For the latest in the MR “Deep Cuts” series (where we examine lesser known tunes by a great band), it is time to look at the awesome records of the one and only King Diamond. The Danish legend of horror and high pitched banshee shrieks is truly one of a kind. Who else can yell “bringing the blood of a newborn child” in quite as cool a way!? No one.
Billy Riker of the fantastic progressive band Three (very old friends of mine who I respect and love a lot) helped me with this one and chose a song! Thanks for being my first assistant on a “Deep Cuts” piece, Billy! Yeaaaahhhhhhhhh! Billy is himself a sick shred master.
Speaking of guitar…we also had to cover King because guitarist Andy LaRocque consistently drops some of, if not THE, best solos in heavy metal. Metal Blade has recently really amped up their King Diamond merch promotion online and it is overdue! Shit, I almost seriously tried to write a book about the album ABIGAIL once! King is the best.
King has brought so much awe, headbanging and joy into my life. Seeing him live for the first time I will always remember screaming “18 is 9”!!!!! I have never screamed along with such manic insanity to another artist (even Danzig or Dio) and with the exception of maybe “Mr. Freeze” Arnold one-liners, nothing ever makes me laugh as much as King’s crazy ideas either.
I used to work at a fabric wholesale shop with my friend Ryan who now is on the show ODDITIES. We would listen to KD (not Lang, though she is also metal) as much as possible and laugh our heads off and fuck up expensive orders because we were too busy being psyched.
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1. “Tea” from THEM: Billy Riker (Three guitarist): “I’m not sure why but “Tea” has always been one that sticks out among my fave KD songs. I love the way it starts slow and heavy but tons of potential energy that lets you know something is gonna go down. Then the main riff kicks in and it is surprisingly light instead. So you let down your guard…that was a mistake because the verse riff kicks in and it is brutal, especially for 1988! By contrast the chorus is one of KD’s softest ever but has such a sick melody and harmonies and really shines. The solo is sick, and after several infectious chorus’ the song ends on an odd happy note. I just love this song!”
(Morgan note: It is also hysterical and yet so metal.)
2. “Two Little Girls” from THE EYE : King sings a crazy, creepy fake lullabye about two little girls playing at a site used for numerous witch burnings. Shit goes south from there for the girls. It is part of the larger story of The Eye, a concept album about a talismanic necklace that reveals horrors from the past of the necklace. It is a great record and one of King’s best, full of sexually abused nuns, evil priests and awesome vocals. The song “Eye Of The Witch” also deserves mention as is one of King’s sickest songs live and has one of the best keyboard parts in metal (up there with “Rainbow In The Dark” for sheer awesomeness). If you like THE EYE you should check out the bvand Crystal Viper’s recent CRIMEN EXCEPTA for a very similarly themed cool metal record.
3. “Mirror Mirror” from GIVE ME YOUR SOUL…PLEASE :
I was gonna go with the awesome “Room 17” from THE SPIDER’S LULLABYE, a lesser known King record that has some of the band’s best guitar solos on it. Rather than that song about a guy goes for treatment for arachnophobia only to have his nurse leave him locked up alone with “the crawly box”, I decided to go with “Mirror Mirror”. It is from the more recent GIVE ME YOUR SOUL…PLEASE and features great vocals from King. The whole track is just full of energy and King doing what he does best, telling spooky ghost stories and layering insane harmonies. The spectral and dissonant guitars and searing solos really make this track a recent keeper. Hail the king!