It can be said that Force Of Evil line-up some kind of all star
line up of the Danish metal musicians?
HANK: Of course, but getting the solid line up was naturally choice
to have the dummer, Bjarn T Holm, cos we live close to each other and we
have been friends since the 80's. He is really good drummer and we have
the same kind of influences. Then the next natural choice was Hal, cos
we had always talked about doing something because we live in the same
city. That makes sense and came at the same time when we brought up
Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, we have the same background and therefore it
works so well. Martin is also into the old school stuff even though
younger. So everything fits together really perfectly.
Is Force Of Evil a serious band or some kind of project thing?
HANK: It is very serious cos projects are always a little bit
unpredictable. Project things are more like to do something and see what
happens, "let's do something and see you 10 years later"…This
is really serious and we certainly know what to do. Like now we have
eight nine new songs ready for the next album and all the feedback has
been really good. Especially living in the same city is a good thing
cause we can meet each other and we rehearse together.
But this Force Of Evil is definitely different than for example
Virus 7 or Gutrix ?!
HANK: Yeah, but those bands were a little bit more project based on
the "Let's do a project" issue.. It has always been good
tension to make a real band that would base on the success and having
ten more albums, sometimes it turns out to be a project. Now we know
each other for a long time, but in the projects it is a little bit
different cause there are five people who don't know each other that
well. They are like "lets do touring" "let's not"
and some of them may get restless and then start new bands.
The sound of Force Of Evil has a lot of resemblances from the old
NWOBHM and bands like Judas Priest and Iron Maiden … and of course you
can hear some Mercyful Fate influences.. You kind of went back to your
musical roots with this band after making those "more experimental
Hank: Yeah . It was a little different thing with Gutrix and
Virus 7 … It was still the same guitars .. and it is still the same
kind of basic classic metal sound, but this sound that we have with
Force Of Evil it was a decision what we made by using the Marshall Amps
from the 80's. We wanted to have more naturally recorded drums, not
trigged ones. We wanted more to be live and natural sound. It is kind of
old school, it still has guts at least I feel so. Also some Judas Priest
… This is the way I like to play guitar. Mercyful Fate sounds like
that, not like these nu-metal elements involved. It came very natural,
not just like to choose to have the Slayer sound. This is basically how
we sound and it was very natural. This how we sound live. Very live
Because of the Force Of Evil line up features members from both
Mercyful Fate and King Diamond and of course people start associating
and listening to Martin's voice and try to compare to each other, what
do you think of that?
MARTIN: It is a cool thing that is another thing we kinda thought
about that. Of course there have to be a lot of Mercyful Fate elements
when the guys play the guitars it comes very naturally. Of course my
voice is different than Diamond's voice. But we try to put the MF elements
into FOE. The Force Of Evil record came out for all the Mercyful Fate
When listening to the Iron Fire CD for the first time I though
your voice sounds like Lizzy Borden … ?
MARTIN: Hahahah.. Okej… Is that a good thing then ?! haha
It is ! Have you heard him ?
MARTIN: No I haven't actually
Have you, Hank?
HANK: Heh oh yeah I know, I remember that from the 80's but I had
already forgotten it…..
Gentlemen : This is legendary MICHAEL: Denner
This is getting very interesting now… Well Michael, we have to
ask some questions from you, first off how did you get hooked up by
these guys ?!
MICHAEL: I was my idea if I ever start again, so only with these guys
or then I quit. Well we had some coffee one morning and talked about it
and it came naturally. I told them I was sure that I wanted to do, so it
was very easy after all. Well of course a lot of things have happened
since those old days and I mean it is even more focus this time. I am so
sure about this concept. The only thing was to get a right vocalist,
which was after all very easy job. I mean it took one minute to get this
Do you think it is a honor for you that people say the Mercyful
Fate guitar duo belongs to the same classic metal guitar duo ala Iron
Maiden, Judas Priest, Slayer ?
MICHAEL: I think it is great to be among them .. It is great to have
someone to be related and counted on and it is like the telepathic
stuff. There has never been any discussion who is playing and what. Hank
has his own style and I have mine and we know each other. I mean, I have
been in a band as the only lead guitarist and I prefer this.
HANK: I was inspired by Judas, Maiden and so on .. That is not
something to think about. I do have my own fave guitar players and I
never think like wow !! "I was inspired by Judas Priest and other
bands as well".
Well can both of you name some of your personal favourite
guitarist then ?! Like three?
HANK: Uli Jon Roth, Michael Schenker and ..hmm.. I don't know .. Jimi
Hendrix, that kind of style is unique, Frank Marino, Yngwie Malmsteen,
especially the early stuff of his is brilliant!
And what about you Michael?
MICHAEL: Well .. Michael Schenker in the mid70's, Uli Jon Roth ……
and many others.
When you left Mercyful Fate I have understand you used to host a
radio show ?!
MICHAEL: Well actually I have run a record shop since that …
Ahh.. Is it still running?!
MICHAEL: Oh yeah very well, still in Copenhagen
HANK: You can find some Zoser Mez from there ….
MICHAEL: hahahahah yeah sure, for a lot of money !! But it is out of
print, all the stuff
I just told Hank that there was one copy on sale with 100 euros
MICHAEL: Really? That's ridiculous..
That seller guy was from Denmark….It wasn't you…?!?
MICHAEL: Hahahahahaha .. No, no…. I would take 200 Euros for that
Okay ..DVD.. Why so now, so early I mean you have only one done
one gig before this .. and you are now filming a DVD?!?
MICHAEL and HANK: Why not ?!
HANK: Well this is the first show in Europe and it just came about
and there is no point of waiting. This is what came to us and this is
the same company releasing the cd in Europe, but they are basically a
dvd company specialized in DVD releases and there are going to film
Trouble and Candlemass for the upcoming releases. So why not to put us
on the bill also.
MICHAEL: We were given a good opportunity.
There isn't that much material from the Force Of Evil CD for a
full DVD release, so hmm do you have to play something from Mercyful
MICHAEL: Well something may happen
HANK: Well maybe something…Hmm. Maybe Satan's Fall.. I don't know
MICHAEL: We will anyway play some early Mercyful Fate songs, from
Speaking about your new album, as it has been available thru your
website, when will it be published officially and by whom?
HANK: It will come out on the 26th of January thru a label called
Escapi… They are going to take care of the whole thing, by
distributing all around Europe and there will be a distribution company
in North America called Nevara as well.
And then you also have a special South American release?
HANK: It is partly released. It should be released in Argentina and
in Brazil within one month. That's because we signed a license deal back
in October with Brazil and Argentina to get it started. Agrentina and
Brazil will have different covers. The old original cover will be
replaced by a new one. All in all there will be three different covers.
Well, Martin, what is the situation with Iron Fire, cause you are
on "hold" right now?!
MARTIN: Yeah we are working on it. Hopefully we will get everything
together and start working on the next album, as it is a long time since
the last one came out.
Do you mind people are definitely saying that Iron Fire is just
another power metal band, because there are a lot of power metal bands
coming out nowadays ?
MARTIN: It is a hard thing, we started to do these things power meal
things and it was not that big and a year has passed by and we got about
a lot of new bands playing the same kind of style of music. That is
style that I write and like, melodic things. I won't change it, so that
is a kinda tricky situation right now cause there are a lot of bands
coming out with the same style. But I won't change it, cause I love this
Is it hard to pick good metal musicians in Denmark? I mean you
picked up Martin from Iron Fire ?! Well it is not big country after all
MICHAEL: No, no, it is small it is, ok .... Everybody knows everybody
and so you have to be very clear what to say to people..
HANK: If you live in Sweden, you have some more choices, but there is
only very few in Denmark it is not like the good scene in Denmark
Bands that we know are kinda old ones like Pretty Maids,
Invocator, Artillery. In general not that much bands..
MICHAEL: Do you know a band called Evil?
Yes I do know and I have some ep, but to be honest people don't
know that much about the current Danish metal scene, is it so small that
the local scene isn't big and not that much bands ?
MICHAEL: Not that much…
HANK: Well Iron Fire plays that power metal type stuff, and then us
Force Of Evil and Mercyful Fate.
And Invocator plays more thrash stuff…
MICHAEL: Yes, and of course Konhkra… We know all these guys
personally and names, it is like a network. But I am glad we were the
first to start there and that gave us a privilige…bot big But
everyones knows who we are in the secene anyway
As you mentioned this Evil earlier, but I can't help asking if
they were influenced by you because of the same kind of image in my
MICHAEL: I don't think so, they were more influenced by Iron Maiden.
They had their own image and style. These guys came out just after us, a
year or something, So I don't think they were inspired by us.
You just mentioned this connection or network between the Danish
metal people, but there is also funny connection between King Diamond
and Mercyful Fate guitar players: Shermann - Denner Denner - LaRocque
Sherman - Wead LaRocque - Wead Quite interesting combinations … hmmm..
Have you Hank ever played together with Andy somehow?!
HANK: No, well I have visited King Diamond's gig as a special guest
musician in San Francisco, but on the other than that, well we have
recorded an album at his studio in Gothenburg. He played the guest solo
on that album.
Mike now plays with both of you two?
HANK: I don't know, but right now he is in King Diamond…I don't
know if he is planning to have a new band….?? Laughter!
He has also played in Memento Mori, Abstrac Algetra and even in
HANK: Yeah even in Candlemass. He is really cool guitar player and it
is not wonder why King Diamond asked him if it is ok if Mike could play
in the King Diamond band, because of Fate is on hold. I was like yeah
why not, sure go ahead.
What is the current state of Mercyful Fate, hmm .. you formed
ZOSER MEZ back in 1991 and one thing led to another thing… Just
HANK: I don't know what the current status is actually. We haven't
talked about any thing because King Diamond is right now putting 100 %
to his King Diamond band and switching between two bands would cause
some confusion. Now it is really important for King to focus on the
Diamond thing and there is going to be a live album and dvd and so on
and another album. If we make another album, it will take years as I see
We met Sharlee D'Angelo last summer and he told he hasn't met King
Diamond for three years ..
HANK: Exactly. I talk with him kinda frequently five times a year
But at least you and King have one common thing, management; Ole
HANK: Yeah, yeah exactly he is also from Copenhagen, which is easy
for me he makes choice all we need the guy who can take care of all the
He has been responsible for managing Mercyful Fate since the
HANK: Yeah right, he is basically the sixth member of Mercyful Fate.
He has always been there. gradually he has got two managing kinda things
MICHAEL: He started out as a light man, then he has become higher and
higher in the rank. Now he is on the top.
HANK: He is the manager of Candlemass as well and also tour manager
of Deep Purple on the recent tour
MICHAEL: And Status Quo, Hank Marvin… he is very busy man
As for the touring plans of Force Of Evil, could you tell
something about it ?
HANK: Right now we don't know that too much. We are going to do the
concert tonight and have this DVD release and then will try to get some
big festivals, but I don't know what will happen with them.
But you are going down to Greece with Virgin Steele ?
HANK: Yeah in February we are gonna have two concerts with Virgin
Steel in Greece… Hmmm… Well they are not that much my style..ehh..
But I mean they are all in all ok
Well do you like Manowar then ?
HANK: Hah, actually the first Manowar album is pretty cool.. That was
different.. You know Ross The Boss was on it..
I remember having read and heard there used to be some kind of
tension between Manowar and King Diamond in the past ?
HANK: Of course that was such a tiny thing after all which was turned
upside down by the press by exaggerating the whole thing. But it was so
little problem after all.
MICHAEL: That gave really bad press for us in The UK and basically
ruined our career in England .. That happened a long time ago…
HANK: We won't go into any details hahahah..
Ok Hank, a couple of words about your "dark past" in a
band called Fate…
HANK: Fate was very good..haha.. Well actually I was the only one
from Mercyful Fate and Michael did the guest solo on the first album.
There was four albums released from that band and I was on the first two
ones. (Hank is looking at some old bootleg version of first Fate album)
Oh my god, well we were young kids back then … but the sounds on this
Fate album are terrible.
When looking at those old pics of Fate, I have to ask …. WHY?!?
HANK: Hey, it was the mid 80's, the silly thing was that after the
break up of Mercyful Fate. All these bands like Europe and Bon Jovi came
around and it was essential to have and look like this. And … I was
out of Diamond's place anyway. He was doing the second album. The
funniest thing was that in some point, cause members of King Diamond
looked like more glam than Motley Crue and it is funny how time passed
by and all those hair things like this…
Was it your attempt to get rid of this "Evil" image
HANK: No, no… To me it was always like the same guitar and the same
amplifier all the way. Of course the music was different, but the guitar
sound was the same anyway.
Well what kind of respond did Fate receive?!
HANK: It was really good actually, we got some radio play in Denmark
and the second album was released in The States and in Europe, it was
really hard time because of Bon Jovi. Then I bailed out after I got a
producer job and wanted to do it and focused on it. Then I called up
Mike and started working on the pre version of Zoser Mez thing by going
back to heavy roots. We started making more and more heavier sounds
When you left Fate, but the other guys carried on ?!
HANK: Yes with two records
Meanwhile when Hank did Fate, but you Michael continued with
Diamond on Fatal Portrait and Abigail, you didn't want to get into that
MICHAEL: Actually there was a problem because Hank and I have
something special going on between and he went on with these guys. King
called me and asked if I want to join his band so it was a kinda mixed
feeling so I wanted to do both the bands , but it was impossible, when
they recorded the first Fate album I was a guest, it was very hard. King
didn't wanna have any compromise, it was like "if you do this, you
do this, but you can't be in two bands at the same time". King gave
me to produce and write songs and co-produce the material for Fatal
Portrait, I got rights and credits in the process. Tim Hansen came in
HANK: Basically the whole thing was to get me out, it was very
obvious I mean all the other guy got in and I was not. It was really
easy to see that.
Was it like that King wanted to replace you with Andy?!
MICHAEL: No, no, no.
HANK: King just wanted to get rid of me. That's the whole point.
Michael, you left from King Diamond after brilliant Abigail album.
One of the reasons was because they changed the style and hair and so on
to be much more "glam"? That's what I've heard …
MICHAEL: Yes I did, one of reasons was the discussion in the
rehearsal room about the Motley Crue look because seriously I am not
this Motley Crue type of guy. King got out of the discussion and they
wanted to have this "new look". I was like "No way I
won't do that and left the band".
Mikkey Dee said that he left from King Diamond because it didn't
felt a real band anymore. It has turned to be just King Diamond and his
"backing band". Do you agree with him on this case ?
MICHAEL: Yeah exactly. That's another reason why I left. King was
very close to me personally and we were like a family in the beginning.
But when I left the band it broke something in the family type as well…
Mercyful Fate is always considered one of the most important bands
having influenced the current metal scene like black metal, how do you
view that and think ?!
HANK: It is cool to be sort of inspiration. Sometimes I don't get why
we would be that big thing. Nowadays we are quite light compared to the
current bands. But that is probably in more the lyrical side written by
King Diamond, not the musical side that much. But it is nice to have
that kind of respect.
Asking this because some time ago we had a extreme top 50 list and
the list became damn huge including At The Gates, Death, Kreator,
Slayer, Morbid Angel, after all Melissa and Don't Break The Oath took
the double win there..
MICHAEL: That's nice indeed
But you are not that exterme compared to other bands, unlike in
the 80's when you were extreme…
MICHAEL: Yeah back then, but not anymore, definitely not anymore..
hahah… That's ok... We had our time to be different then..
You are still listed under a black metal title, even though you
are not that basic black metal…
MICHAEL: I would prefer to call it progressive heavy metal but King's
lyrics are quite black metal oriented and old school things.
HANK: We started at the same time with Venom and they were really
well, you know, brutal…
MICHAEL: They played simpler, but comparing Venom to us is pointless.
So the gig tonight at Fryshuset, any expectations ?!
MICHAEL: Have fun of course
HANK: Good show.. We will be playing some old stuff also .. yeah!
The album is quite short whereas your running time today is longer….
HANK: We will play a new song too… And perhaps something else…
MICHAEL: Yes one new track from the next album.
As for the festival dates like hmmm… SwedenRock ?!?
HANK: Hopefully yes .We are working on it.. I like Swedenrock very
much because there is a lot of classic stuff.
Okay. Time is running out soon .. Last question … Tell us
something about your gigs in San Francisco in the old days?!?
HANK: We played there in Kabuki, Warfield and I think that was
1983/1984 and we had Metallica joining us on the stage as King invited
them. They were really drunk..
MICHAEL: Kirk came in and got knuckled by King by accident…
The official site of Force Of Evil www.forceofevil.net
The official site of Mercyful Fate www.covenworldwide.org