King Diamond - Fatal Portrait (Roadrunner) 1986
1. "The Candle"
The first King Diamond album after the demise of Mercyful Fate is made up of 3/5 of the members of Mercyful Fate. Along for the ride are guitarists Andy La Rocque (who is the only member to be on all King's albums) and Michael Denner (who co-wrote 3 of the songs) and bassist Timi Hansen. That being said, the music continues in a similar style to Mercyful Fate, only without the insipid "Hail Satan" lyrics. Unlike the following King Diamond albums, this album isn't a concept disc, although the first three songs are a story within themselves. New drummer Mikkey Dee was a longtime member of King Diamond up until Conspiracy, when he joined Motorhead.
King Diamond - Abigail (Roadrunner) 1987
"Abigail" was the first of King Diamond's horror-story concept albums. The storyline is based around the ghost of a baby (Abigail) who was killed along with her pregnant mother by Count de La Fay ("Family Ghost"). The Count killed his wife in a fit of rage after she became empregnated by another man. The Count hated the baby so much that he had it delivered dead, then he had her spiked and buried. The ghost of this baby possesses the body of her great-great-great-granddaughter (Miriam) some 200 years later. Abigail is reborn through Miriam, but not until after she kills Miriam's husband. However, in the end Abigail is once again killed by the black horsemen. Musically, this is one of King's finer album, some even saying it's his best. This particular copy is the recent gold disc remaster that includes the bonus b-side track "Shrine" (from "The Family Ghost" single) as well as demo versions of three other songs from this album. The booklet includes extensive liner notes and some thoughts about the recording and the story by King.
King Diamond - Them (Roadrunner) 1988
1. "Out from the Asylum"
Hailed by most as King Diamond's best concept disc. Never having been a big fan of King's and only recently picking up a few of his discs, I can see why he created such a stir. His combination of chilling stories along with his haunting vocals and excellent technical heavy metal is downright awesome. The story is told in the first-person with King as a nine year old boy. King has an evil/mentally-ill grandmother who burns his sister Missy alive in the fireplace and later dies, or so King thinks. My particular copy of this album is a recent re-issue with two bonus tracks; the demo/instrumental versions of "The Invisible Guests" and "Bye, Bye Missy." The re-release packaging includes lyrics, a short biography, photos and the disc itself is gold.
King Diamond - Conspiracy (Roadrunner) 1989
1. "At the Graves"
"Conspiracy" OR perhaps "Them Part II." The basis behind the story on this disc is that King gets released from a mental hospital, only to find out that "THEY" are still after him.
King Diamond - The Eye (Roadracer) 1990
1. "Eye of the Witch"
Yet another tale of spooky mayhem from King Diamond. For some reason most reviews I have read about this disc are lukewarm at best. This is probably not King's heaviest disc, but it certainly is one of his eeriest taking an almost Alice Cooper "Welcome to My Nightmare" feel to it. There are several stellar tracks on this disc that stand up to anything in the King D or Mercyful Fate catalogue. Opening track "Eye of the Witch" and tracks like "Into the Covenent Imprisonment" are heavy tracks that bridge a gap between thrash metal and more melodic bands. One thing King and Andy LaRocque know how to do is to write a heavy song that doesn't sacrifice melody for heaviness. I also dig all the harpsichord-like keyboards mixed with the heavy guitars. It's actually the mixture of these two instruments along with King's haunting vocals that gives the band their eerie feel. Once again as with past discs, 'The Eye' is a concept album. The story is based around a magical necklace, called "The Eye" that gives the wearer the power to look back in time. So with that King has the freedom to travel around time with each song. First we go back to France during the days of witch hunts. The song describes a witch name Jeanne who is found guilty of witchcraft and burned alive. During the execution, the necklace hits her in the eye, and gets it's powers. "The Eye" eventually turns up in a convent in 1625 in Louviers, where a nun named Madeleine finds it. She has just arrived to this convent after having been seduced by a priest at her former convent and finds many of the same problems. Probably not King's finest story as a majority of it revolves around the craziness that goes on within this convent once Madeleine arrives. Still, why people find this disc to be a disappointment is unknown to me. It sounds like King Diamond to me.
King Diamond-In Concert 1987-Abigail (Roadruner) 1991
The King Diamond Horror Show live and in person. As printed on the back in large red letters, "The album is LIVE in the true sense of the word." In other words there is no overdubs or remixing or fixes or any other studio wizardry to make this album sound better than it does just being laid straight down to tape. So, basically what we have here is a high quality bootleg or a low quality professional live album. Either way, it's probably a must for die-hard King fans. Musically the band is actually pretty tight and King sounds like King, however, the songs are not better than the studio recordings. One of the things I always like about live discs is how much they seem to beef up the sound. For a good example of this check out Thin Lizzy's "Live & Dangerous" or Judas Priest's "Unleashed in the East." In the case of this disc, however, the sound is actually weaker than the studio albums, relegating this disc to that of a collection filler. However, I did quite enjoy the guitar solo and drum solo.
King Diamond/Mercyful Fate - A Dangerous Meeting (Roadrunner) 1992
1. "Doomed By The
Living Dead" (5:07)
A 'best of' disc that includes material from both Mercyful Fate and King Diamond, thus the name "A Dangerous Meeting." Mercyful Fate was a band I loved as a teenage. I bought "Don't Break the Oath" when I was in high school, and even painted the burning creature on the back of a friend's denim vest. (It came out killer, by the way.) In anycase, back then I was raised in a Christian home, but wasn't yet a Christian. However, even then the lyrics were disturbing to me, even though I thought King and his band sounded so completely awesome. Ignoring the lyrics for a second, these early M.F. tunes painted such a haunting picture. Songs like "Gypsy" and "A Dangerous Meeting" have such an infectious hook. Also, the production of that album, although not great, had this certain quality to it. The guitar tones themselves added to the haunted, gothic feeling of the overall sound. It's really a shame that King was pushing his Anton Levay-ish ideas on people through the lyrics rather than something more interesting like his later goulash tales. Because of this reason alone, I have never purchased any Mercyful Fate material since getting rid of my vinyl collection some 10+ years ago. This disc was given to me for free and I contemplated getting rid of it, but changed my mind after a few listens. The cd comes with a information packed booklet that gives the history of King Diamond before Mercyful Fate up until the release of "The Eye." It also contains photos of all the album covers including some rare EPs like "No Presents for Christmas." For this reason and for the cuts that I enjoy I am holding onto this disc. I am certainly a fan of King's vocal talents and can appreciate his creativity, even though I vehemently disagree with some of his lyrical ideas.
King Diamond-The Spider's Lullabye (Metal Blade) 1995
1."From the Other
Gotta admit I was a big Mercyful Fate fan back in '85 but upon becoming a Christian a few years later, I avoided both King Diamond and Mercyful Fate like the plague due to King's religious association and his continual mocking of Christianity. I only recently checked out any of his solo music on the advice of a friend who assured me the lyrical themes were more based on fictional stories in similar to H.P. Lovecraft. I'm not sure if the entire album is a concept or not, but a majority of the songs are a creepy tale of an arachniphobic named Harry who is taken to Devil Lake Sanitarium where they were to cure his head. They did so by strapping him to a bed and putting spiders on him, but they failed to remove one poisonous spider. This one spider laid eggs in the back Harry's neck which killed him. After laying him to rest in the morgue, the spider hatches and thousands of poisonous spiders are unleashed. Sort of reminds me of Alice Cooper's 'Welcome to My Nightmare" a bit. Musically King Diamond don't stray from the formula of true metal that they created for themselves. Tons of killer solos and of course, those haunting falsetto vocals of King himself.
King Diamond-The Graveyard (Metal Blade) 1996
1. "The Graveyard"
Another disturbing story here, this time about an insane guy who is falsly accused of molesting the mayor's daughter, when in fact it was the mayor, or something like that. Anyhow, the crazy guy gets out of the looney bin and goes to the gaveryard to torment the mayer and get his revenge. In the end he gets killed. Musically, the music is tight and well played, but there is nothing as memorable as on some of King's other discs.
King Diamond - Voodoo (Metal Blade) 1998
1. "Louisiana Darkness"
This was initially afreebee disc that was thrown in with a trade I did on-line. At the time I thought the music on this disc was excellent heavy metal; and King's vocals are very cool. It actually peaked my interest in his music, and thus I began the task of collecting some of his other discs. King Diamond has the most haunting falsetto voice in the world, especially on songs like "Life After Death" where the vocals are just layered on top of each other. I know I have read a ton of bad reviews on this disc, but I really can't understand why. "Voodoo" certainly sports some tight and heavy music. As with past King Diamond discs, "Voodoo" is a concept album. I am not exactly sure about the story on this one. As far as I can tell it's a story about some girl named Sarah who gets mixed up in witchcraft and then tries to get out.
King Diamond & Black Rose-20 Years Ago-A Night of Rehersal (Metal Blade) 2001
1. "Locked Up in the
This recording is basically a rehearsal of King Diamond's early/first band Black Rose complete with Danish dialogue between songs. This disc was recorded on Sept. 30, 1980, almost three years before Mercyful Fate released their first mini-LP. It's actually quite funny hearing King fronting a bar band who are writing their own songs that obviously emulate their 70's heroes- Alice Cooper, Golden Earring and especially Deep Purple. There is even a cover of Golden Earring's "Radar Love." The recording isn't top notch but isn't bad either considering when and how it was recorded. Apparently it was just recorded using 8 mics through a small board direct to tape. No mixing, no editing, nothing. Hearing those signature King Diamond falsetto wails on top of organ dominated 70's heavy metal/hard rock is nothing short of funny. Otherwise, this is mostly just a collector's disc. I can't even see the most hardcore King fan playing this one to much.
King Diamond - Abigail II: The Revenge (Metal Blade) 2002
1. "Spare This Life"
Everybody's favorite scary guy is back with yet another album chock full of monstrous tales of horror and mayhem. This time 'round, the Stephen King of the metal world brings us part two of the story of his favorite ghoul, Abigail. Personally I could care less about the storyline as this has never been what I liked about King Diamond's music. It is the music and those haunting vocal melodies that I like. "Abigail II" features more tight guitar riffing, shredding guitar solos, and speaker shattering production. As is probably obvious from the title of the album, "Abigail II" is musically quite similar to King's early albums. However, I am not sure that the song writing is as immediately catchy this time around, as it was with "Abigail."
King Diamond returns with yet another haunting tale set to some of the finest heavy metal to grace a CD. Seriously, almost every song on the album is of the highest calibur. The guitars are crisp and true to the King Diamond / Mercyful Fate style provided by Andy La Rocque and Mike Wead. "Blood To Walk" and the title tracks are two of the best songs King Diamond has ever done. he riffs and melodies on these two songs are equal to anything King has done with his band or Mercyful Fate. King Diamond's signature, ultra-high, falsettos are used minimally on this album, and mostly as background. Personally, I have always liked those high, disturbingly haunting howls. One thing that stands out on the album is the addition of a female vocalist, Livia Zita. While she is used mostly as a background voice to help illustrate the story, she still adds a dimension to the band that is quite entertaining. The story of The Puppet Master is one of the King's more gruesome horror works. It is the story of a man and his wife who make puppets out of human parts and brings them to life. Dimented is a good word to describe the storyline here. Stephen King couldn't have done it any better.
1. "The Dead"
King Diamond knows what he does and he does it well. He rarely disappoints and this album is no exception. Instead of trying to follow trends, radically change or re-invent themselves King and Andy LaRocque have written yet another solid, good, old-school King Diamond album. "Give Me Your Soul... Please" is chock full of haunting stories and choice heavy metal! Actually, it's hard to believe that there's been a 4-year gap between this album and King Diamond's last work, "The Puppet Master", as the two albums sound very similar in style and production. Female vocalist Livia Zita even returns for a second round.
Of course, what would a King Diamond album be without those vocals. King still hits those eerie, falsetto high notes, although they are used much more sparingly than on those classic Mercyful Fate albums. The guitar tag team of Andy LaRocque and Mike Wead jells together as well as they ever have. Their guitar work is excellent and seems to be featured moreso than on past albums. As would be expected from King Diamond, "Give Me Your Sould...Please" is a very enjoyable album of melodic, theatrical and cinematic heavy metal with high caliber musicianship.