ARTIST: King Diamond
TITLE: Fatal Portrait
YEAR RELEASED: 1985
CHART ACTION: Only in Sweden
SINGLES: King Diamond doesn’t do singles – well not at least on this one.
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: The ones that know, know.
LINEUP: King Diamond, Andy LaRoque, Michael Denner, Timi Hansen, Mikkey Dee
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Mercyful Fate howler forms own band and starts down the road of complicated concept albums by telling a story on half of this debut record.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The shriek – that shriek can only mean King Diamond is lurking about the studio. It’s in full effect here, as are the great riffs and some nice solos from LaRoque and Denner. There’s your usual demons and the occult and all that.
For the most part, it seems like a Mercyful Fate album, but with one difference. Diamond told stories – album length stories. Half of this album is the story of a spirit in a portrait of Molly that comes back and haunts the mother. Your standard stuff of nightmares. It’s the ‘first side’ and the last cut, which breaks it up a bit unfortunately.
The only issue I have is that without the lyrics, thanks to his shriek, sometimes I can’t get what Diamond is saying so I lose the plot unless I have Wikipedia or something up. Because of that, some of my enjoyment is a bit lessened – I know I’m supposed to be hearing the story but deciphering it takes away from my headbanging. Ah, well.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: Diamond, Denner and Hansen all came from the last incarnation of Mercyful Fate, as they wanted to keep doing this kind of metal instead of ‘commerical’ metal. Good call!
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Two bonus cuts, including a great Christmas (!) song. Well, it IS a King Diamond Christmas song.
GRADE: B+: My only wish was that the story be consecutive and not broken up, and that I could understand the plot more without any help. But that may be my ears.