Author Topic: If you HAD to rank all the King Diamond albums....  (Read 28678 times)

Offline HULKING WAR MACHINE

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Re: If you HAD to rank all the King Diamond albums....
« Reply #75 on: December 06, 2010, 08:47:47 AM »
Its impossible for me to put them in order with the exception of my top 3
THEM
Puppetmaster
Graveyard...
"Those who trumpet their sufferings are usually most deserving of agony"

Offline thegraveyardmaster

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Re: If you HAD to rank all the King Diamond albums....
« Reply #76 on: December 08, 2010, 12:13:41 PM »
Abigail
Them
The Puppet Master
House of God
Conspiracy
The Graveyard
Fatal Portrait
Voodoo
The Spiders Lullabye
The Eye
Give Me Your Soul...Please
Abigail II

Offline DasRagnar

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Re: If you HAD to rank all the King Diamond albums....
« Reply #77 on: May 04, 2015, 12:04:17 PM »
"Fatal Portrait" was a strong debut. It definitely proved that King was more than capable of churning out great songs even without Hank Shermann (who had composed roughly 97% of Mercyful Fate's music.) To be sure, the songs were more straightforward and less intricate. There were fewer time changes and overall, the feel was a lot less dark than Mercyful Fate's sound but King began laying the foundation for his solo career and the interwoven storylines and harmonic guitar runs became some of the staples of the King Diamond band. To compare "Fatal Portrait" today to the brilliance of King's solo material that came later is to sell the songs short. In its own right, it's actually a very solid album and songs like "Halloween" and "Charon" are some of the highlights of King's early solo career. Whereas Shermann and Denner had been playing together for years, Denner and La Rocque were still finding their footing with one another as a team when this album was recorded. Why "The Lake" was left out of the original pressing, I never understood. What a great song. My favorite track though has got to be "Haunted" - great riff, King's wailing vocal line is spine-tingling. The trilogy of "The Candle", "The Jonah" and "The Portrait" (and I suppose "Haunted" ought to connect as well), may not have the wow factor that later King creations had, but I can still come back to these songs and see them for what they are, as a great milestone in King's career as a songwriter and as a benchmark for the band itself.

"Abigail" has long been considered the highlight of King's solo career, and for good reason. The storyline is epic and gripping. The songs are dark, heavy, the arrangements and the production are phenomenal. Even the cover art is amazing. "Arrival" is probably the quintessential King Diamond track. "A Mansion In Darkness" was Mikkey Dee's finest hour. The intro was creepy and really drew the listener in while the closer "Black Horsemen" would serve as the best farewell sendoff for when King Diamond (hopefully many, many years from now) finally bids us all goodbye. The guitar duo of La Rocque and Denner was immortalized on this record, they officially joined the ranks of some of the finest dual guitar combinations of all time with this album. "Fatal Portrait" may have served to show that King was definitely back in action after the Mercyful Fate split, but "Abigail" was what showed everyone just where he was going from there. Hands down, this album deserves a spot on any top ten list of the greatest heavy metal albums of all time.

"Them" was a milestone as it marked the departure of Michael Denner thus making it the first album of King's career not to feature at least one guitarist from the Mercyful Fate era. But Pete Blakk was a "guitarist's guitarist" and the chemistry that he shared with La Rocque was something that Denner really couldn't lay claim to in the same fashion. As heavy as the songs on "Them" get, overall, it's a fairly progressive effort. Many of the riffs and the arrangements seemed a bit strange, maybe even a bit lacking upon the first listen. While the guitar sound is crisp, the drums sounded a bit out of place, almost as if the album had been recorded without them and they were thrown into the mix afterwards in almost a slipshod manner. But after repeated listens, I was convinced that while the songs themselves aren't better than those on "Abigail" the quality of the songwriting is actually far superior. The storyline is equally engrossing and detailed. "Them" serves as the first half of what is arguably the most iconic plot that King has ever spun for his fans. Personally, I think that the riffs and the guitar leads are just brilliant on this record. I will never forget listening to this record for the first time and being instantly hooked. I remember how I would sit there with the liner notes for the record while I listened, the little symbols used to denote whether it was Andy or Pete taking the solo. Another fantastic album cover too. "Them" was another highlight in King's career and some of those tracks have become integral staples at King Diamond shows. You can't see King live without hearing songs like "Welcome Home" and "The Invisible Guests" but the rest of the album is best enjoyed through a great set of headphones. Great stuff.

"Conspiracy" was my favorite King Diamond album for many years. When I was younger, it really appealed to me. I was excited to learn about what happened in the aftermath of the events of "Them" which was a huge treat. The album had a much darker feel than its predecessor, it was infinitely heavier, the riffs were more memorable, the arrangements more straightforward. Even the production was better. So why did I change my mind about this album? Why is it that when I listen to it today, I feel like it doesn't hold up to some of King's other albums? Well, for starters, a lot of it is flash-in-the-pan when you hear it for the first time. The songs are heavy, the second half of the story is a lot more gripping than the first half - those things are true. But I don't think that "Conspiracy" has the same wherewithal that "Them" has. Sure, I can go back and listen to this record again and again. But I don't tend to notice slight little differences and tiny things that I never noticed before the way I can with "Them." The songs are good, they're memorable and they're great to listen to but they don't have the same intricacy and the same sense of layered mystique that the tracks on "Them" have. They're a lot more linear and less distinct from one another. This 1989 album was a fantastic way for King to say farewell to a decade that had seen the very best that metal had to offer the world and King himself played a role in that much larger than that of many of the others who tend to receive more credit today. But I think King was releasing more iconic material, material that defined him as an artist in the early and mid 1980's than he was at the end and maybe that's the point I've been building to. "Conspiracy" was originally heralded as the heaviest King Diamond album to date, his best since "Abigail", while for me today, it marked the end of the beginning for the King Diamond band and the start of a new era.

"The Eye" to me, musically, has always had a lot more in common with "Them" than it ever had with "Conspiracy." I didn't like this record all that much when I first listened to it many years ago. Part of that may have been that the production was weak compared to "Conspiracy" - the guitar sound wasn't nearly as dark or as resonating. The drum sound was weak and took away from the overall energy of the tracks on "The Eye." While certainly sinister, the fact that the storyline on "The Eye" was based on real people and events did very little to draw fans in the way the epic plot to "Them" and "Conspiracy" had done. But again, it's a work that's capable of growing on you with time if you give it the chance to do so. I think the big problem that I had with "The Eye" was that unlike all of King's other albums, there was no defining track on "The Eye." Despite the fact that I've changed my opinion countless times regarding my favorite song from each record, no matter how many times I listened to "The Eye" not a single one seemed to rise perceptibly above the others. As a guitarist myself, I decided to look into learning how to play them anyway. In those days, long before tablature and sheet music were widely available, the only option for learning King's songs was to pick them up by ear. And so I began listening to this record over and over again attempting to pick up the riffs one by one. By the time I got to "Father Picard" I was in love with this album. Pete Blakk had always been a workhorse for King Diamond. To say that someone could hold his own opposite a guitarist like Andy is a huge honor and no one had any reservations when it came to admitting that about Pete. But here's the thing: "The Eye" made me realize that Pete Blakk was unbelievable in his own right. Up until "Conspiracy" King and Andy wrote all of the music together. But Pete Blakk's contributions to "The Eye" were fantastic. Sure, his composition style was a lot more progressive and a lot less dark than most of King's material, but Pete brought something fresh and new to the songs and that made up for the fact that they weren't as in-your-face heavy as the songs on the previous record. Maybe "The Eye" didn't produce any classics, I'll give its critics that much. But it did display a level of musicianship that previous efforts practically only hinted at in comparison. The flashes of genius on "The Eye" really make the whole thing worth it.

We come now to "The Spider's Lullabye." Released in 1995, this album came five years after the one that had preceded it. A lot had happened in that five years and undoubtedly, those events played no small role in determining that "The Spider's Lullabye" would be remembered as arguably the weakest and most forgettable of King's solo career. Personally, I have zero qualms about saying straight away that in my humble opinion, "The Spider's Lullabye" IS the weakest and most forgettable record of King's solo career. I'll tell you why. When Mercyful Fate reunited in 1993 to release "In The Shadows", fans were absolutely ecstatic. 1994 was the release of a follow-up effort, "Time." To critique both works and to compare them not only to one another but also to the glory days of Mercyful Fate a decade before is something better saved for another time. But suffice it to say that King's heavy involvement in the Mercyful Fate reunion and the fact that he dedicated such time and effort to composing, recording and touring with Mercyful Fate definitely impacted "The Spider's Lullabye" negatively. I remember as though it were yesterday clenching the liner notes of my newly purchased "In The Shadows" record and reading the list of people that King wished to thank. I remember tingling with anticipation at the mention of "The Spider's Lullabye" and the names of the mysterious new members of the band. Years later, I purchased "The Spider's Lullabye" on the day of its release and literally ran home to listen to it straight away. Like any new record from King, you really can't help but be in awe of it initially, but even during a second listen, it becomes apparent that the songs themselves are critically lacking when compared to the real gems in King's discography. I think that the reliving of the Mercyful Fate days definitely had a major effect on the songwriting for King. And despite the fact that Mercyful Fate has always been, is now and forever shall be my favorite band of all time, I was a little disappointed that "The Spider's Lullabye" was such a departure for King. As a huge fan of both bands, I respect and admire both the similarities and the differences. But part of loving King's solo material is embracing some of those major differences and I honestly feel even today that "The Spider's Lullabye" was a real departure from what King Diamond has always done best. The songs are fairly weak. Some of the riffs are great but the songs themselves are pretty formulaic and they really don't knock your socks of. King's vocals are absolutely brilliant here and there, notably on "Moonlight" and the guitar leads are great throughout despite the fact that each track was mixed differently and has a different overall feel and energy to it. I had been looking forward to this mysterious 'Herb Simonsen's' debut and he didn't disappoint but it left me wondering what another record with Pete Blakk might have been like. Simonsen was more than capable (and believe it or not, I've also forged a friendship with him over the years - he's a great guy, he really is and I love talking music with him) but even though he threw himself into it with everything that he had, I don't feel like he and Andy ever developed the same ability to feed off of one another that Andy had with Pete. Herb was a great session player. He wasn't much for the grueling nature of being on the road and he wasn't keen to throw his hat into the ring as a contributing songwriter which was also okay. But "The Spider's Lullabye" should have been a much stronger effort for the amount of time that King kept us all waiting and it simply isn't really an album that compares to King's real treasures. Sorry, "The Spider's Lullabye", while not terrible, you're definitely number 19 on my list, hands down.

"The Graveyard" has always reminded me of a modern, updated, souped-up version of "Them." While the production is far better (it retains the crisp guitar sound without sacrificing any of the crunch), the songs themselves aren't nearly as interesting to deconstruct and analyze. The story is also probably my least favorite of any of King's plotlines. Forgive me, I can't put my finger on why, but haunted paintings, ancient curses which result in newborn babies devouring their mothers alive, demon-possessed grandmothers who induce family murder, evil priests and psychiatrists conspiring to murder, lascivious priests who engage in unspeakable ritual murder, rape and torture, crippling arachnophobia, all of these things I can accept but I had a difficult time with King's venture into child molestation. As dark a topic as it is, I'm not certain it's something that deserves an entire concept album devoted to it. That being said, the progressive feel of the album was a big departure from "The Spider's Lullabye" and in my opinion, taking things in any direction which differed from what they had done on that album could only be seen as a good thing. Andy and Herb seemed to have much better chemistry this time around. The songs were far more complex and the layering to the tracks was a real treat. I actually really like some of the songs on this album and I think that they hold up with the best of King's catalogue. They translated to the stage well. Overall, a very enjoyable album. While not as intricate as the songs on "Them", the songs on "The Graveyard" have an energy and a flow that those on "The Eye" failed to achieve. "The Graveyard" was easily King's best album in nearly a decade. Solid effort.

"Voodoo" really is a great album. The story is wonderful. Filled with colorful characters, it hearkens back to the glory days of King's creepy and intricate plots. It's extremely heavy - probably heavier than "The Graveyard." The songs are complex but they don't have that same over-thought feel to them that some of King's more composed tracks can sometimes acquire. The riffs are solid and memorable. The guitar work is brilliant. Even the cover art takes you back to the old days. The LOA house bears striking similarities to AMON that go beyond just appearance. I can't help but wonder how much of an effect the recording of "Dead Again" had on the "Voodoo" sessions. The songs on "Into The Unknown" hold up so much better individually than those on "The Graveyard" do but the songs on "Voodoo" can easily be looked at individually and I really like that about this record. I loved it the first time I heard it and I love it now. Maybe it's not exactly groundbreaking but it's very representative of King's style and coming on the heels of "The Graveyard" which was a pretty solid work in its own right, "Voodoo" still retains its luster. I really like it and I often find myself recommending this album whenever people ask me which King Diamond record they ought to listen to first. To initiate someone with "Abigail" is to break the cardinal rule of saving the best for last. "Them" might lose its appeal if not viewed from a position of heavy exposure to King's earlier work. But "Voodoo" is a good place to start - it straddles King's early feel with his modern one and that's a tough thing to do.

I'll review "House Of God" to "Give Me Your Soul... Please" in my next post.   

Offline DasRagnar

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Re: If you HAD to rank all the King Diamond albums....
« Reply #78 on: May 05, 2015, 10:28:53 AM »
1) "Abigail"
2) "Them"
3) "Conspiracy"
4) "Fatal Portrait"
5) "The Eye"
6) "Voodoo"
7) "Abigail II - The Revenge"
8) "House Of God"
9) "The Graveyard"
10) "The Puppet Master"
11) "Give Me Your Soul... Please"
12) "The Spider's Lullabye"

Offline Madhatter

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Re: If you HAD to rank all the King Diamond albums....
« Reply #79 on: May 06, 2015, 08:10:12 AM »
Abigail
Them
The Eye
Fatal Portrait
Conspiracy
The Puppet Master
The Graveyard
Voodoo
Abigail II
Give Me Your Soul Please
The Spider's Lullabye
House Of God

Ok, its been 5 years. Time to update...

Abigail
Conspiracy
THEM (might be #1 if the recording/mix/master was better)
Fatal Portrait
The Eye
The Puppet Master
The Graveyard
The Spider's Lullabye (remaster)
Voodoo
House of God
Abigail II
Give Me Your Soul...Please
And the blood shall flow free like words... And the bones will form stairs to the future...

Offline KingOfTheRotten

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Re: If you HAD to rank all the King Diamond albums....
« Reply #80 on: May 08, 2015, 02:38:35 AM »
THEM
Conspiracy
Abigail
The Puppet Master
The Eye
Voodoo
Fatal Portrait
Abigail II
The Graveyard
Give Me Your Soul... Please
House Of God
Spider's Lullabye.

This was actually quite goddamn hard! I don't really like to see The Graveyard so far down the list :P

Offline Jean le Noir

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Re: If you HAD to rank all the King Diamond albums....
« Reply #81 on: May 08, 2015, 05:19:33 AM »
Voodoo
Abigail
Fatal Portrait
Conspiracy
The Eye
Puppet Master
House of God
Abigail II: Revenge
Them
Graveyard
Spider's Lullabye
Give Me Your Soul... Please!

It's really hard and the line is really thin from top to bottom. Class is permanent  \m/
There's a little old man...standing by my window

Offline Mani

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Re: If you HAD to rank all the King Diamond albums....
« Reply #82 on: May 10, 2015, 08:17:48 AM »
1. Conspiracy
2. Them
3. The Eye
4. Abigail
5. Puppet Master
6. The Graveyard
7. Voodoo
8. Fatal Portrait
9. Give Me Your Soul... Please!
10. Spider's Lullabye
11. Abigail II: Revenge
12. House of God
"So we made the deal
Under the starry night and
Amon belongs to Them now"

Offline zorrow

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Re: If you HAD to rank all the King Diamond albums....
« Reply #83 on: May 13, 2015, 09:56:46 PM »
1- Them
2- Conspiracy
3- The Puppet Master (Best.Story.Ever.Period. And the guitars are awesome)
4- Abigail
5- The Eye
6- The Spider's Lullaby (For some reason I absolutely love this album)
7- House of God (I love this one too)
8- Give me your Soul...Please (Great guitars, specially Mike; but the story isn't very appealing)
9- Fatal Portrait (Good, but every time I play it I think "I better listen to Mercyful Fate instead of this")
10- Voodoo
11- The Graveyard
12- Abigail II

However, all rank from 4/5 to 5/5 in my books.

Offline CR0C0DILE

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Re: If you HAD to rank all the King Diamond albums....
« Reply #84 on: May 22, 2015, 07:26:13 PM »
For me, a 27 year long fan, it is different than for most of you, I think.
It is hard for me to get into much new music. I have to listen to it over and over.
The top albums for me are in this order
1 "The Graveyard."
2 "Voodoo"
3 "Them"
4 "Abigail 2"
5 "The Eye"
Now these are all hard to distinguish which is the best because I consider these top 5 all masterpieces that deserve the top spot.
The next set of albums are
6 "The Spider's Lullaby"
7 "Abigail"
8 "Fatal Portrait"
9 "Conspiracy"
This set is all albums that I love but they are not exactly the band at its absolute best.
The next set is the newer albums
10 "Give me Your Soul Please"
11 "House of God"
12 "The Puppet Master"
These are the albums which I am not fully used to yet and not exactly in love with, but I keep them and intend to listen more until I love them.




Offline Felicia

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Re: If you HAD to rank all the King Diamond albums....
« Reply #85 on: June 01, 2015, 01:25:06 AM »
Them, conspiracy,The Eye,Abigail, Voodoo (named my cat after that), and fatal portrait are top on my playlist often.. H.o.g. , Spiders Lullaby, and Puppetmaster.. The rest  Abigail 2 and g.m.y.s.p. I own but don't really play at all.

Offline LazNovak

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Re: If you HAD to rank all the King Diamond albums....
« Reply #86 on: June 14, 2015, 06:15:50 PM »
1. The Eye
2. Conspiracy
3. "Them"
4. Abigail
5. Fatal Portrait
6. The Puppet Master
7. Give me your Soul...Please
8. Voodoo
9. Abigail 2
10. House of God
11. The Graveyard
12. The Spider's Lullabye

Offline majorfabs

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Re: If you HAD to rank all the King Diamond albums....
« Reply #87 on: July 17, 2015, 06:06:29 AM »
1. The Eye (imagine The Eye with the sound of Conspiracy :D)
2. "Them" (imagine "Them" with the sound of Conspiracy :D)
3. Conspiracy
4. Abigail
5. The Puppet Master
6. Voodoo
7. The Graveyard

8. Fatal Portrait
9. Abigail 2
10. House of God
11. Give me your Soul...Please
12. The Spider's Lullabye

From time to time you can mix 1 to 7 and 8 to 12 randomly   :slookl:

Offline DevilEeeyes

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Re: If you HAD to rank all the King Diamond albums....
« Reply #88 on: January 28, 2016, 12:54:59 PM »
Maybe I'll have a go at this.

1) "Them"
2) Abigail
3) The Graveyard
4) Abigail II
5) The Spider's Lullabye
6) The Eye
7) Puppet Master
8) Give Me Your Soul...Please
9) Conspiracy
10) Voodoo
11) House of God
12) Fatal Portrait

That's probably about right for me at the moment, although much like most of you, I love them all.
 :king:

Offline Chagosomar

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Re: If you HAD to rank all the King Diamond albums....
« Reply #89 on: January 28, 2016, 01:46:23 PM »
1. THEM
2. Conspiracy
3. Abigail
4. The Eye

Offline enigmatech

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Re: If you HAD to rank all the King Diamond albums....
« Reply #90 on: February 24, 2016, 11:11:08 PM »
Here would be my ranking:

King Diamond:
1. Abigail
2. "Them"
3. Abigail 2: The Revenge
4. Conspiracy
5. Voodoo
6. The Eye
7. The Spider's Lullabye
8. Fatal Portrait
9. The Puppet Master
10. House of God
11. Give Me Your Soul...Please
12.  The Graveyard

Mercyful Fate:
1. Don't Break the Oath
2. In the Shadows
3. Melissa
4. 9
5. Nuns Have No Fun
6. Into the Unknown
7. Return of the Vampire
8. Time
9. Dead Again

Offline zorrow

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Re: If you HAD to rank all the King Diamond albums....
« Reply #91 on: May 06, 2016, 06:29:41 PM »
Abigail
Them
Conspiracy
The Eye
The Puppet Master
The Spider's Lullaby
House of God
Give Me Your Soul... Please
Fatal Portrait
The Graveyard
Voodoo
Abigail II

Offline The Family Ghost

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Re: If you HAD to rank all the King Diamond albums....
« Reply #92 on: July 25, 2016, 01:58:40 PM »
Abigail
Them
Conspiracy
The Eye 
The Puppet Master
Voodoo
House of God
The Spiders Lulabye
The Graveyard
Fatal Portrait
Give Me Your Soul...Please
Abigail II
T.F.G.

Offline Sammael

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Re: If you HAD to rank all the King Diamond albums....
« Reply #93 on: August 03, 2016, 10:09:45 PM »
 :king:

This is my first post, happy to join. Been a fan since the early 90's. As many have mentioned already, this ranking always ends up changing, although I think Conspiracy and The Eye are always at the top. They are all great albums.

1. The Eye
2. Conspiracy
3. Them
4. Abigail
5. Fatal Portrait
6. The Spider's Lullabye
7. The Puppet Master
8. House of God
9. Give Me Your Soul...Please
10. Voodoo
11. The Graveyard
12. Abigail II: The Revenge

Offline Sanctuary

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Re: If you HAD to rank all the King Diamond albums....
« Reply #94 on: August 05, 2016, 10:54:58 PM »
01. Abigail - Loved it so much that I named my cat after it.
02. The Eye - I believe that he does some of his most emotive work ever here.
03. Them - Shame about the production on this however.  What the hell happened?
04. Conspiracy
05. The Spider's Lullabye
06. Fatal Portrait
07. Voodoo
08. The Puppet Master
09. The Graveyard
10. House of God
11. Give me Your Soul...Please
12. Abigail II: The Revenge
« Last Edit: August 05, 2016, 10:59:04 PM by Sanctuary »

Offline krisjay

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Re: If you HAD to rank all the King Diamond albums....
« Reply #95 on: September 13, 2016, 01:27:24 PM »
It always changes, but top 5 is pretty stable. I've been listening to Voodoo alot lately.
Fatal Portrait
Abigail
THEM
Puppet Master
House Of God

Offline Ravenus1

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Re: If you HAD to rank all the King Diamond albums....
« Reply #96 on: October 04, 2016, 08:12:58 PM »
Fatal Portrait ( mercyful fate was a constant when I bought this in 85)
Abigail
Conspiracy
The Eye
THEM
Give Me Your Soul... Please
Voodoo
The Spider's Lullabye
Puppet Master
House Of God
Abigail II - The Revenge underrated ( The Wheelchair kicks ass)
The Graveyard

Offline TheUnborn

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Re: If you HAD to rank all the King Diamond albums....
« Reply #97 on: December 08, 2016, 07:38:45 PM »
"Fatal Portrait" was a strong debut. It definitely proved that King was more than capable of churning out great songs even without Hank Shermann (who had composed roughly 97% of Mercyful Fate's music.) To be sure, the songs were more straightforward and less intricate. There were fewer time changes and overall, the feel was a lot less dark than Mercyful Fate's sound but King began laying the foundation for his solo career and the interwoven storylines and harmonic guitar runs became some of the staples of the King Diamond band. To compare "Fatal Portrait" today to the brilliance of King's solo material that came later is to sell the songs short. In its own right, it's actually a very solid album and songs like "Halloween" and "Charon" are some of the highlights of King's early solo career. Whereas Shermann and Denner had been playing together for years, Denner and La Rocque were still finding their footing with one another as a team when this album was recorded. Why "The Lake" was left out of the original pressing, I never understood. What a great song. My favorite track though has got to be "Haunted" - great riff, King's wailing vocal line is spine-tingling. The trilogy of "The Candle", "The Jonah" and "The Portrait" (and I suppose "Haunted" ought to connect as well), may not have the wow factor that later King creations had, but I can still come back to these songs and see them for what they are, as a great milestone in King's career as a songwriter and as a benchmark for the band itself.

"Abigail" has long been considered the highlight of King's solo career, and for good reason. The storyline is epic and gripping. The songs are dark, heavy, the arrangements and the production are phenomenal. Even the cover art is amazing. "Arrival" is probably the quintessential King Diamond track. "A Mansion In Darkness" was Mikkey Dee's finest hour. The intro was creepy and really drew the listener in while the closer "Black Horsemen" would serve as the best farewell sendoff for when King Diamond (hopefully many, many years from now) finally bids us all goodbye. The guitar duo of La Rocque and Denner was immortalized on this record, they officially joined the ranks of some of the finest dual guitar combinations of all time with this album. "Fatal Portrait" may have served to show that King was definitely back in action after the Mercyful Fate split, but "Abigail" was what showed everyone just where he was going from there. Hands down, this album deserves a spot on any top ten list of the greatest heavy metal albums of all time.

"Them" was a milestone as it marked the departure of Michael Denner thus making it the first album of King's career not to feature at least one guitarist from the Mercyful Fate era. But Pete Blakk was a "guitarist's guitarist" and the chemistry that he shared with La Rocque was something that Denner really couldn't lay claim to in the same fashion. As heavy as the songs on "Them" get, overall, it's a fairly progressive effort. Many of the riffs and the arrangements seemed a bit strange, maybe even a bit lacking upon the first listen. While the guitar sound is crisp, the drums sounded a bit out of place, almost as if the album had been recorded without them and they were thrown into the mix afterwards in almost a slipshod manner. But after repeated listens, I was convinced that while the songs themselves aren't better than those on "Abigail" the quality of the songwriting is actually far superior. The storyline is equally engrossing and detailed. "Them" serves as the first half of what is arguably the most iconic plot that King has ever spun for his fans. Personally, I think that the riffs and the guitar leads are just brilliant on this record. I will never forget listening to this record for the first time and being instantly hooked. I remember how I would sit there with the liner notes for the record while I listened, the little symbols used to denote whether it was Andy or Pete taking the solo. Another fantastic album cover too. "Them" was another highlight in King's career and some of those tracks have become integral staples at King Diamond shows. You can't see King live without hearing songs like "Welcome Home" and "The Invisible Guests" but the rest of the album is best enjoyed through a great set of headphones. Great stuff.

"Conspiracy" was my favorite King Diamond album for many years. When I was younger, it really appealed to me. I was excited to learn about what happened in the aftermath of the events of "Them" which was a huge treat. The album had a much darker feel than its predecessor, it was infinitely heavier, the riffs were more memorable, the arrangements more straightforward. Even the production was better. So why did I change my mind about this album? Why is it that when I listen to it today, I feel like it doesn't hold up to some of King's other albums? Well, for starters, a lot of it is flash-in-the-pan when you hear it for the first time. The songs are heavy, the second half of the story is a lot more gripping than the first half - those things are true. But I don't think that "Conspiracy" has the same wherewithal that "Them" has. Sure, I can go back and listen to this record again and again. But I don't tend to notice slight little differences and tiny things that I never noticed before the way I can with "Them." The songs are good, they're memorable and they're great to listen to but they don't have the same intricacy and the same sense of layered mystique that the tracks on "Them" have. They're a lot more linear and less distinct from one another. This 1989 album was a fantastic way for King to say farewell to a decade that had seen the very best that metal had to offer the world and King himself played a role in that much larger than that of many of the others who tend to receive more credit today. But I think King was releasing more iconic material, material that defined him as an artist in the early and mid 1980's than he was at the end and maybe that's the point I've been building to. "Conspiracy" was originally heralded as the heaviest King Diamond album to date, his best since "Abigail", while for me today, it marked the end of the beginning for the King Diamond band and the start of a new era.

"The Eye" to me, musically, has always had a lot more in common with "Them" than it ever had with "Conspiracy." I didn't like this record all that much when I first listened to it many years ago. Part of that may have been that the production was weak compared to "Conspiracy" - the guitar sound wasn't nearly as dark or as resonating. The drum sound was weak and took away from the overall energy of the tracks on "The Eye." While certainly sinister, the fact that the storyline on "The Eye" was based on real people and events did very little to draw fans in the way the epic plot to "Them" and "Conspiracy" had done. But again, it's a work that's capable of growing on you with time if you give it the chance to do so. I think the big problem that I had with "The Eye" was that unlike all of King's other albums, there was no defining track on "The Eye." Despite the fact that I've changed my opinion countless times regarding my favorite song from each record, no matter how many times I listened to "The Eye" not a single one seemed to rise perceptibly above the others. As a guitarist myself, I decided to look into learning how to play them anyway. In those days, long before tablature and sheet music were widely available, the only option for learning King's songs was to pick them up by ear. And so I began listening to this record over and over again attempting to pick up the riffs one by one. By the time I got to "Father Picard" I was in love with this album. Pete Blakk had always been a workhorse for King Diamond. To say that someone could hold his own opposite a guitarist like Andy is a huge honor and no one had any reservations when it came to admitting that about Pete. But here's the thing: "The Eye" made me realize that Pete Blakk was unbelievable in his own right. Up until "Conspiracy" King and Andy wrote all of the music together. But Pete Blakk's contributions to "The Eye" were fantastic. Sure, his composition style was a lot more progressive and a lot less dark than most of King's material, but Pete brought something fresh and new to the songs and that made up for the fact that they weren't as in-your-face heavy as the songs on the previous record. Maybe "The Eye" didn't produce any classics, I'll give its critics that much. But it did display a level of musicianship that previous efforts practically only hinted at in comparison. The flashes of genius on "The Eye" really make the whole thing worth it.

We come now to "The Spider's Lullabye." Released in 1995, this album came five years after the one that had preceded it. A lot had happened in that five years and undoubtedly, those events played no small role in determining that "The Spider's Lullabye" would be remembered as arguably the weakest and most forgettable of King's solo career. Personally, I have zero qualms about saying straight away that in my humble opinion, "The Spider's Lullabye" IS the weakest and most forgettable record of King's solo career. I'll tell you why. When Mercyful Fate reunited in 1993 to release "In The Shadows", fans were absolutely ecstatic. 1994 was the release of a follow-up effort, "Time." To critique both works and to compare them not only to one another but also to the glory days of Mercyful Fate a decade before is something better saved for another time. But suffice it to say that King's heavy involvement in the Mercyful Fate reunion and the fact that he dedicated such time and effort to composing, recording and touring with Mercyful Fate definitely impacted "The Spider's Lullabye" negatively. I remember as though it were yesterday clenching the liner notes of my newly purchased "In The Shadows" record and reading the list of people that King wished to thank. I remember tingling with anticipation at the mention of "The Spider's Lullabye" and the names of the mysterious new members of the band. Years later, I purchased "The Spider's Lullabye" on the day of its release and literally ran home to listen to it straight away. Like any new record from King, you really can't help but be in awe of it initially, but even during a second listen, it becomes apparent that the songs themselves are critically lacking when compared to the real gems in King's discography. I think that the reliving of the Mercyful Fate days definitely had a major effect on the songwriting for King. And despite the fact that Mercyful Fate has always been, is now and forever shall be my favorite band of all time, I was a little disappointed that "The Spider's Lullabye" was such a departure for King. As a huge fan of both bands, I respect and admire both the similarities and the differences. But part of loving King's solo material is embracing some of those major differences and I honestly feel even today that "The Spider's Lullabye" was a real departure from what King Diamond has always done best. The songs are fairly weak. Some of the riffs are great but the songs themselves are pretty formulaic and they really don't knock your socks of. King's vocals are absolutely brilliant here and there, notably on "Moonlight" and the guitar leads are great throughout despite the fact that each track was mixed differently and has a different overall feel and energy to it. I had been looking forward to this mysterious 'Herb Simonsen's' debut and he didn't disappoint but it left me wondering what another record with Pete Blakk might have been like. Simonsen was more than capable (and believe it or not, I've also forged a friendship with him over the years - he's a great guy, he really is and I love talking music with him) but even though he threw himself into it with everything that he had, I don't feel like he and Andy ever developed the same ability to feed off of one another that Andy had with Pete. Herb was a great session player. He wasn't much for the grueling nature of being on the road and he wasn't keen to throw his hat into the ring as a contributing songwriter which was also okay. But "The Spider's Lullabye" should have been a much stronger effort for the amount of time that King kept us all waiting and it simply isn't really an album that compares to King's real treasures. Sorry, "The Spider's Lullabye", while not terrible, you're definitely number 19 on my list, hands down.

"The Graveyard" has always reminded me of a modern, updated, souped-up version of "Them." While the production is far better (it retains the crisp guitar sound without sacrificing any of the crunch), the songs themselves aren't nearly as interesting to deconstruct and analyze. The story is also probably my least favorite of any of King's plotlines. Forgive me, I can't put my finger on why, but haunted paintings, ancient curses which result in newborn babies devouring their mothers alive, demon-possessed grandmothers who induce family murder, evil priests and psychiatrists conspiring to murder, lascivious priests who engage in unspeakable ritual murder, rape and torture, crippling arachnophobia, all of these things I can accept but I had a difficult time with King's venture into child molestation. As dark a topic as it is, I'm not certain it's something that deserves an entire concept album devoted to it. That being said, the progressive feel of the album was a big departure from "The Spider's Lullabye" and in my opinion, taking things in any direction which differed from what they had done on that album could only be seen as a good thing. Andy and Herb seemed to have much better chemistry this time around. The songs were far more complex and the layering to the tracks was a real treat. I actually really like some of the songs on this album and I think that they hold up with the best of King's catalogue. They translated to the stage well. Overall, a very enjoyable album. While not as intricate as the songs on "Them", the songs on "The Graveyard" have an energy and a flow that those on "The Eye" failed to achieve. "The Graveyard" was easily King's best album in nearly a decade. Solid effort.

"Voodoo" really is a great album. The story is wonderful. Filled with colorful characters, it hearkens back to the glory days of King's creepy and intricate plots. It's extremely heavy - probably heavier than "The Graveyard." The songs are complex but they don't have that same over-thought feel to them that some of King's more composed tracks can sometimes acquire. The riffs are solid and memorable. The guitar work is brilliant. Even the cover art takes you back to the old days. The LOA house bears striking similarities to AMON that go beyond just appearance. I can't help but wonder how much of an effect the recording of "Dead Again" had on the "Voodoo" sessions. The songs on "Into The Unknown" hold up so much better individually than those on "The Graveyard" do but the songs on "Voodoo" can easily be looked at individually and I really like that about this record. I loved it the first time I heard it and I love it now. Maybe it's not exactly groundbreaking but it's very representative of King's style and coming on the heels of "The Graveyard" which was a pretty solid work in its own right, "Voodoo" still retains its luster. I really like it and I often find myself recommending this album whenever people ask me which King Diamond record they ought to listen to first. To initiate someone with "Abigail" is to break the cardinal rule of saving the best for last. "Them" might lose its appeal if not viewed from a position of heavy exposure to King's earlier work. But "Voodoo" is a good place to start - it straddles King's early feel with his modern one and that's a tough thing to do.

I'll review "House Of God" to "Give Me Your Soul... Please" in my next post.


 \m/ \m/

Offline Dischord

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Re: If you HAD to rank all the King Diamond albums....
« Reply #98 on: April 22, 2017, 08:25:26 PM »
House of God - the guitar work alone is epic
The Eye
Abigail
Them
Conspiracy
The Spider's Lullaby
The Puppet Master
The Graveyard
Fatal Portrait
Voodoo
Give Me Your Soul, Please
Abigail 2

With this in mind remember I own every one of these and listen to all religiously

Offline GraveyardCamper

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Re: If you HAD to rank all the King Diamond albums....
« Reply #99 on: May 23, 2017, 04:15:16 AM »
Abigail - One of his albums I seem to return all the time. The magic is never gone. Black Horsemen is the best closing song ever!
Conspiracy - And here's the other one. A Visit from the Dead in my vinyl doesn't actually play that well anymore. One of the songs I've played too much.
The Eye - Didn't like the drums first on this one (well, that was some 20 years ago), but the songs are so good I don't care anymore. The story is also something different for KD. Enjoy.
The Puppet Master - Oh hell how much I waited this album to be released. And it didn't fail.
Fatal Portrait - Has many of my eternal favourite songs.
Abigail II - Used to be on the bottom of the pile. But it turns really good once it gets really going. Spirits!
"THEM" - I should listen this with thought some day. Hasn't lasted like the other early albums.
Voodoo - I used to love and play this constantly. Not bad. And cool artwork too.
Give Me Your Soul - This got a lot of shit when it was released, I recall. Maybe it's my poor language, but I don't completely understand what's going on in the story. I've listened this the most lately though, a highly enjoyable album with cool riffs.
House of God - Man this is hard, because I really like this album too. The opening of This Place is Terrible always got me.
The Graveyard - Some ace songs, and a couple like Up From the Grave, which I would gladly forget.
Spider's Lullaby -  The bottom one. Still I would give it something like 75 out of 100 points.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2017, 04:24:40 AM by GraveyardCamper »