Light the candles in the study as we open the arcane tomes in celebration of King Diamond’s sophomore album as a solo artist with the seminal work “Abigail”. An album that was released thirty years ago on this very day. It was the King’s second outing as I’ve noted but his first full length concept recording. He touched upon his sinister storytelling with “Fatal Portrait” on a few numbers but with “Abigail” a terrible tale was woven across each and every track. You can read more about the whole premise and the finer details down on the official Wikipedia entry as I always include them here.
At the time of the original release I must admit that I was not listening to much that King Diamond was dishing out. I was a very latecomer to Mercyful Fate and while some of their stuff intrigued me back then, I always felt it was a bit much for me and I leaned more towards the building Power Metal genre. It wouldn’t be until King’s “Them” album that I immersed myself more into his work. As I listened to the release once more for its anniversary, it’s amazing to find that it still holds up really well and still sends chills down your spine as the tale plays out. The whole album was written by King but guitarists Andy LaRoque and Michael Denner tossed their talents into a couple of tracks as well. The band was rounded out by bassist Timi Hansen and drummer Mikkey Dee. Andy and Dee would quickly become a lot of aspiring musicians favorites based on their his skillful playing. The King Diamond band was a quick lock for fans of the Mercyful Fate group based on that bands bassist Hansen and guitarist Denner being in the lineup with the King. Let’s take a look at the original track listing and then toss together our favorites.
Continue reading King Diamond’s “Abigail” Hits Its Thirtieth (1987-2017)
The weather outside is cold, dark, raining and pretty much chills you to the bone when it comes down to it and in all honesty that is the perfect setting on the 20th Anniversary of King Diamond’s concept album “The Graveyard”. This would be the first ever album by the King on the Massacre Records label and since I’ve already reviewed its remastered edition back when that came out in 2009, I will defer you to my thoughts on THIS LINK. Please check that out along with the Official Album Wiki entry at the close of these thoughts. I remembered liking it, but for me the best King Diamond stuff was his earliest efforts and I guess I feel that way since that was the music that found me getting interested in his brand of Macabre Metal in the first place. Take a few moments to review the tracks down below so you can recall your favorites if you had any on the album.
2. Black Hill Sanitarium
4. Heads On The Wall
6. I’m Not A Stranger
7. Digging Graves
8. Meet Me At Midnight
9. Sleep Tight Little Baby
11. Trick Or Treat
12. Up From The Grave
13. I Am
14. Lucy Forever
Continue reading King Diamond’s “The Graveyard” Spends 20 Years In The Cold Damp Earth (1996-2016)
The colors on this dark oil painting remain vibrant if it should be observed in the light but that is not always the best setting for the works of the great King Diamond. The malevolence of his creations always seem to come to more sinister life if gazed upon in the shadows and with that being said I must announce that it was thirty years ago today that the world first looked upon the “Fatal Portrait” – the first solo album by King Diamond. Though I remembered seeing it on the shelves of a long shuttered record store named “The Little Record Store”, I didn’t purchase it since this was not really the kind of Metal I was following. Truth be told the King spooked me a little back then along with Fate so I stuck to what I felt was safer stuff like Maiden and Priest. Don’t worry about this admission as I caught on not too long after and made sure I was a quick study. I’ve snagged the albums overall plot from its official Wikipedia entry and it states
“Five songs on this album (first four and “Haunted”) form a short story. Narrator sees a face in “every candle that [he] burns”. This face speaks one word to him: “Jonah”. So he finds an old book, speaks a rhyme and frees the spirit from the candle. It’s the spirit of a little girl named Molly, who tells him her story, that happened seven years before. Mrs. Jane kept her 4-year-old daughter Molly in the attic until she (Molly) died. Before, Mrs. Jane painted Molly’s portrait and put it above the fireplace, so that Molly would become immortal; however, Molly made the portrait speak to her mother, so that Jane would know about Molly’s pain. Mrs. Jane then speaks a rhyme and burns the portrait. A free spirit of Molly returns to haunt her until she goes insane.”
Continue reading King Diamond’s “Fatal Portrait” Still Gazing Intently At Thirty Years (1986-2016)
Artist: King Diamond
Title: “The Spider’s Lullabye” (deluxe edition)
Label: Metal Blade Records
Release Date: 11/27/2015
Genre: Heavy Metal
The 2014 return to full touring activity by the great King Diamond has found not only scores of his appearances breaking venue records in attendance but also a growing number of new fans to his musical body of work. In 1995 he offered up his first album on Metal Blade Records with “The Spider’s Lullabye” and this would not be a full concept album as he was known for doing in the past. The recording was remastered and re-released back in 2009 and was discussed on this website along with its companion re-issues. 2015 finds this recording being re-issued anew with a few bonus demo tracks and since my thoughts on the main body of work remain the same I am refreshing reader memory below. I’ll be back to discuss the bonus tracks afterward. Let’s continue.
“Freshly remastered by guitarist/producer Andy LaRoque, King Diamond’s 1995 opus “The Spider’s Lullabye” comes at us for another attack. It’s interesting to listen to this particular album some fourteen years later as it’s quite different from what fans of the King had grown used to him delivering, and it was also the first album to be released on his then new label Metal Blade Records. Some felt this release was the weakest offering that the King had delivered and in one sense I can agree that it is not as strong as your “Them” or “Abigail” recordings, but those are very, very hard to top when it comes down to it based on how they impacted the Heavy Metal genre and its use of Horror as a consistent genre for source material. When you play the remastered edition you will quickly realize that “The Spider’s Lullabye” is not a timid release in any shape or form, but it is different in how it begins because it starts up by offering up several small stories as opposed to one centralized theme that runs a full album. Perhaps the hardcore fans expect Mr. Diamond to only release full stories and never experiment with his own musical ideas every once in a while. Musically this is on point as longtime collaborator Andy LaRoque is in place and with subject matter that involves ghosts, serial murderers and being buried alive one can see that the switch to Metal Blade from Roadrunner Records did not find the King dulling his senses or skill at things macabre. My favorites from this part of the recording are “The Poltergeist” and “Six Feet Under”.”
Continue reading “The Spider’s Lullabye” (deluxe edition) by King Diamond
King Diamond returns and is bringing us into the world of his album “Abigail”, this masterpiece of Metal horror storytelling will have the fans thrilled and chilled to the bones. Dare you miss his invitation? That would surely not be wise. Support for this tour comes from Exodus. All tickets purchased under the Best Buy Theater naming will be honored at this performance.