King Diamond – Dreams Of Horror24th October 2014
The word “Legend” seems to be rather liberally applied to all and sundry of late, but when you’re talking about heavy metal royalty like King Diamond, the title is richly deserved. There are not many artists who can boast a career spanning in excess of 30 years and fronting not one, but two highly influential and iconic acts.
As well as prowling the stage at the helm of fellow Danish heavyweights, Mercyful Fate, the King has also enjoyed a fantastic solo career, and this latest release entitled Dreams of Horror is a retrospective of his solo work to date.
What we have on offer here are 23 tracks spread over two discs, split between the Roadrunner years on disc one, with disc two picking up the story via the Metal Blade releases.
Each track has been hand picked by King himself and they have all been lovingly remastered and enhanced from the original recordings by King and long term cohort Andy La Rocque and it must be said that they have done an amazing job. Every instrument is crystal clear in the mix and there are little touches like a bass run here, or a guitar flourish there that you never noticed before, even after years of listening to these songs!
The albums are all represented chronologically, so opening the show are two tracks from the Fatal Portrait album in the shape of “The Candle” and “Dressed In White“, before we move on to possibly the most well known of his works, the classic album from 1987, Abigail, which is represented by “The Family Ghost” and the absolutely outstanding “Black Horsemen“.
As you progress through the album, it really hits home how much extra impact the mastering has given the music here, the bass in particular being much fuller and giving real impetus to Mikkey Dee‘s thunderous yet eloquent drumming style.
The very welcome inclusion of one of my favourite tracks “Sleepless Nights“, is worthy of special mention here, as the guitar solo from La Rocque is simply jaw dropping. Indeed, over the course of the two discs , it’s easy to see why he is so highly regarded as the quality of his lead playing, not to mention the plethora of great riffs he pulls out of the bag are second to none.
Moving on to the second disc, we have two tracks from the Spiders Lullaby and then a further two from The Graveyard releases, before things really heat up with the title track from 1998’s Voodoo which sounds absolutely MASSIVE! I always felt that King hit a bit of a purple patch around this time and the inclusion of “Black Devil” and “Help!!” from the superb House of God album is testament to this.
Obviously, on a “best of” selection it can be tricky to please existing fans as well as entice new ones into the fold, but I think the band have done a great job of picking the right songs and not just going for the same old favourites…having said that I feel that it’s a shame they did not include “The Lake“, but that’s a minor gripe when the quality is consistently this high.
This collection finishes up with a brace of tracks from King‘s most recent release Give Me Your Soul…Please! from 2007 and admittedly is probably the album I am least familiar with, but on the strength of both “Never Ending Hill” and “Shapes of Black” that is something I shall soon be addressing!
I thoroughly enjoyed this compilation, and whether you are a new listener, a lapsed devotee or even a hardcore King Diamond fanatic, this double disc set has something to offer everyone until the next new release from the band.
So pull up your favourite chair, turn the lights down low and let King Diamond be your guide through these 23 chilling dreams of horror!
Score: 10 out of 10
CD 1 –
1. The Candle
2. Dressed In White
3. The Family Ghost
4. Black horsemen
5. Welcome home
6. The Invisible Guest
7. At The Graves
8. Sleepless Nights
9. Let It Be Done
10. Eye Of The Witch
CD 2 –
2. The Spider’s Lullabye
4. Heads On The Wall
6. Black Devil
9. The Puppet Master
10. Blue Eyes
11. Never Ending Hill
12. Shapes Of Black
11th November 2014