So here it is, the Halloween Episode of OCTOBERFEAST. Rather than diving right into the concluding entry, I just want to wish everyone a Happy Halloween. For real — this holiday is such a blast and I really feel bad for anyone who can’t enjoy it. I just spent the afternoon at the Bruins/Oilers game with Caffeine Powered & our cousin, and I saw children and adults alike dressed in various costumes. Behind a Skrull mask, I realized that it really takes a true asshole to be against a day dedicated to dressing up, eating candy, and celebrating. While watching the Bruins emerge victorious was enjoyable, the real entertainment came from spotting Hulk Hogan, Darth Vader, the Super Mario Brothers and other heroes in the crowd.
The occult, theatrics, and potentially subversive messages have weaved their way into the fabric of rock & roll. Heavy music seems to be one of the few venues in which it is not only accepted but expected that Satan is embraced in one form or another. Unfortunately, most of the well-known bearers of rock’s horror-torch are more style than substance.
KISS? Don’t even get me started on these guys. Any time that someone suggests that they even qualify as heavy metal, I get a stomach cramp and have to use the restroom. Knights In Satan’s Service? Heaven’s on Fire? Bah! Don’t make me puke. This guys are nothing more than merchandisers who use shitty music to push the product.
Alice Cooper? Marilyn Manson? Sorry, but since I’m not thirteen years old I’m not falling for your tricks. Yes, Alice, I know that singing about school being out forever is a great way to start summer vacation. But as far as being a dark shepherd of the underworld…something tells me that he lacks credibility. And as far as Cooper’s successor/rival, Marilyn Manson — I just don’t buy it.
Amidst a slew of half-baked, barely worthwhile horror-themed rockers stands one man and his music. Yes, he certainly dabbles in supernatural themes such as witchcraft, ghosts, Satan, hauntings, religious corruption, madness, and the like. But this performer has always surrounded himself with excellent personnel, thereby backing up his ghoulish persona with legitimately rocking tunes. Really, if you consider yourself a fan of heavy metal you should probably own at least one of his records.
No, I’m not talking about Ozzy — the man of the hour is the one and only KING DIAMOND.
King Diamond is a goddamn force of nature. Shrouded by spooky black & white makeup, Diamond has commanded the stage for both his own eponymous band and its predecessor, Mercyful Fate. With these outfits, King Diamond takes the listener through twisting tales of depravity and terror, often requiring an entire album to do so. Take, for instance, King Diamond’s The Eye, which tells an interwoven tale of witch-hunts and sexual assault committed by Church officials. Thematically, there is no question that King Diamond is a champion of OCTOBERFEAST.
More importantly, though, is King Diamond’s vocal proficiency. The King assumes various roles throughout his songs, sometimes speaking as a creepy grandma, an executioner, a priest, or even a child. Although a master of this sort of performance-vocal, King Diamond also belts out a falsetto wail of which banshees can only dream. King Diamond has set a standard of screeching to metal that modern bands can only match with extensive assistance from Pro-Tools.
King Diamond’s influence on the world of heavy metal is undeniable. Anyone that believes King Diamond to be unappreciated within the metal world just needs to remember the showcase he was given on 2005’s Roadrunner United. Injecting technicality into good songwriting and combining it with a thick slice of macabre, King Diamond has created an amazing body of work. I strongly suggest that you check out Abigail, “Them” and The Eye.
To rock out — watch the first video, a live rendition of the title track Abigail.
To be creeped out — watch the second video, King Diamond explaining a portion of The Puppet Master.