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Chris Slack Reviews King Diamond Live in Seattle

By Chris Slack, Contributor
Friday, November 14, 2003 @ 12:00 AM

Slack Reviews King Diamond, En

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Before beginning this review I have a bit of a rant towards a number of venues: Please try to start shows at the advertised time! Getting to venues at 7:30 for an 8:00 start time then having to wait for an hour and a half stinks, especially when I have to come straight from work and could be doing other things with my time besides standing around outside your clubs.

The last time I saw King Diamond was in support of the House of God album back in July of 2000. While it was a good show, attendance was rather sparse and it seemed as though the energy was missing from both the band and the majority of the audience members. 2002 brought the great Abigail 2 album but sadly there was no tour. This night, however, the legendary King Diamond was to make a return to Seattle. Would he live up to my high expectations and deliver the show that his last two albums deserved?

The first band to go on was Philadelphia’s Single Bullet Theory. I wasn’t looking forward to seeing them as I was less than impressed when they opened for Hypocrisy a while back. I was quite surprised though; this time they were much heavier with a pretty good triple vocal attack and crunchy guitar sound. The only criticism of their set is that the clean vocals didn’t seem to fit and the occasional metal scream seemed very out of place as well. Regardless of that, Single Bullet Theory did a pretty good job.

Next up was Nocturne, a Texan group who I knew absolutely nothing of. When I saw members of the band decked out in vinyl and sporting pancake makeup and eye shadow it pretty much set the tone for their set. To me Nocturne seemed like a generic industrial/gothic/metal act that would appeal primarily to kids who think that Marilyn Manson is the be-all, end-all of music. The music was very bass heavy, almost enough to drown out all the sequencing and highly repetitive guitar riffs and bass lines. The female vocalist moved like a bad stripper and had a near monotone voice as she sung of some of their favorite things such as “Sex and Cocaine.” Yawn…

Next up was Entombed, one of my favorites of the early Swedish death metal bands. I never had the chance to see them when I was really into them and by the time I had the chance later in their career (after their classic Left Hand Path) I didn’t care enough about their music to take the time. With that said, I am damn happy they opened for King Diamond because, even though I couldn’t get into their later albums, they completely kick ass as a live band. No frills, fancy equipment or attitude with these guys, just a bunch of fun loving Swedes having a good time playing some balls-out metal. I was surprised by the amount of material they managed to squeeze into their set, with old classics (at least to me) such as “Abnormally Deceased,” “Left Hand Path” and “Living Dead,” as well as a bunch of newer stuff. The crowd really got into the set; it was a lot of work to keep my spot front and center with the amount of pushing going on. I will definitely be checking them out the next time they come through, hopefully in support of their latest, Inferno.

Photos of Entombed from this show can be found at http://www.shadows.com/gravemusic/live/kingd102503/entombed.shtml.

After a fairly lengthy changeover period, I caught a glimpse of King and other band members off to the side of the stage, the time for the horror metal of the King of Diamonds at hand! The house lights dimmed to near blackness as the members of the group took the stage, once could make out King coming on and taking a few steps onto a platform at center stage. The crowd pressed forward even harder than during Entombed and remained that way for the duration of the set. “Funeral” from the Abigail album came booming forth from the PA system as black lights were turned on underneath the platform, illuminating King and the coffin of Abigail with an eerie blue glow. He pulled the lid of the coffin aside and brought a baby doll out (the doll was pretty big -- I thought Abigail was stillborn!) and made some great faces as he stood menacingly with the baby. Tossing the baby aside, the band kicked right into “Mansion in Darkness” and the set was underway. King pulled out the stops for this tour, which featured many of the characters from his albums, Abigail, Grandma and a living puppet. Apart from some issues with the levels on his vocals on the first song the set was tight and on the mark. The dual lead assault of Andy LaRocque and Mike Wead was impressive as ever as they traded solos back and forth like few musicians care to do these days. This lost art may go unappreciated by the masses but your reviewer and others schooled in old school metal ways love that kind of stuff! New drummer Matt Thompson did a great job as well, definitely the best drummer King has had since Mikkey Dee. In my opinion this was the best show I have ever seen from King and company, I still have the music and imagery embedded in my mind some two days later.

Photos of King Diamond from this show can be found at http://www.shadows.com/gravemusic/live/kingd102503/index.shtml.

Set list:

1. Funeral (Intro)
2. A Mansion in Darkness
3. The Family Ghost
4. Black Horsemen
5. Spare This Life (Intro)
6. Mansion in Sorrow
7. Spirits
8. Sorry Dear (Outro)
9. Eye of the Witch
10. Sleepless Nights
11. Puppetmaster
12. Blood to Walk
13. So Sad
14. Welcome Home
15. Invisible Guest
16. Burn
18. Halloween
19. No Presents for Christmas

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