January 21, 2019 King Diamond – Songs For The Dead Live (Live Album Review)
A career spanning nearly forty years, King Diamond personifies the meaning of Heavy Metal royalty. As one of the most prominent voices to ever lay Black Metal vocals to a mic, King Diamond is now set to release his new live album, Songs For The Dead Live, out Friday, January 25, 2019 on Metal Blade Records.
Ever since his days with the legendary Merycful Fate, King Diamond’s influence has spread across the genre of Heavy Metal like fire. In the golden era of Metal, King Diamond and his diabolical falsetto inspired would be iconic Heavy Metal acts like Slayer and Metallica to reach deep into the darkest depths of their souls to conjure music that would scare the bejesus out of parents. After Mercyful Fate disbanded, King Diamond embarked on a cunning solo career, bestowing twelve studio albums which have left a devilish permanent mark on the genres legacy. While many Metal front-men have struggled to keep their voices healthy in the face of growing older, King Diamond’s voice still sounds incredible.
Even at the age of 62, King Diamond has outlasted many of his peers. Not even an unfortunate heart attack and triple-bypass surgery in November of 2010 could silence King Diamond’s heavenly pipes. As a trooper of Heavy Metal’s road show, King Diamond continues to wow concert attendees worldwide with his terrifying stage show and his outstanding band – Andy LaRocque and Mike Wead on Guitar, Bassist Pontus Egberg, and Drummer Matt Thompson. Known for his notable stage performances, King Diamond has released two previous live albums, 1991’s In Concert 1987: Abigail and 2004’s Deadly Lullabyes.
For his third installment, King Diamond begins 2019 by way of Songs For The Dead Live. A two part live album, Songs For The Dead Live documents two separate shows. First, there is King Diamond’s performance at the 2016 Graspop Metal Meeting Festival in Belguim, seeing the legend play to a sea of Metal maniacs. In a more intimate setting, Songs For The Dead Live includes King Diamond’s full show recorded at The Fillmore in Philadelphia, PA in late 2015.
Featuring 36 tracks, Songs For The Dead Live hosts over two and a half hours of classic King Diamond, including a start to finish performance of his infamous 1987 album Abigail. We begin by exploring selections from the Graspop Metal Meeting. Terrifying, “Welcome Home” opens the show and will easily help fans lose sight of their senses. Then, the clock strikes midnight for “Sleepless Nights” before King Diamond celebrates evil via “Halloween” and a magnetizing “Eye of the Witch.” Dipping into the Mercyful Fate catalog, King Diamond avenges his fallen queen “Melissa” and the lure of “Come to the Sabbath.”
Entering The Fillmore, we take a look at King Diamond’s full performance of Abigail. While In Concert 1987: Abigail features live renditions of a lions share of tracks from Abigail, it does not include every song. For the first time ever, Songs For The Dead Live gifts Abigail, live, in its entirety. Beginning with the gang vocals of the intro track “Funeral,” King Diamond beautifully slays through the first portion of Abigail via “Arrival,” “A Mansion in the Darkness,” and the burning rage of “The Family Ghost.” Thereafter, drums and guitar shock on “The 7th Day of July 1777” before the demented “Omens.” Controlling, “The Possession” leads to King Diamond dedicating the unsettling saga of “Abigail” to the great city of Philadelphia. Culminating this night, the gallop of “The Black Horsemen” ends a haunting portrait of a classic album.
Always in rare form, King Diamond delivers evil at its best on Songs For The Dead Live. Whether you prefer the louder climate of the Graspop Metal Meeting or the private ambiance of The Fillmore, Songs For The Dead Live showcases King Diamond’s performance of duplicate setlists in two very different venues. In essence, King Diamond is shown as a true villain on vocals while he engages with his audience of loyal followers. All this said, King Diamond’s Songs For The Dead Live will feed his fans’ hunger to experience King Diamond live on stage. Even better, Songs For The Dead Live will also be available as a visual on DVD/Blu-Ray. A live album of epic grandeur, Cryptic Rock gives Songs For The Dead Live 5 out of 5 stars.
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