Sound Studios, Holland, the band recorded and mixed, in two or three days only, the 4 songs that had to become your classic eponymous EP, also known as Nuns Have No Fun, what do you recall of the recording sessions?
I remember recording in the Eindhoven surrounds and Eindhoven became our second „hometown”. We had a lot of fun and made a lot of fans and friends in Eindhoven. We always loved to come back to perform in Eindhoven.
Do you think, that you surprise the scene with this stuff? Do you agree with, that the music was complex and unique those times? Did the EP take the underground by storm the year before, bowling people over with a mixture of elements that nobody before or since has ever matched?
I think we did surprise the whole scene a bit, because as I mentioned before the music that was very popular at that time was metal and we played more heavy stuff and at the same time we played some very complex music that most people had never really heard before in that kind of music. And that is in my opinion why we took the underground by storm.
How much did your music change compared to your early days, such as The Brats or Danger Zone? Was it a logical step becoming more complex and heavier?
Yes it came quite natural. We all wanted to get our music more complex and heavier than the other bands we played in before. We wanted to create something new and not just become another metal band.
It’s well known thing, that your lyrics are/were about occultism, satanism etc. at which point did King dig himself in these topics? Did all of you agree with King’s lyrical direction?
King always stood by his believes in satanism, but the rest of us just thought it was interesting, but we didn’t have quite the same believes as King. But when it comes to the lyrics we all agreed that the lyrics were great to create a good live show from. It was perfect to present our music with at live show that represented Kings lyrics.

Mercyful Fate interview with bassist Timi Hansen - first part

So Timi, how and when did you discover music and when did you turn into hard rock/heavy metal? What were your first experiences considering the hard/heavy rock scene?
I've always wanted to play music, but I first started out in Heavy Metal in the late 70s. My first experiences were Status Quo, Uriah Heep, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple.
When did you decide becoming a musician and how did you pick up the bass? Was it the first instrument you chose or…?
I had a bunch of friends (Michael Denner) being one of them who had a band. Their bassplayer was German and wanted to go back home to Germany, so they asked me if I could play bass. I never tried before, but thought to myself: "If I can play guitar, I can also play bass". So my first instrument was acoustic guitar.
What were your influences becoming a musician? Were you self taught or did you take regularly lessons?
Regarding influences it's the bands mentioned above. I’m self taught as a bass player.
Before being involved in Mercyful Fate, you played in Danger Zone, that was Michael Denner’s band/project after he left Brats in 1980, do you still remember, how did you get in the band? Was Danger Zone your very first act by the way?
I was in Danger Zone with Denner and a drummer and another guitarist. Danger Zone was my first heavy/metal act.
Were you familiar with Brats at all too?
I'm familiar with Brats, Hank Shermann was in Brats with Denner.
In April 1981 a demo was recorded at The Rocktape Studios, contained songs such as „M.D.A.” (Mission: Destroy Aliens), „Killed For Love” and „Not Amusing”, how was it recorded at all? How would describe the demo musically?
The demo we recorded in 1981 was songs Denner and I played in Danger Zone. The studio was a very small studio in Copenhagen and we asked King and Hank to give us a helping hand in the studio.
Is it correct, that the demo tape features King Diamond and Hank Shermann, who were asked to help out Michael? How did they get in the picture exactly? Did you try out other musicians too?
At that time they had Mercyful Fate already, but they had no guitarist and no drummer and no bassist, so they agreed to help us out, and that was the start of Mercyful Fate.
King didn’t seemed to really enjoy Michael’s songs, right? What were his problems with the tunes?
The tunes were not heavy enough in King’s eyes. And we all agreed.
A second demo was released in 1982 featuring „Persecution”, „I’m Alright” and „Death Kiss”, what can you tell us about this tape? Is it correct, that the new demo turned out so well that it became obvious that the two bands should become one, that became Mercyful Fate later on?
The second demo I can't really remember, and we were already together as Mercyful Fate after the first demo in 1981
Mercyful Fate was formed the in 1981, the very first incarnation of the band consisted of King Diamond, Michael Denner, Hank Shermann, you and „Old” Nick Smith, but the chemistry wasn’t quite right and soon, so Ole Frausing replaced Nick on drums, what happened?
Nick wasn't good enough on the drums. So we tried out a couple of different drummers and found Ole as the best of them.
Was this the only one line up change at this point? I ask it, because I read, that the very first Mercyful Fate demo was recorded at The Rocktape Studios in March 1981, featuring „Death Kiss”, „You Asked For It” and „Running Away” the line up was King Diamond on vocals, Hank Shermann on guitar, Carsten Van Der Volsing on guitar/bass and Jan Musen on drums. Would you clear the things?
I can't really answer that question. That recording they made before I came in the picture.
This new version of Mercyful Fate played their first live gig in the following summer in Taastrup, a small suburb of Copenhagen, then during the next autumn, in Herlev, another suburb of Copenhagen, the band rehearsed and played one more gig, what do you recall of these gigs? What about the setlist?
I remember the gigs, but not the setlists.
How many songs did you have written at this point? Did you constantly write new material?
I can’t really remember how many songs we had at the time, but we had enough for a couple of albums. We spitted out new material all the time. Some was put aside and some was worked on.
Did you often rehearse?
We rehearsed 7 days a week and constantly wrote new material. We were at a point where you could have woken me in the middle of the night at asked me to play Satan's Fall and I could have done this in my sleep.
Once again, another lineup change took place; Michael had some problems finding the time to play with the band because he had a day job and a frustrated girlfriend so he left the band and was replaced by Benny Petersen, better known as Bennett…Around the same time, Ole Frausing was asked to leave the band, and his replacement was Kim Ruzz, who have previously played with Benny, what did go wrong Ole with? How did you find Kim?
Yeah Michael had some problems and we found Benny who had been hanging around the band for a while. At the same time Ole was very often sick with asthma and had some problems breathing when we played, so we agreed together with Ole that it would be best for all parts if he called it quits. So we took in Kim Ruzz.
What was the band, that he played Benny with? From what kind of musical background did Kim Ruzz arrive?
Kim and Benny played in a small Copenhagen suburb band. I can't even remember the name.
Would you say, that he was the missing link, considering the line up of the band?
Is it true, that Kim Ruzz was flashy with a cool drumming style and hard-hitting playing, but was very different as a person compared to the rest of the other members and he was younger and immature but was working very hard in the beginning, always six days a week?

Kim came in and was clearly the best drummer so far in the band. He was a good drummer but as you mention he had some personality problems which interfered with our playing, and that's the main reason we didn't ask him to join us when we reformed the band as King Diamond band. But of course we got Mikkey Dee, who I still consider as one of the best drummers EVER.
How about the Danish metal scene at this point as a whole? What were the bands that started at the same time as you?
The Danish metal scene now is a bit week, there aren't that many known bands around. There are plenty of small bands but I guess only Pretty Maids are still going strong.

2011. április 3., vasárnap

Actual Playlist

1. DESTRUCTION: Mad Butcher Ep
2. MERCYFUL FATE: Melissa/Don't Break The Oath
3. SLAYER: Show No Mercy/Haunting The Chapel Ep
4. ARTILLERY: My Blood
5. INCUBUS: Serpent Temptation/Beyond The Unknown
6. SEPULTURA: Beneath The Remains
7. DARK ANGEL: Darkness Descends
8. WITCHUNTER: Crystal Demons
9. SACRED REICH: Ignorance
10. MEGADETH: Peace Sells...But Who's Buying

2011. április 1., péntek

Mad Butcher Ep
(Steamhammer 1987)

Noha (annak ellenére, hogy) egy Ep a rajta szereplő dalok és időtartama folytán nem egyenértékű, nem egyenrangú egy koronggal, az adott zenekar életében meghatározó jelentőséggel bír(hat). A teljesség igénye nélkül pl. a Slayertől a Haunting The Chapel, a Sacred Reichtől a Surf Nicaragua, a Nasty Savage-től az Abstract Reality, az Agent Steeltől a Mad Locust Rising, a Kreatortől a Flag Of Hate illetve az Out Of The Dark…Into The Light, a Sodomtól az Expurse Of Sodomy vagy a Destructiontől a Mad Butcher. Klasszikusok.
Egy-egy Ep több funkciót is betölthet. Ha kezdő, tapasztalatlan csapatról beszélünk, akkor jelzi, jelezheti, hogy milyen zenei világban próbál majd érvényesülni a szóban forgó banda, mit várhatunk el tőlük a jövőben. Ha már egy több kiadvánnyal rendelkező (esetünkben egy demo, egy Ep, két lemez), tapasztalt, műfajában, a színtéren klasszikussá avanzsálódott együttesről van szó, akkor egy Ep amolyan időhúzó, űrkitöltő, a rajongók étvágyát csillapítandó mű lehet, ugyanakkor jelentheti azt is, hogy a csapat elért egy bizonyos pontig, amikor azon kezd el filózni, hogy most merre tovább, tehát útmutató, a jövőt meghatározó funkciót lát el a kiadvány. A Mad Butcher esetében ez utóbbiról beszélünk. Köztudott, hogy az Eternal Devastation után Tommy Sandmann dobos kilépett a csapatból, helyére pedig a jazz vonalról érkezett Oliver „Olly” Kaiser érkezett illetve egy másik gitáros, Harald „Harry” Wilkens, tehát az addig trióként funkcionáló Destruction kvartett lett. Ez a lépés azt vonta maga után, hogy zeneileg egy, az előző anyagokhoz képest, még technikásabb, fifikásabb irányba lépett a Rombolás. Nemcsak zeneileg, hanem image-beli változás is bekövetkezett, az addig bőrbe, töltényhevederekbe, szegecsekbe öltözött társaság, „mezei”, hétköznapi ruhákat kezdett el viselni. Fazonilag, tehát küllemileg, abszolút illet a képbe a két új arc, sokat nyert velük a zenekar. Egyfelől a két gitár alkalmazásából kifolyólag vastagabb, keményebb lett a zenekar hangzása, másfelől bizonyítást nyert, hogy nem tehetségtelen, ügyetlen, kezdő muzsikusok léptek a banda soraiba. Egy klasszikus nóta újra felvett változatát, egy feldolgozást és két új tételt tartalmaz az Ep. A címadó dal – amely szerepelt a Bestial Invasion Of Hell demón illetve a Sentence Of Death Ep-n – egy gyorsabb, komplexebb – ha úgy tetszik átdolgozott – változatával nyit a korong. Maga a nóta a Destruction (és az egyetemes thrash történet) legklasszikusabb szerzeménye; ha csak a zenekar saját repertoárjára fókuszálunk, akkor a Curse The Gods-zal, a Bestial Invasionnel vagy az Invincible Force-szal egyenértékű darab. Alapos vérfrissítésen esett át, Harry új dimenziókat nyitott, új értelmet adott a dalnak, a két gitáros óriásit riffel és szólózik a szerzeményben, főleg a váltott szólómunka zseniális. Bizony köröket ver az eredeti változatra. Ezt követően a Plasmatics Coup d’Etat lemezén szereplő The Damned hangzik el, mely alapvetően egy dallamos tétel és amely beleillik a Destruction világába, lévén sosem mondtak nemet a melódiáknak. Schmierék remekül formálták képükre a dalt, szinte alig vettek el belőle valamit. Azt sem tartom kizártnak, hogy ezáltal fedezték fel sokan maguknak a Wendy O’ Williams (R.I.P.) vezette bandát. A megújult felállású tagság első közös szerzeménye a Reject Emotions, egy akusztikus gitárral és Schmier énekével kezdődő, majd középtempósig fejlődő szerzemény, a maga majdnem hét percével a klasszikus Destruction egyik leghosszabb tétele a Black Death-tel és a Sign Of Fearrel egyetemben, de hogy a legkomplexebb az biztos. A turnézás hátrányait (visszautasított érzelmek – ez a cím) taglaló számról azt olvastam, hogy egy thrash ballada, ami jó nagy hülyeség, mert ez egy összetett, középtempós dal, mely a Destruction koncertjein előszeretettel bukkant fel azokban az időkben. Mindkét új muzsikus parádézik benne, csakúgy, mint a többi tételben. A mai napig úgy vélem, hogy a Sentence Of Death Ep és az első kettő lemez klasszikussá nemesedésében elévülhetetlen érdemeket szerzett Tommy Sandmann, a süket is hallja a Mad Butcheren, hogy Olly mennyivel dinamikusabb, professzionálisabb és képzettebb dobos, mint ő. Tetszik, nem tetszik, ez az igazság. Végül a hangulatos, instrumentális The Last Judgement zárja az Ep-t, ez egy az egyben Harry nótája, ő játszotta fel a dalt. Nem volt meglepő a felvétel, hiszen ezt megelőzően is tett fel instrumentális nótákat lemezeire az együttes, gondoljunk a Thrash Attackra vagy az Upcoming Devastationra.
Úgy gondolom, ezzel a kiadvánnyal nem tévedett a csapat és jelezte, hogy mi várható majd a Release From Agony-tól (1988). Tehetségük, zsenialitásuk elismeréseként felléphettek a ’87-es Dynamo illetve a ’88-as Heavy Sound fesztiválon, tehát a Destruction egyértelműen a legjobb thrash csapatnak számított akkoriban. Jelen aktivitásuknak, létezésüknek is van létjogosultsága, de abban talán mindannyian egyetértünk, hogy a legnagyobb dolgokat a ’80-as években vitték véghez. Az én véleményem alapján mindenképpen.

Destruction - Eternal Devastation

Eternal Devastation
(Steamhammer – 1986)

Bevallom férfiasan, nem durrantam el a Destruction bulitól (PeCsa március), az általam várva várt varázs elmaradt, ettől függetlenül a show arra öszöntzött, hogy elővegyem a korai Destruction anyagokat és hetekig csak azokat hallgassam.
A csapat története (karrierjének kezdete) 1983-ig nyúlik vissza, amikor Weil am Rheinben Michael „Mike” Sifringer gitáros basszusgitárost keres a zenekarához, miután felhajtotta Ulf énekest és Thomas „Tommy Sandmann” Senmann dobost. Kisvártatva megtalálja Marcel „Schmier” Schirmert, akinek lövése sem volt akkoriban a basszusgitározáshoz, de ez nem zavarta az akkor 17 éves fiatalembert, hogy csatlakozzon a csapathoz. Mike mutatta meg Schmiernek a legelső hangokat, fogásokat, így emberünkből basszusgitáros lett. Ekkoriban még Knight Of Demon néven futottak, azonban az arcok rájöttek, hogy ez a név nem passzol az általuk képviselt zenei stílushoz. Destructionra változtatják nevüket, majd felveszik a Bestial Invasion Of Hell demót. Két héttel a demo felvétele előtt Mike és Ulf között egy hölgy miatt vita robbant ki, melynek következtében az énekesnek távoznia kellett. Mivel ilyen rövid idő alatt egy új énekes megtalálására rossz volt a kilátás, a srácok azon a véleményen voltak, hogy Marcel „nincs igénybe véve” a basszusgitárosi teendőkkel, így rákényszerítették, hogy ő énekeljen. (Érdekesség, a tagok a zenekari logót ruháikra festetették, Marcel azonban a sablont túl korán húzta le ruhájáról, így az egész elkenődött (verschmieren = elkenődni). Ettől a ponttól ismeri a metal történelem Schmier-ként főhősünket). A zenekar legelső koncertjét 1984-ben Altenessenben, a Sodom, az Iron Angel és a Tormentor (ma Kreator) társaságában bonyolította le. Mindenképpen fontos megemlíteni, hogy a kezdeti, Iron Maiden jellegű hangzástól heteken belül jutottak el egy súlyosabb, keményebb Venom inspirálta megszólaláshoz. Az 1984-ben kiadott Sentence Of Death Ep-t követően az 1985-ös debüttel, az Infernal Overkill-lel tették le névjegyüket a thrash metal asztalára és írták be magukat a stílus halhatatlanjai közé. Hogy mást ne említsek, a Metal Hammer olvasói az év lemezének választották az Infernal Overkillt. Az akkortájt első ízben Európában turnézó Slayer előtt négyszer is fellépett a Destruction, majd 1985. november 30.-án, a montreali Paladiumban, a Celtic Frost, a Voivod, a Possessed és a Nasty Savage társaságában (ütős névsor) a World War III. fesztivál keretén belül a tengerentúlon is bemutatkozott a banda. Lendületbe jött a csapat, melynek folyamán, 1986 áprilisában újra stúdióba vonultak, hogy felvegyék második korongjukat. A Hilpostein stúdióban, Manfred Neuner felügyelete mellett rögzített Eternal Devastation bombaként robbant a thrash metal világában, mely a Destructiont még magasabb szintre katapultálta. Ez a lemez hitelesen tükrözi, hogy a nagy német thrash hármas közül, ők voltak a legtehetségesebbek, a legtechnikásabbak. Amíg a Kreator a fékevesztett agresszióra, a brutalitásra helyezte a hangsúlyt, a Sodom pedig kaotikus volt, addig a Destruction zenéjében a dallamok, a harmóniák is komoly szerephez jutottak (pl. United By Hatred), a precizitás mindenképpen kulcstényező volt muzsikájukban. Mike riffelése, szólói, Schmier hangja, vastag basszusfutamai, a hangzás, mind-mind a csapat védjegyévé váltak illetve tették a zenekart különlegessé. Ehhez a megszólaláshoz szervesen hozzájárult Tommy Sandman dobolása is, aki semmivel sem maradt el társai mellett, az ő teljesítményét sem lehet elmarasztalni, magabiztosan játszik a lemezen. Több helyen olvastam, hogy a zenekar sokat fejlődött a bemutatkozáshoz képest, technikásabbak, precízebbek, gyorsabbak lettek, anélkül, hogy az intenzitás csorbát szenvedett volna, ami igaz is, jó magam úgy vélem, hogy mindkét korong egységesen magas színvonalat képvisel. Ami az Eternal Devastationt illeti, a Schmier basszus intrójával kezdődő Curse The Gods, a Life Without Sense illetve az Eternal Ban – anélkül, hogy a többi dal érdemeit lekicsinyíteném – egyértelműen a lemez csúcspontjai, mind a Destruction, mind a thrash műfaj legnagyobb szerzeményei. Az Infernal Overkill Thrash Attack tételéhez hasonlóan erre az albumra is felkerült egy instrumentális felvétel, az Upcoming Devastation, mintegy bizonyítva a csapatban rejlő potenciált illetve a zenészek felkészültségét, tehetségét. Image tekintetében is egységességet képviselt a zenekar, mindegyik tag dús, hosszú, göndör hajjal, tetőtől talpig bőrben, szegecsekben, töltényhevederekben, láncokban mutatkozott a három zenész a promo fotókon illetve a magas szárú edzőcipő, a fordított keresztek illetve a szegecselt nyakkarika is ruhatáruk (image-ük) fontos részét képezték.
Nyilvánvalóvá vált, hogy a banda egyre több rajongót szerzett magának, nevük egyre nagyobb lett a thrash színtéren, Tommy azonban nem kért a zenészéletből, kilépett a bandából, mivel civil életére akart koncentrálni (rendőrként dolgozik napjainkban). Mivel ekkoriban a csapat már lekötötte koncertjeit, Chris Witchhunter (R.I.P.) ült be a dobszerkó mögé kisegítve a zenekart. (A Kreatorrel és a Rage-dzsel közösen turnéztatták meg a lemezt, amely Hell Comes To Your Town néven futott). 1987-ben két új tag, Harry Wilkens gitáros és a jazz vonalról érkezett Oliver Kaiser dobos csatlakoztak a zenekarhoz, az így kvartettre bővült banda pedig egy még technikásabb, még komplexebb irányba fordult, sőt elhagyták image-üket is. Schmier eltávolítása és a botrányosra sikeredett Cracked Brain után a Destruction az Artillery frontembert, Flemming Ronsdorfot kívánta a mikrofon mögé állítani, de az a kísérlet meghiúsult. A ’90-es években mindvégig aktív volt a banda, két Ep-t és egy korongot jelentettek meg, azokra azonban kár a szót vesztegetni. 1999-ben Mike és Schmier kibékült, azóta a csapat él és virul, folyamatosan adja ki lemezeit és turnéznak. Noha a csapat nagy rajongója vagyok, mai lemezeik már nem hoznak úgy tűzbe, mint a régi klasszikusok és ugye senki sem sértődik meg, amikor azt mondom, hogy inkább a ’80-as években rögzített lemezeiket favorizálom, élükön a halhatatlan Eternal Devastationnel, amely idén ünnepli megjelenésének 25. évfordulóját.