King Diamond’s most recent recording actually dates back over seven years—this tour is actually in support of a two-CD greatest hits set that hits stores next month. Coincidentally, this record came out right when WWE wrestler Chris Benoit killed his kids and then himself…as it’s a ghastly tale of double-infanticide/suicide and the undead spirits that linger as a result.
Organ-backed spoken-word intro “The Dead” makes it clear these kids are no longer among the living, before “Never Ending Hill” picks up the pace, a pretty standard speed-metal opener that I swear I’ve heard on two or three different KD records already. “Is Anybody Here?” is a pretty decent piece of power metal, with a serpentine riff slithering throughout, while “Black of Night” finally sees King let loose his falsetto on a sword-wielding stomper without much fanfare.
“Mirror Mirror” is more of that slightly more than mid-paced stomp ‘n chug, solid but unspectacular. “The Cellar” actually sounds sorta like Dokken, with some very Lynchian guitar flourishes interspersed within a throwback 80’s romp. Whispered-word interlude “Pictures in Red” leads into “Give Me Your Soul,” only this time, King doesn’t say please on this rather stock stomper with a child-sung chorus. Maybe if I paid more attention to the lyrics, I could comment on the character development, but the fact is, this album isn’t all that interesting.
“Floating Head” only sounds like it has a guest riff by Dimebag, a staccato chugging that sounds sorta nu-metal. Kinda makes ya wanna snap yer fingers, snap yer neck… “Cold As Ice” also leans pretty heavy towards the bottom end, though this one’s more of a power-metal dragon-rider. Let’s just say the chorus is slightly heavier than Foreigner.
“Shapes of Black” actually begins with some old-timey piano trading off with the guitars, a meandering number that never quite moves away from the fun-house feel. “The Girl in the Bloody Dress” is also pretty synth-heavy, this one giving off a bit of a new-wave/gothic feel. OK, so maybe more goth than new wave. “Moving On” actually starts off like some new-age meditation soundtrack, though it eventually progresses to metal-ballad territory. That said, I feel like I mentally moved on six or seven songs ago…