My relationship with the Danish king is one of total worship and surrendering. This mans work turned me into a degenerate metal fan and thus molded me into what I am to day (for better or for worse I don’t know), so if you don’t like partial reviews stop reading right now. I don’t think I would criticize the diamond king even if he (like other Scandinavian [read Norwegian] metal acts) went country. Luckily that will never happen.
“Them” is King Diamond’s biggest commercial success, entering the US chart at place 80 something. As being the successor of the supreme effort “Abigail” I feel that “Them” has been condemned to an eternal existence in the darkness behind this magnum opus. The question is though, if not “Them” surpasses even “Abigail”.
Everything is there. The incredible lyrics that bind the album together to a story of death, evil and other mystical things (the album being part one in a story that ends on the next album “Conspiracy”). This album features the most varied and complex song structures the King and his band has ever written. This is technical heavy metal the way it was supposed to be made. The supreme drumming of Gothenburg-drummer Mikkey Dee (if you happen to own some of Motörhead's latest releases I suggest you compare the drumming on one of them with this album. Then you will realize how much talent that goes to waste every time MD takes place behind the Motörhead drum set). The great riffing and guitar solos played by Andy la Rocque and Pete Blakk (Michael Denners departure leaves a bit of a void though).
This is a kick ass release. I’ve often heard people complaining about and having problems with King Diamond’s voice (he sounds like a castrato from time to time) but that is no excuse. This is not just a band, this is King Diamond for fucks sake. This man has through his self titled act and his other band Mercyful Fate laid the foundation for the entire metal scene of the present. Mercyful Fate was undoubtedly the first generally known band that stayed true to their beliefs. It was no Venom-ploy. It wasn’t evil for the publicity, it was TRUE. So I am not suggesting that you should start (eeeh, haven’t you started yet?) listen to King Diamond/Mercyful Fate, I am ordering you. This is not just art in it’s purest form, it is (or at least ought to be) common knowledge. If you already are a fan: keep on rocking and if your not: then start rocking dammit.
As for the question if “Them” surpasses “Abigail”. After all “Abigail” was the first metal record I bought ever so I think “Abigail” still is number one. Hmmm…..and the production on “Them” is a little weak from time to time…yes “Abigail” is number one but “Them” also stands out as one of the best metal albums ever.
© 2000 herr nebelwerfer