I think for many metal fans, a reference to 'the King' by a passer-by on the street doesn't create associations to the greasy haired fellow who occupied Graceland until his heart exploded after years of uncontrolled medication and eating in 1977. If you're anything like me, your train of thought first and foremost bumps into a Dane who many years ago expatriated himself to Dallas, Texas and made that his base for creating horror filled stories and applying heavy music to those stories.
The band King Diamond has existed for almost 30 years now, thus marking the first dissolvement of Mercyful Fate, a band that have influenced countless acts over the past three decades. A tradition King's solo band continued.
The new double CD 'Dreams of Horror' is a status of the three decades King himself and his only remaining original sidekick, guitarist Andy LaRocque, have entertained the metal world (and beyond) with thrilling stories of ghosts, demons and devils. The two CD's are divided into the 'Roadrunner Years' and the 'Metal Blade Years', holding just over 50 minutes worth of music each. 30 years and just two record companies? Shows belief and loyalty, I reckon.
One thing that this collection also shows is a consistent quality of song material as well as a confidence in the characteristic style of the band. No matter if you like King Diamond or not, no one can deny that the man is a unique specimen in the world of music. And that's backed by an excellent talent for composition which is also apparent when you listen through these two CD's. Even with the albums where you thought that this wasn't really at the level of hammer albums like 'Abigail', 'Them' and 'Conspiracy' (my absolute faves in the King catalogue), I realised when listening back to this combilation that the songs from later and less impressive albums are songs that I
recognize. A song like Black Devil, for example, is sooo dark, the title track from 'Spider's Lullabye' is in fact also the hammer upon a re-listen.
Would the selection of songs have looked exactly like the one King has picked for this compilation? Oh, maybe not entirely, but it's damned close. No matter, what I'd recommend this collection to anyone who's considering giving King Diamond a go. A strong testimony of a great that has made a difference in the world of heavy music - Hail to the King! 'nuff said!