King Diamond - Them

 

(1988, Roadrunner Records)

It was not such a long time after “Abigail” when King Diamond decided to deliver another masterpiece titled “Them”; after MERCYFUL FATE had split up the Danish singer seemed to be in a creative orgasm, hence his first five solo albums are considered to cover the first round of a splendid career. Well, King has not issued a disc for the last seven years - we do hope for a release some time in the near future - but as long as there are albums out like “Them” there’s no reason why we shouldn’t re-run back to the glorious days of the 80s and dive into the immaculate horror stories of this phenomenal performer.

With original members Michael Denner (guitar) and Timi Hansen (bass) now gone, new recruits Peter Blakk and Hal Patino, respectively, had the difficult role of proving they can fill their shoes; but they did it adequately. The musicianship is immense, with all the instruments being tight in craftsmanship and the roles of the players being strict. The music is complex again and I wonder how the hell the musicians do remember what they have to perform, huh. The tempos vary, as assumed, and lead guitar parts are audible everywhere. The concept is about an evil grandmother that summons the dead - as far as I’m concerned - and the story is unveiled in a vivid way as the music rolls on.

In this classic Metal album, King Diamond delivers at a full theatric mode by using tons of layers in his singing. He mourns, he screams, he chants and he narrates at ease while at the same time adequately creating the atmosphere for the plot to be unveiled. Maybe the first time you listen to the LP you may find yourself in a chaotic mood due to the music’s complexity and the story’s mixed meaning/scope but after a few auditions rest assured everything will be in place to your benefit. There are no keyboards here, only a bass/drums/guitars orgy that helps the band spewing out from some very ‘darkened’ regions. The arrangement is top-notch and the riffage shall haunt you down, no questions asked.

With King’s vocals at the spotlight, “Them” stands proud as a landmark 1988 release. The storytelling is excellent, the musical background is exceptional and the production is fitting by all means. The album even hit the US charts (#89) and was the predecessor of another fine concept album in the name of “Conspiracy”. Many metalheads think that “Them”’s predecessor “Abigail” is the best offering from King’s solo days but truth is that with “Them” he became a household Metal name. And that’s not a little thing to mention...


Tracklist

01. Out From The Asylum
02. Welcome Home
03. The Invisible Guests
04. Tea
05. Mother’s Getting Weaker
06. Bye, Bye Missy
07. A Broken Spell
08. The Accusation Chair
09. Them
10. Twilight Symphony
11. Coming Home


Lineup

King Diamond - Vocals
Andy LaRocque - Guitar
Pete Blakk - Guitar
Hal Patino - Bass
Mikkey Dee - Drums