King Diamond

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King Diamond
King Diamond live at Tuska Open Air 2013
King Diamond live at Tuska Open Air 2013
Background information
Birth nameKim Bendix Petersen
Also known asKing Diamond
Born (1956-06-14) 14 June 1956 (age 64)
Rødovre, Denmark
Occupation(s)Singer-songwriter, musician, producer
InstrumentsVocals, keyboards, guitar
Years active1974–present
LabelsRoadrunner, Metal Blade
Associated actsKing Diamond, Mercyful Fate, Judas Priest, Black Rose, Brats, Metallica, Probot, Volbeat, Roadrunner United

Kim Bendix Petersen (born 14 June 1956), better known by his stage name King Diamond, is a Danish rock musician and songwriter. As a vocalist, he is known for his powerful and wide ranging singing voice, in particular his far reaching falsetto screams. He is the lead vocalist and lyricist for both Mercyful Fate and the eponymous King Diamond. As well as being a vocalist, Diamond also plays keyboards and guitars on studio recordings but uses live shows to focus solely on his vocal performance. Diamond is renowned for his dark lyrical content on many of Mercyful Fate's albums as well as his story concepts for some of King Diamond's albums. Diamond is also well known for his distinctive shock stage persona (in particular his black and white facepaint). Diamond remains a huge influence on many rock and metal artists including Metallica,[1] Slayer[2] and Cradle of Filth.[3]


Early days[edit]

King Diamond's first heavy rock band was called Brainstorm (1974–76), with Jeanette Blum (Jean Blue) vocal and bass, Michael Frohn (Mike West) guitar and Jes Jacobsen (Jesse James) drums. King Diamond left Brainstorm and began singing with local Danish hard rock band Black Rose. It was during this time in Black Rose that King Diamond began experimenting with horror-themed theatrics as well as shaping a malevolent quasi-Satanic stage persona. He left Black Rose and joined the punk-metal band Brats where he met Hank Shermann. Soon after, the two of them were asked to help Michael Denner (also formerly a member of Brats) with his own project Danger Zone. This band included Timi Hansen and the mentioned musicians would join with King Diamond in 1980 to become Mercyful Fate.

Mercyful Fate[edit]

Following Mercyful Fate's 1984 release of Don't Break the Oath and the subsequent tour (which saw them play in the U.S. for the first time), King Diamond split ways with Mercyful Fate. With him, he took two of his bandmates (Hansen and Denner) to pursue a solo career under his own name.

Mercyful Fate reunited in 1992 (while King Diamond simultaneously continued his solo career) and recorded five more studio albums. In 2000, King decided to put Mercyful Fate on hold and continue on with his solo career. Though Mercyful Fate remains dormant, the band is still under contract with Metal Blade Records. Also in 1999, King Diamond and Hank Shermann performed the song "Evil" live with Metallica. This performance also featured King Diamond without his famous makeup. In recent interviews, King Diamond has stated that Mercyful Fate will record and tour again when the timing is right, saying "It's definitely not finished."[4]

On 01 August 2019 Mercyful Fate announced a reunion, and an accompanying European tour.[5]

King Diamond[edit]

In 2001, King Diamond worked out a deal with the band Usurper to sing backup vocals on the song "Necronemesis" in exchange for them shifting their recording schedule around to accommodate the recording of Abigail II: The Revenge. In 2004, King Diamond contributed vocals to "Sweet Dreams", which was the final track on the album of Dave Grohl's heavy metal side project Probot. In late 2005, King Diamond appeared on the Roadrunner United – The All-Star Sessions album, contributing vocals for his song "In the Fire", which featured multiple Roadrunner Records musicians (past and present) working together to create individual songs. King Diamond also guested on the Cradle of Filth song "Devil Woman" in late 2005.

In April 2006, King reunited with Mikkey Dee (Motörhead drummer) at a sold-out gig at Kåren in Gothenburg, Sweden.[6] In 2001 King referred to Dee as "one of the best drummers of all time and that's something that has bothered us since he left."[7]

King Diamond released his album Give Me Your Soul... Please, on 26 June 2007. Following the release the band received a Grammy nomination in the "Best Metal Performance" category for the track "Never Ending Hill."[8] He was forced to cancel a United States tour due to a herniated disk, causing severe back pain, which puts him in intense pain almost all of the time.[9] He attributes the problem to the long stressful hours spent working on the album.

King made an appearance at Ozzfest on 9 August 2008 at Frisco, TX alongside Metallica, performing a medley of Mercyful Fate songs previously released on Metallica's Garage Inc. album. Earlier in the day, he also performed a cover of the Pantera song "A New Level" with Vinnie Paul, Scott Ian, Max Cavalera, and Nick Bowcott.

In 2009, King Diamond was revealed to be a playable character for the rhythm game Guitar Hero: Metallica, appearing with Mercyful Fate's song "Evil." Complete the song on any instrument and any difficulty to unlock him.

On 29 November 2010, King was taken to the hospital, where they discovered several blockages in his arteries due to his heavy smoking habit. They determined that he had several heart attacks and that he needed triple-bypass surgery. The surgery was performed successfully, and on 11 December 2010 it was announced that he was at home recovering. All his musical projects at that time were then placed on hold.[10]

On 7 December 2011, King appeared on stage with Metallica at The Fillmore in San Francisco to celebrate Metallica's 30th anniversary.[11]

In June 2012, King performed his comeback concert, on Sweden Rock Festival.[citation needed]

On Saturday 8 September 2012, King appeared along with Mark Tremonti on VH1 Classic's That Metal Show discussing his surgery and various details about upcoming events.[citation needed]

King then appeared on Volbeat's 2013 album, Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies, for guest vocals on the track "Room 24."[12] In August 2013 King Diamond performed at Open Air Bloodstock Festival UK.

Slayer was chosen to headline the 2015 Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival. The bands HELLYEAH, King Diamond, The Devil Wears Prada, Thy Art Is Murder, Jungle Rot, Sister Sin, Sworn In, Shattered Sun, Feed Her To The Sharks, Code Orange & Kissing Candice also participated in the Rockstar Tour.

Other media[edit]

King Diamond was a special celebrity guest star in four episodes of the Warner Bros. adult-oriented cartoon Metalocalypse as The Blues Devil, Ronald von Moldenberg, a fast food manager, and one of the Klokateers in 2006 on Adult Swim.

Stage presence[edit]

On stage, King Diamond uses a microphone stand consisting of a femur bone and a tibia bone in the shape of a cross. King Diamond had previously used a human skull, called Melissa, on stage. In the mid-1980s Melissa was stolen after a performance in the Netherlands.

King Diamond has changed the design of his make-up often over the years. With Conspiracy, he wore a mesh of black and white line war paint, with some red "blood" made to look like a wound coming out of his forehead. With his album The Puppet Master, he used very little white and mainly had black crosses and inverted crosses going up and down his face.


King Diamond cites Arthur Brown, David Byron, Alice Cooper, Ronnie James Dio, Ian Gillan, Ozzy Osbourne and Robert Plant as his primary influences.[13]

According to King Diamond's biography on his official website, the first two albums he bought were Deep Purple's Fireball and Black Sabbath's Master of Reality.[14]


King Diamond follows LaVeyan Satanism, which he does not see as a religion, but a philosophy by which he lived even before reading Anton LaVey's The Satanic Bible.[15] Michael Moynihan calls him "one of the only performers of the '80s Satanic Metal who was more than just a poseur using a devilish image for shock value".[16] King has expressed concern that religion has led so many people to kill and destroy each other. He stated that he cannot comprehend why religion has caused so much death and destruction when it is logically impossible to prove the presence or absence of any deity. He states that he has reached a point in his life where he has completely given up believing in anything religious.[17]

Personal life[edit]

King Diamond is married to Livia Zita, a Hungarian-born singer who has made appearances as a backup vocalist on the albums The Puppet Master and Give Me Your Soul...Please, as well as during live performances. She is also his business partner, and is currently working with him to compile old footage for two planned DVD releases of King Diamond and Mercyful Fate live performances. She also helped him make remastered editions of the King Diamond albums The Spider's Lullabye, The Graveyard, Voodoo and House of God.[18]

In 2017, they became parents for the first time to a son, Byron.[19]


Metallica has performed an 11-minute tribute to Mercyful Fate and released it on their Garage Inc. album. It features five of their songs. When James Hetfield sings it, he does not sing in a falsetto like King Diamond, but in 2008 (and again in 2011, with Hank Shermann, Michael Denner and Timi Hansen)[20] King Diamond performed "Mercyful Fate" with Metallica, and put the screams in where necessary.

King has been on the covers of many rock and metal magazines and influenced many artists including Metallica's Lars Ulrich,[1] Cradle of Filth,[3] Cage,[21] and Andy DiGelsomina of the Wagnerian opera metal project Lyraka.[22]

American heavy metal band Cage devoted him the song "King Diamond" on the album Hell Destroyer in 2007.[citation needed]




  1. ^ a b "The History of Metallica". Archived from the original on 5 June 2014. Retrieved 7 March 2012.
  2. ^ "Kerry King interviewed by Metal Hammer". YouTube. Retrieved 8 December 2012.
  3. ^ a b "KNAC.COM - The Loudest Dot Com on the Planet!". Archived from the original on 12 October 2013. Retrieved 25 March 2020.
  4. ^ "King Diamond: Mercyful Fate, 'Is Definitely Not Finished, at Least in My Book'". 8 March 2008. Archived from the original on 22 April 2008. Retrieved 13 August 2008.
  5. ^ August 2019, Alice Pattillo02. "Mercyful Fate bring original lineup back to home turf in Copenhell 2020". Retrieved 25 March 2020.
  6. ^ "Motörhead's Mikkey Dee Jams with King Diamond in Sweden". 21 April 2006. Archived from the original on 1 October 2007. Retrieved 13 July 2007.
  7. ^ "Diamonds Are Forever: An Exclusive Interview With King Diamond". KNAC. 31 December 2001. Retrieved 13 July 2007.
  8. ^ a b "King Diamond Comments on Grammy Nomination". 6 December 2007. Archived from the original on 13 December 2007. Retrieved 13 December 2007.
  9. ^ "King Diamond on Tour Cancellation". 24 November 2007. Archived from the original on 13 December 2007. Retrieved 13 December 2007.
  10. ^ "King Diamond Undergoes Triple-Bypass Heart Surgery". 11 December 2010. Archived from the original on 15 December 2010. Retrieved 13 December 2010.
  11. ^ "2011 Tour Photos – 12/7/2011 – The Fillmore – San Francisco, CA". Facebook. Retrieved 7 March 2012.
  12. ^ "Volbeat Recruit King Diamond + Other Guests for 'Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies' Album". 6 March 2013. Retrieved 15 July 2014.
  13. ^ "King Diamond Interview". May 2005. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 29 August 2010.
  14. ^ "". Archived from the original on 16 January 2013. Retrieved 15 July 2014.
  15. ^ Götz Kühnemund: "'A History of Horror". In: Rock Hard, no. 82, November 2010, pp. 20–27.
  16. ^ Michael Moynihan, Didrik Søderlind: Lords of Chaos: The Bloody Rise of the Satanic Metal Underground, Feral House 1998, pp. 15f.
  17. ^ "King Diamond Interview". 27 February 2006. Retrieved 13 July 2007.
  18. ^ "King Diamond Is Madly in Love with His 24-Year-Old Wife". 4 January 2009. Archived from the original on 17 July 2014. Retrieved 20 June 2009.
  19. ^ "KING DIAMOND And Wife Are Parents Of Baby Son". Retrieved 10 July 2017.
  20. ^ "Metallica Joined by Mercyful Fate, Anthrax, Armored Saint Members for Second 30th Anniversary Show". 8 December 2011. Retrieved 8 December 2012.
  21. ^ [1][dead link]
  22. ^ "Lyraka Interview @ Louder Than Hell". Archived from the original on 2 February 2014. Retrieved 15 July 2014.

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