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Last Updated: March 1, 2009 3:06 AM

KING DIAMOND Comments On 'Guitar Hero: Metallica' Game Inclusion - Feb. 25, 2009
Danish singer King Diamond (MERCYFUL FATE, KING DIAMOND) has issued the following update:

"So the black cat is out of the bag.

August 2008, just before the Ozzfest, Lars Ulrich called me with a very unique suggestion. He was inviting MERCYFUL FATE to be a part of METALLICA's and Activision's Guitar Hero: Metallica videogame. Of course I was immediately interested, it would be such an honor to be part of such a project. Lars requested that we find the original masters for either 'Evil' or 'Curse of the Pharaohs' and gave me a contact person, Scott McDaniel at Activision, to whom we should send these master tapes. I called Hank [Shermann, MERCYFUL FATE guitarist] right away and gave him the interesting news and asked him if he had any idea if the master tapes for the 'Melissa' album might still be at the old studio in Copenhagen or whether that studio might have sent the masters to Roadrunner in Holland way back when. I called Roadrunner New York to ask them if they knew where the masters might be. The big search went so far that Hank went to the old owner of the Danish studio to look through his private cellar since the studio (Easy Sound Recording) had been shut down more than 10 years ago. All searches came back negative.

"Couldn't believe our bad luck. I had to call Scott at Activision with the bad news but when I suggested that we might be able to get most of the original band members to re-record a brand new version of the songs, his response was extremely positive. The only problem was that Activision needed these masters within three weeks, so you can say all hell broke loose.

"Then I went back to Hank with this suggestion and we started trying to figure out how to do this in such short time. Hank said he would give Michael Denner [guitar] and Timi Hansen [bass] a call to see what they would say.

"Since none of us had heard Kim Ruzz play drums since 1985, and running out of time before we had even started, it became too risky to entertain this unknown scenario. We simply had to play it safe. Too much was at risk here. Therefore it was natural to ask Bjarne T. Holm who has actually been the drummer on most of the MERCYFUL FATE albums, including the latest, '9'. Bjarne has kept himself in top form by participating in all kinds of different projects, so we knew he could do it no problem whatsoever. Same scenario goes for Michael Denner, and he got back to me and Hank within a day with a big YES. Regarding Timi Hansen, he supposedly has not played any significant bass for the past 15 years, and has not owned a bass for the past 10 years. BUT, like Michael Denner, he's an absolute natural and when he came back to us with a big YES as well, we knew we had a shot at it.

"Hank made all the arrangements and booked some time for the following week in Earplug Studios in Copenhagen where all the musical tracks would be laid down. Then hardcore rehearsal started, Hank and Bjarne worked on all rhythm at the rehearsal studio, Michael Denner worked at home picking out every single note from his old solos. Timi could only listen at home since he was not in possession of a bass guitar.

"This was the time when I had the second call from Lars inviting me to join METALLICA on stage at Ozzfest for the entire 'Mercyful Fate Medley'. We also invited Hank but he could not attend due to the fact that he would have to be in the studio recording.

"Recording started with rhythm guitars and drums and then it was Timi's turn. Hank told me that Timi had arrived at the studio without a bass and Hank pointed out that the studio had an old Gibson he could try out. Timi grabbed the bass and playing with his special finger-plucking technique, both songs were laid down to tape and perfectly so, only 5 hours later. Like I said, he's an absolute natural. Hadn't lost a beat.

"Next, Hank started working on his solos laying them down note for note like the originals, with very few exceptions. These exceptions were made to enhance the old solos. It sounds so fucking aggressive. Perfect job.

"In comes Michael Denner to recreate all of his original solos. They are all note for note, bend for bend, absolutely identical feel, but with a better sound than back then. Just amazing.

"With all the music in place, and in my mind sounding better and way more brutal than the old recordings, it was my turn. I went in to Nomad Recording Studio here in Dallas, Texas, approximately one week after the Ozzfest and worked with my favorite engineer J.T. Longoria, recreating all of the old vocals.

"It was such a thrill to be back in the studio again. My back didn't allow me to do my preferred six-hour sessions, so we just cut the sessions in half, spending about 3-4 hours every recording day. It was very interesting picking out the various harmony melodies that had been done 25 years earlier and then try to recreate them in the right way.

"Next, J.T. Longoria and I mixed the two songs at Nomad in this quite unique way, which is necessary for a videogame. Meaning, these special stem-mixes where each instrument, drum, cymbal, whatever, each has its own stereo track. Also, we were not allowed to master these songs ourselves. It had to be done by Activision in order to fit all their criteria.

"We got the two songs off to Activision a day before the deadline, and they loved it. They decided to use 'Evil' over 'Curse of the Pharaohs', but I can guarantee you that 'Curse' turned out just as brutal as 'Evil'. 'Evil' was, in the end, a better song for the playability of the game.

"In the meantime, I had been notified by Lars that METALLICA had been given the opportunity to have two animated playable character guests in the game. As it has now been revealed publicly, these two guests are Lemmy and myself. I was asked to fly to California in order to be filmed with these special motion capture suits on, the same way that METALLICA was doing it. Here came the next challenge. My back would not have been able to handle a plane ride at that time, so what now? Scott McDaniel at Activision assured me that this would really not be a problem since their developers have handled these kind of issues before.

"Since the developers were in possession of our latest KING DIAMOND video 'Give Me Your Soul' and had the footage from the Ozzfest, plus a bunch of still photos I sent them, they said they had what they needed to create my animated character. It was amazing to see each stage of the development of this animated King Diamond. Along the road they asked for closeup photos of the rings, the eye necklace, and certain other items I wear on stage, so we got that to them and believe me, ALL THE DETAILS ARE THERE. I've even had the opportunity to see the animated King Diamond actually move with the music, and it's fucking eerie how detailed the developers were able to create me, crossbone mike and all.

"I noticed on various websites that there has been a few questions about the makeup. For a game, this big in stature, you end up having to compromise a little here and there. Upside down crosses on the face was not quite acceptable. Actually, any kind of cross painted on the face might have had a sense of 'blasphemy' to some of all the business partners involved in this big venture. The same goes for the upside down cross necklace.

"I do think though that under the circumstances the compromise we ended up doing works great for everyone. It's definitely King Diamond and I actually modified the makeup myself once I was told. I simply erased the crosses and modified the eye makeup to more resemble the old-style MERCYFUL FATE makeup. BUT rest assured the makeup with the crosses is THE makeup for KING DIAMOND nowadays and that goes for MERCYFUL FATE too. These days I see KING DIAMOND with the cross makeup as being the singer of KING DIAMOND and MERCYFUL FATE and should not have to change this favorite makeup of mine for future MERCYFUL FATE purposes.

"Regarding the upside down cross necklace, I think we found a perfect replacement when we exchanged it for 'The Eye' necklace. I would personally have preferred the cross makeup, but I am totally satisfied with what we all came up with.

"All in all, this has been an amazing experience to work with so many talented people, every single one of them just so pro and cool. For my part, I mostly dealt with Scott McDaniel and it's been a pure pleasure.

"Sooooooooo. Hank Shermann, Michael Denner, Timi Hansen, King Diamond and Bjarne T. Holm re-recorded 'Evil' for the Guitar Hero: Metallica videogame, August 2008. This lineup also recorded 'Curse of the Pharaohs' in that same session. We will make both of these songs available to all of you on iTunes. First though, we have to master them. We will start that process shortly. I can't give you an exact date for when they will be available at this point, but it should definitely be before the summer. I can't emphasize enough how fucking amazing they both turned out, but as I said, you will get the chance to judge for yourself in the near future.

"So this was the full story behind what I've described as big news for quite a while, I hope you find these news as encouraging as we, MERCYFUL FATE, do ourselves.

"I'll check around on the Internet and see if I can clarify any questions you might have.

"Major thanks and hail to METALLICA and Activision for letting us be a part of this totally new adventure for us."

(Thanks: NJthrasher)
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COMMENT | great shit
posted by : Prezz13
2/25/2009 11:47:25 PM

Cant wait to hear this

posted by : CraigD
2/25/2009 11:49:34 PM

That's the most ive ever read on this site, actually interesting. But Scot Weiland and his orange juice will always reign supreme.

posted by :
2/25/2009 11:51:34 PM






posted by : stoneage
2/25/2009 11:52:49 PM

Undress until you're naked....

posted by : 5142
2/25/2009 11:59:15 PM

That's doesn't make any sense...

They haven't heard Kim Ruzz play drums since 1985 but they immeditally called Timi Hansen ...who hasn't played bass in 15 years...

posted by : 5142
2/26/2009 12:06:59 AM

also..How could they lose the master tapes to "Melissa"...?

Didn't Roadrunner Records release a slew of remastered albums back 1997...?

I guess once it's pressed to really doesn't matter to keep the negatives..

COMMENT | Metallica helping kings retirement.
posted by : gam666
2/26/2009 12:14:02 AM

good for them. king rulz !!

posted by : madeinquebec
2/26/2009 12:28:23 AM

KING's the absolute best

COMMENT | Even though..
posted by : Firewind
2/26/2009 12:34:33 AM

King seems to be tacitly supporting a bunch of money hungry loudness war loving douchebags- this is totally fucking cool. Timi Hansen is UNDERATTED as well. Don't Break the Oath has a lot of parts that are at least on the par of Harris at times. Would LOVE to see a reunion of these guys. They just probably wanted to build the demand. Play the first two albums in their entirety, and then "Legend of the Headless Rider", "Egypt", "Listen to the Bell" and "Kthulu the Mad Arab Part II" and I'd die a happy man.

I fucking love Mercyful Fate and King Diamond.

Cmon, the past few KD albums have been bland anyway!


posted by : Firewind
2/26/2009 12:36:21 AM

also..How could they lose the master tapes to "Melissa"...?

Didn't Roadrunner Records release a slew of remastered albums back 1997...?

I guess once it's pressed to really doesn't matter to keep the negatives..


Remastering is different than remixing. Remixing is the process where you get the individual tracks to flow and sound good together, mastering is where you get the finished product to sound good, eqed, add effects, etc..

That said I definitely would love to see Them remixed as well as remastered.

posted by : WITCHING
2/26/2009 1:02:16 AM

"That said I definitely would love to see Them remixed as well as remastered."

So am I... I love KD and MF more than anything else, but still, "Them" sounds like shit, its production doesn't do justice to the songs... Sounds like the treble has been at the maximum and the bass has been completely shut down. Cant figure out how any human being may like how it actually sounds.... Was hoping the remastered version would be better but the result is quite bitter... :(

COMMENT | Awesome!
posted by : thrashard76
2/26/2009 1:07:13 AM

I hope King has plans on releasing a CD single or EP (w/ other bonus live, demo what ever tracks) with these 2 new tracks. I don't plan on downloading them and I'd love to have these for my King / Fate collection. I look forward to playing this version of Evil on GH: Metallica.

posted by : Metal Fisted
2/26/2009 1:44:21 AM

Guitar Hero is how King Diamond and Mercyful Fate will finally get their commercial breakthrough. Not exactly the way I would like it, but its how its happening I suppose. Though I'll admit King has a very marketable image nowadays, just that his music is way too old school for most Emo ears...

posted by : Neil Beaufort Zod
2/26/2009 4:06:46 AM

Cool, detailed explanation by King Diamond. Glad it wasn't the "great honor, blah blah blah" crap with no inside info.

COMMENT | T-boner ^^
posted by : Your Mom's Best Friend
2/26/2009 4:25:59 AM

Sorry, but the King already sold out:

"Regarding the upside down cross necklace, I think we found a perfect replacement when we exchanged it for 'The Eye' necklace. I would personally have preferred the cross makeup, but I am totally satisfied with what we all came up with."

How is this *not* selliing out to reach a larger, more family-oriented audience?

When the almighty Dollar speaks, even a classic "underground" metal legend like KD listens. Hence, this pathetic compromise.

(Then again, I never really gave a shit about his god-awful, high-pitched, annoying fucking singing in the first place. Not to mention the childish bullshit fantasy concept of satanism.)

COMMENT | no inverted cross ??/?
posted by : megal0maniac
2/26/2009 4:43:23 AM


Guitar hero and the like are lame ?
but this is as if they ''d airspray Lemmy's warts n all....

would they also digitally remove their #%@%s !?

Seriously - to hell with activision and P.C. !
We're not all christians you know - and we're offended by those family - safe alterations. Family is another word for censorship !

COMMENT | So cool.
posted by : FreedomOfSpeech
2/26/2009 5:30:53 AM

King Diamond is freakin awesome. Great detailed story and cant wait to hear those songs. Thank you King!

COMMENT | !!!!!!!!
posted by : fiendhead
2/26/2009 8:03:20 AM

I agree this is the most I have ever read here on blabbermouth , King Diamond is 100% awesome , I dont Play video games but im sure I will play this one

COMMENT | Glad to see KD get some recognition before he retires.
posted by : padlok
2/26/2009 8:23:01 AM

Whether you like Metallica now or not they still support their idols from when they were coming up. That's cool. Going the distance to put KD in a family game that's awesome. Even if KD compromised a little so what, if a handful of kids pick up one of his CD's after playing the game they will get the real KD and KD might get a few more people at his shows. WIN-WIN.

I'd love to see all the KD albums remastered so his vocals sound like the last album.

Thanks Metallica and Kevin Smith(clerks 2) for showing KD some love!

COMMENT | Hail to the king!
posted by : Nefesh
2/26/2009 8:27:11 AM

The re-recording stuff is damned impressive. I wish Timi would rejoin Mercyful Fate. Fantastic bass player.

posted by : babbabooey
2/26/2009 9:47:51 AM

It's dis-heartening to see once great underground icons like Mercyful Fate, Lemmy, Metallica, Slayer etc. Having anything to do with these lame video games. They have a right to make money of course, but this music, by it's very nature, isnt made for mass- consumption. I remember when you had to search for extreme music by tape trading, reading the underground press, word of mouth etc. But discovering the next killer extreme band was half the fun. Now every generic music listener "discovers" great bands who've been around for decades via the internet or these sorry-ass games. Gotta go. I'm gonna watch American Idol. I hear Napalm Death are going to be guest judges.

posted by : I_love_boobs
2/26/2009 11:29:45 AM

Let me tell you guys, I've heard the Evil re-recording and it's fucking great. You won't be disappointed.


COMMENT | Lost the Melissa masters??
posted by : soulflyer
2/26/2009 11:30:02 AM

How the fuck do you let THAT happen? Strange.

posted by : pinpals
2/26/2009 12:03:09 PM

I can't wait to hear the re-recordings. And don't bash a guy for selling out by getting rid of an upside down cross, if you were in the same position to get money you would do it too. And King has kept himself underground for a long time, it's about damn time that he get some recognition. First day buyer on Itunes and I love what King represents to metal, few people work as hard as him.

COMMENT | Hail the King!!!!!!!!!
posted by : RiotAct666
2/26/2009 12:22:53 PM

Can't wait to hear the re-recorded songs. and to buy GH metallica.

COMMENT | padlok
posted by : blabber hater
2/26/2009 12:24:09 PM

Glad to see someone giving props to the lastest KD album. Its his best in years and totally deserved that Grammy nomination. To those who've been avoiding King's new stuff, be sure to check out Give Me Your Soul ... Please.

COMMENT | Hail to the King!
posted by : WAR-WREN
2/26/2009 8:11:11 PM

Hopefully, this will generate some interest in MF which will translate into the economic viability of a new album.

I have no interest in GH...but I would almost be tempted to pick it up to play King!

No up-side down crosses...but the up-side-up microphone cross can stay...?!

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