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King Diamond: Songs For the Dead Live

King Diamond has been a fixture on the black metal music scene for over thirty years. His band Mercyful Fate pushed the boundaries of occult-influenced lyrics and stage antics. Fortunately, he moved on and became a solo act creating arguably one of the greatest concept metal albums, Abigail (1987), ever produced. King Diamond’s solo career has easily eclipsed his former band and he continued to release a number of well-received horror-themed albums full of ghost stories, evil relatives, reincarnation and hell-fired guitar riffs.

Looking back at the calendar a lot of interesting live events have transpired for King Diamond. It’s been twelve years since his last album Give Me Your Soul…Please. Nine years since his triple bypass surgery. Eight years since he went out on tour with Metallica. And two years since his first-born child, Bryon was born. But he was out after Metallica with a concert at the Fillmore in Philadelphia in 2015 and an identical one in Graspop Metal Meeting in Belgium in 2016. Eighteen songs are performed which include his biggest hits of Mercyful Fate, the entire Abigail album and “Insanity” a track from his album The Eye.

While the Fillmore live recordings sound more acoustically perfect that is likely on account on it is a smaller venue than the Graspop at Belgium. Diamond opens up the set with “Out of the Asylum” and “Welcome Home” from Them. These are rousing numbers that truly set afire these concerts and while I applaud the solid work of drummer Matt Thompson I miss longtime Diamond drummer Mikkey Dee.

I know I just said the Fillmore and Graspop recordings are relatively equal that is not the case for a Mercyful Fate hit “Melissa” from Melissa. The Fillmore is magnificent and perhaps the very best live King Diamond song I have ever heard. Where “Come to the Sabbath” a big track from Don’t Break the Oath another Mercyful Fate standard sounds super with the crowd singing back the lyrics at Graspop in Belgium.

For a man with heart surgery and a lengthy rehabilitation King Diamond hits the right notes and steps directly into these performances like the true professional artist he has been for over thirty years. This live collection is not only unique for its length and location but to include an entire album is actually unheard of in live recording sets. I’d say for any Abigail megafan (like me) the album doesn’t start to fly in the dead of night until “A Family Ghost” with Andy LaRocque’s incredible guitar virtuosity and songwriting. He’s really a big success factor for King Diamond and it’s a shame he’s not more known for his amazing talent. I decided to listen to the Graspop version to hear the blazing solos in all their raw glory.

"The 7th Day of July 1777" is best listened to at the Fillmore and it’s another fan favorite of King Diamond launching his falsetto into the stratosphere of metal kingdoms. LaRocque again takes that guitar onto a wicked battle of blistering licks. The final song of the incredibly artistic and brutally musical event is “Insanity” off The Eye record. “Insanity” is a lovely instrumental of spooky tones in the Exorcist �"Mike Oldfield “Tubular Bells” vein but it’s a delightful end to a journey of metal excellence

Track Listing
Graspop Metal Meeting in Belgium
Fillmore, Philadelphia, PA
01 Out from the Asylum

02. Welcome Home

03. Sleepless Nights

04. Halloween

05. Eye of the Witch

06. Melissa

07. Come to the Sabbath

08. Them
09. Funeral

10. Arrival

11. A Mansion in Darkness

12. The Family Ghost

13. The 7th Day of July 1777

14. Omens

15. The Possession

16. Abigail

17. Black Horsemen

18. Insanity

Added: March 19th 2019
Reviewer: Mark Antony Rossi
Related Link: Kind Diamond @ Metal Blade
Hits: 738
Language: english

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