My good friend Serpico is a metal god. He owns hundreds of vintage metal CDs, he can drop knowledge on the most obscure metal bands known to man, he even drives around in a car with "MTLHEAD" plates. He makes Rikki Rachtman look like Kenny G.
I have long thought it a crime that Serp's incredible metal knowledge wasn't being shared with the world. So I've invited him to write an occasional column for my blog. Read on if you dare. But don't stand too close to the computer screen, ladies. His writing is so potent, it could get you pregnant.
Now, I realize most people don't own one King Diamond album - or even know who King Diamond is. C'mon people!! Ya swing with The King, Ya roar for more!! Well, use this to get caught up on you King Diamond 101 history.
Okay, now that you know a little about him (or if you skipped try to keep up): Kim Bendis Peterson (aka King Diamond) was born in Denmark on June 14, 1956. He first joined the band Brainstorm, and then went on to Black Rose where he began to wear makeup and try horror stage theatrics (thanks to Alice Cooper). Then he joined the punk band Brats. In 1980 he and others formed the occult-themed black metal group Mercyful Fate. Although he claimed to be a Satanist, it's all probably a bunch of hooey because there are a lot of interviews and evidence that it's all shtick. Plus, he's was quoted as saying, "It's all for show," in an interview. So don't pay too much attention to the face painting and inverted crosses.
In 1984, he left Mercyful Fate to form King Diamond.
When KD formed his own band, he left behind the satanic/occult lyrics and focused on horror in his music (still kept the face painting and inverted crosses). With the exception of his first album Fatal Portrait, all of his albums are all mini horror story concept pieces - even Fatal Portrait to an extent.
Now...if you've never heard King Diamond sing, it can be a bit - weird. He can be high as a falsetto or deep as a growling demon, all used throughout his songs. It's fun to imitate him at parties - at least I have some memories of having fun doing it, but then again, I'm a weirdo.
So, if you only buy ONE King Diamond album make it...Abigail. Released n June of 1987, Abigail is a horror concept piece that to this day I think is one of the best metal albums to ever be put out - it's a masterpiece - kinda like Dawn of the Dead is a horror fan's masterpiece. Musically, vocally, and conceptwise it creeps you out from the first track (The Funeral) and doesn't stop until the final one (Black Horsemen). The guitar work of Andy LaRocque and Michael Denner is amazing. From haunting acoustical that could rival the great Yngwie Malmsteen (intro to Black Horsemen) to fret-shredding mayhem (The 17th Day of July 1777) to intricate playing (The Family Ghost) to an all out jam (Abigail) it's all here. The drumming of one Mickey Dee - now with Motorhead - keeps a heartbeat's pace that's fast (A Mansion in Darkness), slow (Omens) or just plain alive (The Family Ghost). And King's vocals? Well, let's just say that they are the thing that adds the extra ingredient of creepiness that completes the whole terrible tale of metal and mayhem.
Listen. This is a genuine scary story with no hero at the end saving the frickin' day, finding the treasure or boofin' the prom queen. Hollywood would do itself some good and enlist King as a screenwriter for the horror genre. Believe me, I'm a horror nut and aside from a few decent horror flicks out there Hollywood is putting out gargle water and telling the public it's Dom Perignon. Pick any track you like, if you don't get goosebumps, you're not alive...listen with better ears.
So until you see Abigail: The Musical at the PAC in '07....