“The Graveyard” (remaster) by King Diamond

Artist: King Diamond
Title: “The Graveyard” (remaster)
Label: Metal Blade Records
Release Date: 10/13/2009
Genre: Heavy Metal
Rating: 4/5

Continuing the remastered editions of the King Diamond catalog that were released under the Metal Blade Records banner comes the 1996 recording of “The Graveyard” and remaining true to form the King weaves a tale that both horrifies and compels the listener as it plays out. I admit that I paid little mind to this release when it first came about and enjoyed the fact that I was listening to it with what I felt were fresh ears with this version. The story told across the span of the album is that of the King character who works for an evil boss that is caught molesting his daughter. The King’s outrage and pointing out of this activity finds him declared mad and locked away in a sanitarium. I guess he should have expected this when accusing the mayor of such an insidious deed. In time the King escapes and is now officially mad and a resident of the local graveyard where he becomes a living spook or ghoul in some respect and kills unsuspecting passers by as he plots the demise of the mayor who locked him away so long ago. The two eventually meet and to know the full story you will just have to listen for yourself. We don’t plan on spoiling the end of the movie for you in these words that’s for sure.

There are a number of musical highlights across the album with “Digging Graves” being perhaps the most profound of the albums offerings. There is some excellently ominous stuff being delivered by Andy LaRoque on every track and his guitar screams in cruel agony during tunes like “Oh Daddy” and “Sleep Tight Little Baby”. This recording tells a full story which folks expect of the King on each of his albums because it seems to bring the whole dramatic mood to a larger effect than if they were scattered tunes that cover a number of different stories. He did this with his “The Spider’s Lullabye”, which was the album that preceded this one and while a strong and interesting effort it seemed to piss the larger fan base off a little bit. I felt the King was in excellent vocal form on this release as he delivered a number of different parts of the tale in character and hence brought these characters to life in the music. Joining Diamond and LaRoque on this recording are Herb Simonsen (guitars), Chris Estes (bass) and Darrin Anthony (drums) and for the most part there are no real acrobatics being done and much of the music is relatively straight forward. A booklet is included which only gives us two small photos of King Diamond and a single one of the other musicians (also small) so one might feel a little bit of a visual cheat going on. After my full listen I realized that the best way to sink into this one was to relax and play at moderate volume and let your mind take you on a journey into the gruesome tale. Like most King Diamond releases it’s very easy to do this with the vivid imagery that he paints in his lyrics. I’ve read that some folks regard this as a weak album but perhaps to its 1999 audience it was met with this based on the other music that was going on around at the time. It is hard to appreciate a conventional Horror laden Metal album when the airwaves of the day are telling us about “Living la Vida Loca”. If you don’t yet own this recording, then now is your perfect chance to bundle up and listen as the tale chills the very air around you.

The King Diamond remasters come packaged in a slim digipak case and there is additional content to be found on the Metal Blade official site. I think I would have preferred they include this stuff, whatever it may be, on the actual release but this was not the case.

Track Listing:
1. Graveyard
2. Black Hill Sanitarium
3. Waiting
4. Heads On The Wall
5. Whispers
6. I’m Not A Stranger
7. Digging Graves
8. Meet Me At Midnight
9. Sleep Tight Little Baby
10. Daddy
11. Trick Or Treat
12. Up From The Grave
13. I Am
14. Lucy Forever

Official Web site: http://www.kingdiamondcoven.com/site/

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