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King Diamond and face paint

King Diamond and face paint
October 29, 2013, 04:50:36 AM
According to rock journalist Joel McIver’s 2004 book ‘Justice for All: The Truth About Metallica’, the origins of King Diamond’s look can be traced to a September 1975 Copenhagen stop on American shock-rocker Alice Cooper’s first solo tour:

“It was Alice Cooper. I saw the ‘Welcome to My Nightmare’ tour in Copenhagen in 1975. Even though there wasn’t that much make-up ... it changed him completely. He became unreal. I remember the show so well. I was up front – and I thought if I could just reach out and touch his boot, he would probably disappear.”

King Diamond’s theatrics, when combined with music heavier than that of Cooper, in turn paved the way for the legions of face-painted metal bands that dot the landscape today. It also subjected King Diamond and Mercyful Fate to accusations of Satanism, which Diamond addressed in ‘Justice for All’.

“[The Satanic Bible] doesn’t say to anyone, listen here, this is the right god and this is the wrong god,” he argued. “It simply tells you to pick and choose whatever makes you happy, because no-one can prove anything anyway. So if people say I’m a Satanist if I believe in the life philosophy in that book, then sure. But if they’re saying, do you believe that baby blood will give you extra energy; and you can conjure demons with it? Then no, I don’t believe in that.”


Re: King Diamond and face paint
October 29, 2013, 06:41:51 AM
Not sure if this is common knowledge here or anywhere, but there are some old traditions in Indo-European culture that that uncannily resemble certain traits of metal culture.

In some Germanic communities, the tradition of representing the Wild Hunt at winter solstice had black-clad young men, face-painted to resemble the dead warriors, run amok through their villages at solstice night- screaming like beasts, punishing those who misbehaved that year.

Another aspect of the rites of passage for males was that, at certain age, boys would be 'abducted' from their homes to live in the woods in feral conditions for some time, as they were prepared to re-enter society as responsible men. I don't remember the exact sources for this, but one author even mentioned the young men weren't allowed to cut their hair during this period.

If someone can point me to relevant studies in English I'd be much obliged.

Re: King Diamond and face paint
October 29, 2013, 03:38:51 PM
Is that really true Barbaar? It sounds like the kind of thing Euronymous might come up with.

Re: King Diamond and face paint
October 30, 2013, 04:48:08 PM
The acting out of this 'Wild Hunt', or a similar march of the dead, was a common tradition in Indo-European communities. Traces of it can be found in current day celebrations, most prominently in remote regions of the Germanic countries.

Perchten are associated with midwinter and the embodiment of fate and the souls of the dead.

Traditionally, young men dress up as the Krampus in the first two weeks of December, particularly in the evening of December 5, and roam the streets frightening children and women with rusty chains and whips and bells.


Main traits:

-Anticipating winter solstice
-Young men masquerading as the deceased/demonic
-Wreaking havoc at night, making a lot of noise, frightening the citizens
-disciplinary action towards the bad/immoral

The Germanic männerbunde's rites of initiation should be well documented by serious historians, and I'll post here if I find out more.

I think the metal facepaint relates to primitive masque-cults like those mentioned above, where the wearer of the mask was supposed to become or get possessed by the deity/demon/whatever the mask depicted. Not as an atavism per se, but instrumentally. It's a device for inner transformation, to de-humanize, to unlock inhuman powers, to contact the gods, etc.

Re: King Diamond and face paint
November 25, 2013, 04:49:40 PM
Is that really true Barbaar? It sounds like the kind of thing Euronymous might come up with.


I guess there's some doubt as to whether or not they were tattooed/face-painted. Will require further investigation.

Re-watched Valhalla Rising recently, and I'm curious as to whether the charcoal body art featured on the prisoners at the outset of the film were research-based or purely cinematic fluff - probably the latter. In connection to ancient tattoos in Europe, apparently Ötzi had some ink.

EDIT: better reference