“We may have missed Halloween by a few days, but for us up here, it’s Halloween every night!” exclaimed King Diamond before the band dove into their ode to the ghoulish holiday with “Halloween.”
Denmark’s King Diamond is known for theatrical performances, horror story concept albums, and heavy metal riffs. Of course, the bands is also known for King Diamond’s notable face paint and vocal range (especially his extremely high falsetto vocal style). When I first saw them 10 years ago, I was captivated by their live performance because of their use of props, theatrics and imagery – recreating elements of the storylines within their albums. It was a new musical experience for me and because of that and the KILLER supporting line-up (Nile, Behemoth, & The Black Dahlia Murder) that evening has been marked as one of my favorite shows. My interest definitely piqued when they announced they would be playing at The Observatory North Park and, in addition to what was sure to be a fantastic set, they would be playing their classic 1987 album Abigail in its entirety.
King Diamond opened up strong with “Welcome Home” from the album THEM. The video above gives a pretty good idea of their performance setup for this tour. They proceeded to play “Sleepness Nights,” the aforementioned “Halloween” and even a few Mercyful Fate tracks (an earlier influential band that King Diamond had fronted before this one) like “Melissa” and “Come To The Sabbath.” All the while the band prompted audience-wide head banging while Diamond sinisterly wailed away, utilizing his trademark bone cross microphone stand.
As the first half of King Diamond’s performance came to an end – the backdrop changed and the story of Abigail began, with the eerie vocal introduction of “Funeral” before galloping into “Arrival” and into the rest of the album – a horror story of a haunted mansion, family ghosts, murder and evil spirits incarnated. The band performs the album like a soundtrack to a grim play, with a driving, fist-pumping rhythm section, magnificent virtuoso leads and ghastly ominous vocal tales, while Diamond along with other performers act out the demonic story onstage. Charging through galvanic songs like “The Family Ghost,” to the grizzly vocal range of “The 7th Day of July 1777,” and the memorable, haunting chorus of “Abigail,” we arrived at “Black Horsemen” which starts off with a beautiful, acoustic classical passage before delving into a heavy, melodic and symphonic anthem. The band began to conclude their performance as Diamond expressed the last line of the song “Time has come for me to say goodnight.”
King Diamond’s performance has proved that both they and the album continue to be cult heavy metal classics. King Diamond can be heard 0n Full Metal Jacket, Mood’s classic Heavy Metal offering.
– Submitted by Jesse Nathason, Music Design