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Friday, June 16: King Diamond, “The Invisible Guests”

It wasn’t quite as strong as the career-defining Abigail, but “Them” was King Diamond’s best-selling album, as well as the one that truly separated King’s solo band discography from his epochal work with Mercyful Fate.  With former Fate colleagues and original King Diamond lineup stalwarts Michael Denner and Timi Hansen departed and replaced by Pete Blakk and Hal Patino, Andy LaRocque took the reins as King’s primary musical foil and crystalized the band’s shredding goth metal approach.  Indeed, it was the combination of King’s multi-faceted vocals and LaRocque’s warp-speed riffing that made stormers like “The Invisible Guests” first-rate Euro metal barnburners.  Of course, as was often the case with King Diamond’s first few records, Mikkey Dee’s frantic drumming was a vital secret weapon, giving the song its unrelenting momentum and helping to place it among “The Family Ghost” and “A Mansion in Darkness” as King Diamond’s finest ragers.  In essence, “The Invisible Guests” captured King Diamond in its prime, distilling the horror, technicality and primal force into a cohesive and lethal whole.

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1990. The Eye

is a concept fifth album by King Diamond, released October 30. It continues to feature a major storyline such as other King Diamond albums, though it is told differently.

His past two concept albums have been told from the perspective of the protagonists; this one is told from the view of a narrator. The themes of Christian atrocity with the persecution of alleged witches and sexual abuse against nuns are present. The story is almost entirely historically accurate, including the names of the actual characters (except for the storyline about the “Eye necklace”, which is fiction).

The main parts of the stories told on this album are true, and took place during the French Inquisition, 1450-1670. All of the following characters are real and from that period of time.

This marked the first King Diamond album without Mikkey Dee recording the drums. The drummer on this album was Snowy Shaw (as opposite for the general belief, King said that no drum machine was used on the album. Snowy actually played on drum pads instead of proper drums).

the band did not tour in support of the album, due to lack of label support. Following The Eye, Hal Patino and Pete Blakk were replaced by Sharlee D’Angelo and Mike Wead respectively.  However this line-up ended-up not recording any material, as vocalist King Diamond reunited with Mercyful Fate in 1993 (King Diamond would balance recording and touring with both Mercyful Fate and his eponymous band throughout the 1990s).

This album is perfect. Everything about is fantastic. Lyrics, vocals, guitars, drums, production, and story. This is as good of an album as any ever created. If your a fan of King Diamond and you haven’t heard this record, you’re in for a treat. I giving this album a 100% for it’s creativity and excellence. One of the greatest albums I’ve ever listened to.

   King Diamond    Andy LaRocque   Pete Blakk   Hal Patino   Snowy Shaw