Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Black Metal History Month- Diamond in the Rough: King Diamond's the Spiders Lullabye"

This is a special segment devoted to King Diamond for National Black Metal History month. When these albums came out I was only reviewing them in my mind and probaly less objectivityl than I am now capable so we are going to look at some over looked and possibly under rated King Diamond albums.

When 1995 was a weird time for metal and King Diamond found himself pondering this cross roads , but not compromising the sound that is true to who his is. The storyline doesn't feel as cumbersome as some of his other solo albums.The production on this album is so compressed it squeezes the darker sound the previous albums held.The racing guitar is flying along , but the production doesn't give it the meaty punch it needs. The solo section is where Laroque makes the songs' The tempo changes into a tighter Judas Priest like groove.

"Killer is both heavier and darker than the opener. The riff is pretty biting and sounds like it could have come from Conspiracy. King knocks the highs through the roof. Though the most piercing "Grand Ma" moments do not run as rampant as they had on the first four albums. "Poltergeist" has the gothic trappings that haunt many of his songs, going back and listening this is a wink in the Abigail direction just less galloping.

I like the soaring "dreams in the night " line in "Dreams" which  pretty much makes the songs for me. The solo section is oddly angular for King Diamond and some of the guitar riffing reminds me of heavier Queensyrche. "Moon Light" is more straight forward, the chorus sounds like something of Ozzy's "Bark at the Moon" album. This song has a slick 80's feel and is almost middle of the road for King Diamond. Not the album's strongest song. The vocals are mixed a little weird here. The guitar solos on the song and pretty much all over this album are killing it. The song does pick up some more punch toward the end, but not his best work.

The hammering thrash of "Six Feet Under" makes for one of the album's heavier moments. The synths sit heavy on the guitars , but overall it's a good balance. This song also finds King utilizing more of his various voices and jumping registers more than some of the song s that focus more on his upper range. The title track really comes across more like one of his theatric interludes than an actual song. There is only three minutes of actual song. The three minutes are a balance of what King does blending story telling theatrics with almost progressive metal. This one is more supplemental to the concept of the album than standing on it's own as a good song.

The chug on "To the Morgue" clearly exists in a post- Pantera world, but "Eastmann's Cure" has the tight chug more typical of King Diamond. In fact when I listen to this song I can hear how some of the riffs were recycled into "Never Ending Hill". It is a pretty mean riff so no surprise they would want to get as much out of it as they could.

The harpsichord that opens "Room 17" is typical of his sound after Conspiracy" . It's a mid paced song. That has many of his signatures all over it  most of them working well. It's the heavier riff that comes in mid way through where the song clicks into place. Despite the more modern metal feel of the closing song it is still big and catchy even in the guilty pleasure manner . This is a guitar players album for sure and their are a ton of catchy fast food riffs on this one.

I'll give this album a 9.5 it's the first of his that falls short of a 10, but is still better than most and doesn't sound half bad twenty years later.

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