After roughly five years with iconic Danish metal outfit Mercyful Fate, bassist Joey Vera is stepping down in a way that both parties describe as a mutual decision. The announcement of the lineup change was made via Mercyful Fate’s official Facebook page. In the post, frontman King Diamond said he has a lot of respect for the Armored Saint/ex-Anthrax bassist.
“Our friendship and respect for each other will always remain the same, and we all sincerely wish each other the absolute best for the future.”
Vera was originally tapped back in 2019 to replace original Mercyful Fate bassist Timi Hansen. The move was made after a cancer diagnosis was announced that could affect Hansen’s ability to fulfill the band’s summer 2020 European festival commitments, which were ultimately rescheduled for 2021 before being moved again to 2022.
Most recently, Vera missed out on the band’s first North American tour in 20 years back in 2022 due to a scheduling conflict with touring plans he had with Armored Saint. British bassist Becky Baldwin filled in for Vera on those shows at the time.
As we’ve reported in the past, there’s a new Mercyful Fate album in the works as we speak. How this lineup change will affect that work is unknown at this time, though it’s entirely possible that Vera opted to wait to leave until after his tracks were finished. Only the band knows at this point.