Band: King Diamond
DVD: Songs for the Dead
Label: Metal Blade Records
Filmed In: Belgium (Grasspop) and The Filmore (Philadelphia)
FFO: Judas Priest, Mercyful Fate, Grave Digger
When it comes to live performances I myself am a huge fan. I try to go to as many shows as possible and try to branch out as much as I can when it comes to metal. And the simple fact I have never gotten into or seen King Diamond is a damn shame. "Songs for the Dead" is a 2 live show DVD, released by Metal Blade records which drops on January 25th. The DVD captures King Diamonds performance at Belgium's Grasspop festival and their more intimate show at the famous Filmore in Philly. For those of you who aren't familiar with KD, this is 80s speed metal at its finest. Heavy riffs and pounding riffs that roll like tank through forest. With one of the highest vocal ranges you will ever hear. Fronted by King Diamond himself, also fronts Mercyful Fate, this 62 year old frontman proves age is just a number with 2 incredible shows. Hitting notes that would make Rob Halford jealous.
These shows were filmed by people who knew what they were doing. Very clear and precise shots throughout both performances. Capturing the entire bands playing as well as 2 very excited audiences. What I loved was that they were able to hop around between multiple shots without it feeling out of control and giving me a headache. More so in the Filmore show then the Grasspop performance. This really gives the viewer the feeling of being at the show, without the drunken fans and nasty smell.
The sound of these performances was where this DVD shines. KIng Diamonds vocals are studio clear and perfectly understandable. Which I believe is more of a compliment to KD if anything. The bands playing comes in crystal clear. You don't miss a beat in either performance. The only downside of the performances sound wise was the backing vocals, They pan to her many times throughout the show but you don't hear anything. Just see her mouth moving, To be honest, with KDs vocals you don't really need anyone backing, Seems a bit much like overkill and not necessary. I will probably look up the vocalist and have to hear her solo vocals, just to hear what could have been.
King Diamond has been around for quite a long time and helped bring that 80s speed metal sound to the world. So when it comes to live shows, they don't disappoint. With both shows, they absolutely killed it. From the pentagrams to the upside down crosses the stage set ups are dark and set the stage for some creepy and heavy music. King Diamond, decked out in his all black get up, signature top hat and corpse paint, shows the world he can still hit the highest of notes at the young age of 62. Terrific stage presence with both shows. No standing around with static movements here. But no running around making a fool of themselves either. Two incredibly different crowds, one a mash up of drunken festival goers and one a legion of King Diamond diehards. You can see and hear the difference clearly. I easily preferred the Filmore show mainly because of the crowds reactions and energy. Filming live shows at festivals is always a risk, mainly because you never know who is gonna show up. Either a lot of fans for that band or fans who already saw their bands and are just there for a live show. They could have easily done just the Filmore show and that would have been just fine. Not much is missed with the Grasspop show, mainly because the sets are almost identical.
Overall I really enjoyed this DVD and I see myself listening to King Diamond in my spare time. Do I see myself buying this DVD when it comes out is yet to be seen. If you are a diehard KD fan then yes, buy this on January 25th. You will not be disappointed with your purchase. Which is normally the thing with DVD performances, its for the big fans. Not really for the casual listener. But being my first real exposure to King Diamond I was not disappointed and highly suggest you listen to their material. And this DVD is a great addition to anyone who is a a big 80s metal fan.
By Joe Sigfred