KING DIAMOND – The Puppet Master

KING DIAMOND - The Puppet Master


Massacre (EU) / Metal Blade (US)
Release date: October 21, 2003

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

It’s Halloween, and it’s time for King Diamond’s umpteenth conceptual album, a nice little horror story that takes place in Budapest in the 18th century – about the nightmares of a little child, how he ends up a puppet out of dead people’s bodies due to a sick doctor’s experiments. Believe it or not, but the story also deals with the aspects of… love. I’ll let you find out the rest yourself.

Musically, King Diamond returns with his finest album in many many years. You might have to go all the way back to “The Eye” to match the overall quality (though “House Of God” was a real killer, too). As usual, Andy LaRocque comes up with a handful of bonecrushing riffs (“Magic”, “The Ritual” and “Darkness”), the music has a psychotic feel to it, like “No More Me” and “Blue Eyes”, which both start off in the same vein as perhaps the best ballad of the seventies (Alice Cooper’s “Years Ago/Steven”), and “So Sad”, one of the duets between the main character and his love, Victoria, sung by King and his wife, Livia Zita.

The music is like a drug. Once you are into this record, there’s no way you can actually take the CD out of the tray (which explains badly why I haven’t reviewed much the last month, “The Puppet Master” has been stuck in my car stereo, my computer, my discman as well as the CD-player back home). King and Andy focused harder on melodies with “The Puppet Master”, the album is catchier than for instance “Abigail II – The Revenge”. But they never forget the importance of making different atmospherical settings for a concept record, which I believe is King’s own field. Being a guitar player, and an excellent one at that, Andy mostly comes up with the heavier stuff, but also shows a very melodic side with the chorus of “The Ritual”, perhaps the finest melody on the whole CD.

The vocals have always been a do or die when listening to King Diamond, for yours truly as well as many others. This time around I have no problems with King’s voice whatsoever. He might have toned down his falsetto a little bit, or I might have gotten used to it. Here, his voice is perfect for creating atmospheres, storytelling as well as being different characters. It always was, you might say, I just feel he controls himself more on “The Puppet Master”, like he is playing more safely, and I think he might benefit from that in a live situation as well as being easier for new listeners to approach. No, this is not commercial music, by no means, but my point is that King Diamond is more accessible in a market where lots of youngsters are discovering what metal really is about, and that gives hope for lots of twisted horror stories in the years to come…

At last, let me just notify you that the release comes with a bonus DVD, where King Diamond tells the story of “The Puppet Master”. Honestly, this is the part of the package that could have been done much more professionally, not even his monologue seems well rehearsed. I like the idea of doing a DVD with this intention, I just think it’s done too cheaply. Let me leave it like that, and let you find out yourself after bringing “The Puppet Master” into your own microcosmos, which I strongly advice you to do immediately.


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