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Hail to the King, Part III - 100%

mjollnir, March 21st, 2014

After the monumental Fatal Portrait and the beautiful Abigail, King Diamond brings us his third album in three years, 1988's "Them". Now one would think that writing that many albums in that short of time in between touring, etc would cause a band to go stale. Well, King Diamond is not just any other band nor is King any other songwriter. Since the recording of Abigail, former Mercyful Fate guitarist Michael Denner was first replaced by Michael Moon for the Abigail tour. After the tour, Michael Moon was sacked and Pete Blakk brought in for the recording of the new album. Also gone was Timi Hansen who was replaced by Hal Patino. The addition of the new members actually added a new dimension to the band and the result is another album that is nothing short of perfect. How does King do it?

"Them" is another concept album where King puts himself in the first person as a boy dealing with ghosts ("Them"), an evil Grandma who controls "Them" as well as possesses his mother with "special" Tea, and an evil doctor who was supposed to help him. Once again, another elaborate and eerie story by a master story teller. After the intro "Out from the Asylum", we go right into probably the most well known King Diamond song, "Welcome Home". A video was made for this song that received a good share of airplay on MTV as well as being used decades later in the comedy Clerks II. That aside, the song is the perfect opener and King used that song for many years as the opener of his shows. From the beginning drum rolls going into the massive riff of the song what you have is a straight ahead heavy metal song showing that the new additions to the band were more than competent to handle King's demands. The riffs are plenty and the solos are absolutely amazing. Pete Black, while I wouldn't say he's better than Michael Denner, has a different approach to his playing and is actually more in the same style as Andy La Rocque giving the songs a more powerful and technical modern power metal sound.

Now this is personally my favorite King Diamond album and I think it's due to the consistency of the album. Songs like "The Invisible Guests" and "Mother's Getting Weaker" are just power metal crushers that are fast and loaded with hooks, riffs, and melodies. The choruses are catchy and, of course, the solos are just godly. King's voice on this album is a mix of his (mostly) falsettos and his eerie lower register. He even sings in his melodic lower "Mercyful Fate" register that was missing on the two previous albums. These songs are complex and technical without being pretentious. Then you have songs like "Bye, Bye Missy", "A Broken Spell", and "The Accusation Chair" that are you straight ahead metal rockers but with hooks and a complexity that makes them more than ordinary. Drummer Mikkey Dee also shows his skill on these songs, showing that he's just not a double bass and no fills player. He is technical and a master of his craft. He's one of the best to ever grace the genre.

"Tea" is actually one of my favorite songs by King Diamond. Part "ballady" and part galloping rocker it just has this heavy main riff that trades off with a beautiful clean guitar riff for the catchy as fuck chorus. Then in the middle it speeds up a bit for the massive solos that trade off between the two guitarists. King's voice is in top form for this one as well. Then after the beautiful acoustic title track you have the epic "Twilight Symphony". This song, though not quite on par with "The Black Horsemen" from Abigail, it's damn close. The riffs are huge and the chorus is epic and melodic with King's falsetto voice layered in harmonies that sound like choirs. This song is the last proper song on the album going into the outro "Coming Home" which gives you the sense that this concept will be continued (as it was on the follow up, Conspiracy).

While many will say that Abigail is King's best solo album and even I feel like "The Black Horsemen" from that album is the best metal song of all time, this songs on "Them" go together so well making this album my favorite over Abigail. This album also defines heavy metal as did the previous album making King one of the most prolific artists in heavy metal. The ability to write thee albums in a row, three years in a row is not something just anyone can do. This trio of albums are part of what made me love heavy metal to this day and is also the reason why King Diamond is my all time favorite metal artist. There are no other albums that can touch this, period!


http://elitistmetalhead.blogspot.com/

Spectral, stunning theatrics under a cheese film - 95%

autothrall, October 30th, 2011

Landing dead center in one of the greatest streaks of recording in all 80s metal, "Them" is the third conceptual horror piece from King Diamond, elevating the Mercyful Fate crooner's solo career from the blood-lacquered woodwork into the spotlight thanks to a fairly steady amount of airplay for its "Welcome Home" video. Honestly, I can't remember even his alma mater's works receiving the same hype that this album did, and for many this was a first exposure to the shrill falsettos, airy riffing and elegant leads that make his music so damned memorable. A few lineup changes were made, with Pete Blakk replacing Michael Denner and Hal Patino taking over for Timi Hansen, but otherwise this is a pretty straight evolution from the tremendous sophomore Abigail the year before.

As for its subject matter, "Them" is the story of a boy being haunted by ghosts and his grandma, and really there isn't much more to it, though it's continued through the following LP Conspiracy. Personally, I've not found all of his concepts to be equally engaging. Fatal Portrait and The Eye are stirring enough, but I couldn't really care for such hauntings as are explored here. That said, as a musical score to such a theme, this album functions brilliantly. The evocative cover image of the rural haunted house against the withered trees and moon is a perfect match for the eloquent aggression. Andy LaRocque's leads are a highlight of the album, almost always memorable and creating added dimensions to the songs, rather than just indulging himself (even if his technical ability is unquestionable), and though cheesy as all hell, the intros and interludes work to move the story along rather than feel out of place.

But for its central, metallic components, there is not a single track here I'd throw under the bus. "Twilight Symphony" is a particular favorite of mine for the arching chorus and the march-like meter of the verse guitars, but each piece is a wonder of straight-up trad metal with an almost thrashing fervor to its grooves. For example, the intro riff to "Welcome Home" has a lot of light chugging between the blissful lead breaks, while "The Accusation Chair" hammers along below it's gleaming bridge solo. If you're looking for a straight heavy metal headbanging nexus, you've got the opening to "Bye, Bye, Missy", while other pieces like "Mother's Getting Weaker" and "A Broken Spell" take a melodic power metal role as they plummet along to their own individual climaxes. Even where they dip into acoustics, like the titular interlude, none of the quality is lost, and the result is an album of well structured dynamics.

King Diamond put up quite a pantheon of recordings from 1986-90, and while I would not count "Them" as the best of them, that's only because I slightly favor the songwriting of its predecessor Abigail and the beautiful, witching woe/atmosphere of The Eye. There are a few riffs here which don't completely stick, and "Out from the Asylum" and "Phone Call" are just too cheesy despite their narrative importance in helping set the story. The lyrics are almost all narrative and dialogue. That aside, this album is worth every cent you'd pay for it, ten times over, as is the followup Conspiracy. That a single band could release five albums straight of such strength is remarkable. With the exception of maybe Slayer or Rage (from the same period) I can't really think of others who accomplished such a feat, and that's even if we DON'T include the Mercyful Fate stuff.. "Them" is superb, spectral, and for the most part, unforgettable: all hail the painted King.

-autothrall
http://www.fromthedustreturned.com

A Conceptual Metal Classic. - 97%

EthanGerman2012, October 18th, 2011

I have been listing to King Diamond and Mercyful Fate all of my life, and that includes the album, "Them". I've listened to this album so much, that I am 0% unsure about my score. Alright, let us begin.
The song opens with a typical King Diamond intro, "Out Of The Asylum", with a very creepy vibe to it. Then that cuts into what seems to be one of King Diamond's most popular song, "Welcome Home".
The song starts out with a very sweet drum roll by current Motorhead drummer, Mikkey Dee. While the main riff may not be a melodic as other tracks on the album, it is still a kick-ass song with some of the coolest solos by both Pete Blakk, and the shred-tastic Andy La Rocque. Replacing former King Diamond and Mercyful Fate guitarist Michael Denner, Pete Blakk has no problem following Andy in their epic dual leads, and he definitely stands out with solos.

Next, you have "The Invisible Guests", which starts off with such an awesome speed metal riff, and then comes in Mikkey Dee's with his ferocious pounding of his drums, and then comes a very cool demented sounding dual guitar harmony, which turns into the first solo of the song, which like all of the other leads in this album, kick ass! Then comes King's vocals, which in this track sound like a less nasaly and obnoxious version of Dave Mustaine, (not saying I dislike Dave Mustaine) but then he starts in his signature falsetto, and then goes into a very demonic creepy growl-like voice when he says "The Invisible Guests".

The next track is "Tea". This is a very melodic, and I will say, "ballady" track. The rythym for the guitars is left up to bassist Hal Patino, and he knows how to use what he's got. The bass is very vibrant, and audible. King's singing on here is very falsetto oriented, and has a bit of that creepy "insanity" vibe going on in his voice, especially in the chorus, which makes the track very interesting. I've got to say, the last solo in this song is one of my favorites on this album, and also among my all time favorite guitar solos.
"Mother's Getting Weaker" starts with a riff that's very melodic, and one of the best in the album. I really like the chorus in this song, and really lets you feel the emotion of the characters of the story.

The next song of the album is "Bye, Bye Missy", which erupts with a vicious heavy riff, and King Diamond's piercing falsetto. I should note that the sound of a tea pot shattering after, in the story, Missy threw it down, is a very cool effect. And then comes a mash up of a bunch of demon voices, and growls. The solos in this song are very traditional sounding, and very awesome. I like how the song ends with a nice galloping riff with King whispering "Bye, bye Missy. Don't be afraid".

"A Broken Spell" could trick somebody into thinking that it could be a ballad in the first 10 seconds, but then it soon turns into a tremelo bar oriented solo, with double-bass drums by Mikkey. This song also has a brief acoustical bit, which fits in the track perfectly, and then back to the speed metal and bass drums, ending with King shouting "Oh, I HATE that BITCH!" and then it fades out with acoustic guitars.

Now, this next song may just be my favorite on this album. "The Accusation Chair" starts with a very cool opening riff, and then a very heavy main riff, where King starts singing, and Mikkey drums start banging. I love the way King does his falsetto when the syncopation changes. Then, towards the middle of the song, a barrage of unexpected guitars, reminiscent of the theme from "The Twilight Zone" interrupts the song. Then, a slightly thrashy riff with fading in drums right before a series of dual guitar solos.

The next song, "Twilight Symphony" starts with a cool heavy chug riff. This is another personal favorite song of mine. It has an awesome chorus, probably one of the best King Diamond choruses ever. Like all other songs on the album, the lead solos and riffs are awesome, and never get stale. The last few songs are story filler tracks, which are well composed, leading the story into the next album, my favorite album, "Conspiracy".

In conclusion, this is a metal album that demands to be in your collection. The only problem I can think of for this album is of how quiet the drums are, but everything else is perfect.

Horror movie magic! - 98%

caspianrex, October 9th, 2009

I'm a bit baffled by the reviews of any of King's work that say something like "All his albums are the same kind of thing." Of course they are! But when an artist has such a fertile imagination as King Diamond does, I believe it's a bit silly to complain about what is essentially a consistency of artistic vision, rather than monotony. I mean, did people say about Edgar Allen Poe, "All his stories are so spooky--I'd just like a happy ending once in awhile"? God forbid! The thing is, when you listen to a King Diamond album, to a certain extent, you know roughly what you're going to get: some spooky shit, lots of different voices (all done by the same talented guy), and a shitload of musical creativity. Not to mention a band that knows how to fucking PLAY.

I recommend, if you've never done so, listen to this album on headphones while you drive through a dark countryside. I did that when I first listened to "Them," and it was great! I found myself checking the back seat every once in awhile, and I would be lying if I said I didn't get a cold chill up and down my spine. "Them" is, quite simply, classic King Diamond. You get the high, screaming vocals, alternating with the rough-edged lower vocals. You get the exceptionally creepy story line, and you get some brilliant, high-powered music to accompany the whole thing. Oh, and a Halloween-style tea party...a TEA PARTY, for the love of God! And that spooky-ass Grandma character. It's equal parts Poe, Hitchcock, and heavy metal mastery.

The great thing, too, that keeps King Diamond's quirkiness from becoming too cheesy, is the kind of headlong rush that happens in the music. Sure, you get creepy little interludes with keyboards, but when the band kicks in, and the riffing begins, the music does not let up. The rhythmic momentum keeps moving forward. This is not a band that noodles along. When these guys begin to play, things keep moving along at quite a clip. And the thing is, I never feel like I'm listening to prog rock, even though the music is quite complex. "Welcome Home" is a perfect example. We get that brilliant drum bit at the very beginning, and then BOOM! the song just takes off, and the horses keep racing, so to speak. King's voice is doing all sorts of crazy shit over the top of it. I would be interested to listen to the instrumental tracks without the vocals some day, just to hear what the band is doing a little more clearly. But, of course, the point is that it's the marriage of vocals and instrumentals that combines to realize the King Diamond vision so completely.

Since I speak so highly of everything on this album, you may wonder why I didn't just give this album a rating of 100. One tiny little problem: the actress who plays the part of the sister sucks...hard. King himself is really good at portraying himself and Grandma, but the sister sounds like an actress in a high school play. Or, at best, Marcia Brady. Okay, I'm not expecting a metal band to hire Meryl Streep to do a tiny little spoken part, but c'mon. They couldn't do better than that? Anyway, it's a minor blot on what is, to my taste, a spectacular concept album. Metal's dark storyteller has rarely exceeded this masterpiece.

Fairly Overrated - 55%

DawnoftheShred, June 2nd, 2009

Having only listened to a handful of King Diamond albums, I may be jumping the gun by declaring them all virtually the same sort of thing. But they all seem to feature the same sort of creepy vibe, the same semi-quality power metal riffs, and the same piercing vocals from Diamond. The only differences come by way of the particular album’s running narrative (they’re all concept albums), the album’s production, the musicians involved, and how creative the band manage to be despite working with the same sort of songs all the time. If all these things manage to maintain the listener’s interest, then that pervasive same-y-ness can be excused.

If, of course, is the critical word here. “Them,” despite being only the third album by his solo band, is KD suffering from a serious case of writer’s block. The story? Yet another haunted house tale. The music? Mediocre speed metal with Diamond’s vocals. The overall feel? Like that of all his other albums, leaving the verdict on “Them” to be quite relative to how much you enjoy his other works. But let’s be a bit more specific for those not as intimately acquainted with his other stuff.

The story is pure cheese, plain and simple. Like something out of a bad, low-budget horror movie, KD tells us the tale of “Amon,” a house with a dark secret. An old lady drinks blood with invisible beings, a little girl gets burned in a fireplace, a violent axing occurs, voices call from beyond the grave, and it’s all surprisingly boring. I like a concept album to have some sort of grand purpose to it; if you’re going to just tell a stupid little horror story, at least make it suspenseful and try, try, try to make it scary. “OOOOOHHHHHH! IT IS TIME FOR TEEEEAAAAA!!!” Yeah, that’s not going to fucking cut it.

The music is a little better, though it doesn’t redeem the album as a whole. There are actually a number of out-of-the-box riffing ideas, but more importantly, there are plenty of ear-catching passages. The first minutes of “Welcome Home,” the riffs of “Mother’s Getting Weaker,” and parts of “The Invisible Guests” and “Twilight Symphony” are all quite good, but most of the time I feel like I’m just waiting around for Andy LaRocque’s lead bit than actually enjoying anything. There’s several key riffs, lots of harmonized guitars, and many examples of shifting moods and dynamics (the acoustic “Them” is one of the only places where the keyboards actually enhance the mood rather than severely detracting from it), but the effect of the album as a whole is negligible, leaving it best enjoyed in small pieces. And lets not forget to mention that Diamond’s attempts to be theatrical are annoying as hell. The scratchy voice he uses to personify ‘Them’ in tracks like the intro piece “Out of the Asylum” and “Bye, Bye Missy” just makes me shake my head in disgust. And if you thought the intro was cheesy (it is), just wait until you hear the phone call outro. Ugh.

Though it has it’s moments, “Them” is nonetheless the weakest of Diamond’s attempts to be the next incarnation of Alice Cooper that I’ve heard thus far. Perhaps if it was the first album that you heard you’d be a bit more gracious, but after hearing Abigail or Melissa, “Them” comes off as shallow and cheesy. Do enjoy those works before attempting to enjoy “Them.”

King's Breakthrough Album - 90%

bayareashredder, January 13th, 2009

Following the release of the heavy metal classic, Abigail, the following year saw the release of King Diamond's third album, "Them", an album that was a massive success for King, probably his most successful album to date. This album was a big impact on King's career. Not just in terms of critial acclaim and success, but also within the band. The musicianship is somewhat different from the previous two albums, probably because after Abigail, guitarist Michael Denner and bassist Timi Hansen departed, thus adding Pete Blakk and Hal Patino, respectivaly, to the band for this album. Like Denner and Hansen being a big part of the band's sound on Fatal Portrait and Abigail, Blakk and Patino add their own style and sound to "Them", combining well with King Diamond's powerful, dynamic, and intense vocals, Andy LaRocque's neo-classical guitar playing, and Mikey Dee's pounding drumming.

Like Abigail, "Them" is easily a heavy metal classic with a lot of great songs. Starting with a hooking opener, "Out of the Asylum", and ending with a haunting climax, "Phone Call", both of which aren't songs, more like scenes from a horror movie, this album practically is a horror film. It tells the story of King, who lives with his sister Missy and their mother and how they get a visit from their grandma, who was just released from a psycho ward. In between the two chapters is some of King's greatest work. Welcome Home, the band's first music video, is one of their strongest efforts and is a regular on the band's live setlist. The following track, The Invisible Guests, is just the same, another King Diamond classic. The next several tracks continue on the story with other great songs like The Accusition Chair and Twilight Symphony.

As with every King Diamond album, King's vocals greatly shine with his use of falsetto singing and Halford inspired screams. The opening scream on Welcome Home is intense. Along with singing falsetto, King shifts between the highs and lows and has a lot of versatility and range. Guitarists Andy LaRocque and Pete Blakk are a great combo with each of them pulling out technical shredding solos but still adding some melodic touches too. As stated before, Pete Blakk is a new addition to the band and his playing is significantly different from his predecesor, Michael Denner. Denner was never a technical player and would often play more melodic and emotional solos, whereas Blakk has much more chops, much like Andy. Standout solos include Welcome Home, The Invisible Guests, Mother's Getting Weaker, and The Accusition Chair. The riffs on the album are just as amazing, with Welcome Home being one of King's most memorable riffs. Bassist Hal Patino adds a lot of really good bass fills and is very noticeable. As always, drummer Mikkey Dee is one hell of a drummer, pulling out a lot of great fills and rolls and has a lot of speed. Lyrically, the album really shines as each song is a chapter in the story. I won't give away the end but I will say that it ends with a cliffhanger that continues in King's next album, Conspiracy.

I've had this album for about 4 years now and it still never gets old. I would greatly recommend this album to any fan of extreme metal, but I'm sure most metalheads will enjoy it. Some might not like King's voice at first, I didn't, but it just takes some getting use to. Amazing album.

Big Step Down - 65%

pinpals, April 26th, 2007

After creating one of the greatest metal albums of all time, King Diamond returns with Michael Denner out of the band and replaced by the far better Pete Blakk. "Them" is another concept album, this time about a house, a crazy grandmother, otherworldly spirits, and tea. Doesn't sound scary? Well, it really isn't, that much. It has some very gruesome sections though. And I rather like the concept, it's well told and King Diamond does an amazing job on vocals for the most part.

One of the most surprising aspects of this album is the lead guitar work by Andy LaRocque. "Abigail" had what I consider one of the top 5 lead guitar performances in rock history, yet here, Andy is outshone on leads time and time again by Blakk. That's not to say that LaRocque does a terrible job, he just is nowhere near as amazing as he was on the previous album. The solos are actually the best part of this album. The riffs aren't too bad either, not as thrashy as "Abigail," but a lot more technical, probably due at least in part to Denner's departure. The drums by Mikkey Dee are fantastic as well, but the bass is pretty unnoticeable.

Yet this album fails because the songs are little more than a collection of riffs and solos. King Diamond does a great job of doing all the voices, but what separates this from "Abigail" is that he doesn't add any memorable hooks to his singing. Compare songs like "Tea" to "A Mansion in the Darkness" and you'll notice the difference. And speaking of "Tea," aside from an awesome fast part and solo section in the middle, this song is terrible! "Aaaahhhhh, it is tiiiime for tea!" Holy crap that's bad. And "Welcome Home," despite having an awesome main riff and a cool neoclassical Pete Blakk solo, has a second half so boring, it ruins the song. Especially that solo by Andy LaRocque. It starts out really cool, but gets slow and drags on far longer than it should. And the song itself sort of meanders around before it pitters out to the end.

The only song on here that ranks up with those on the previous album is "The Invisible Guests." It has a memorable guitar theme and a bunch of solos and King sounds great in the prechorus and chorus. The way he alternates between falsetto and growl really is unique, yet he actually includes hooks to make his vocal lines enjoyable.

If you get the remaster, you won't get much of an improvement of sound, but you will get a couple of rehearsal pieces, and it's really cool to hear everyone (King and Andy play guitars) play without any sort of production work. It's raw (and there's even a part where either King or Andy screws up and they have to start again) which make these songs worth the listener's while.

Despite a dynamic vocal performance by King Diamond and some good instrumental performances, this album fails to live up to its predecessor. If viewed as pure storytelling with heavy guitar riffs and solos, this album isn't bad at all, but when viewed as individual songs, this album's Achilles heel is revealed.

'Them', an undisputed classic of metal - 90%

KissTheDemon, July 19th, 2004

'Them' is definetly a metal classic, one of those albums that every metalhead must own, up there with the other King/MF essentials - 'Abigale', 'Conspiracy', 'The Puppet Master', 'Melissa' and 'Don't Break the Oath'. Before them, King had released the excellent debut 'Fatal Portrait' and the phenomenal 'Abigale'. King had become the King of metal (and always has been, and still is, in my eyes and ears). 'Them' does not dissapoint, in fact, on some levels, it's better than 'Abigale'.

On all King's albums, King's vocals are the spotlight. Not intentionally, but because his voice is so amazing - it's almost automatic. And this is no exception. When you hear King shriek 'Grandma!!!!!' in 'Welcome Home', it's over - the King has complete ownership over you until the end of the album. The intro is pretty insane as well, 'Out of the Asylum'. Uber creepiness. So, without saying much more, King's vocals are truley out of this world on this album, as always.

Another thing you might notice is that insane riffage of the guitars. The guitars dominate throughout, with excellent riffs that never get old, Andy is a true shredder, better than most guitarists of his era. The solos with flares of neo-classical-ism are great, speedy rippers. The drums are intense, supplied by the kits finest - Mikkey Dee, who is now with Motorhead. Great, fast paced, galloping drums that are relentless in their attack. Dee is the man. The bass is great, as well, the only thing from keeping King, Andy and Mikkey from going absolutley off-the wall.

Most of the songs on this album are actually quite fast paced. 'Welcome Home' is one of the best songs on the album, very fast and scorching, with Kings vocals absolutley shining. 'The Invisible Guests' actually has Andy on the spotlight with his cryptic opening riff and off the wal solo. Oh, when King mutters 'The Invisible Guest....' in the chorus, thats pretty freaking cool, too. 'Tea' is a very melodic metaller, with acoustic passages in the chorus, but non the less, it is a great tune. 'Mothers Getting Weaker' has some awesome vocals, and a great riff from Andy. 'Bye Bye Missy', along with 'Welcome Home', is one of the best songs on the album, with a great one-man-stage-play vocal preformance from King (actually, he uses that technique alot on this album, and a few others), insane riffage and disturbingly awesome lyrics. '"Them"' is a frightening, haunting piece that sounds like it was played in a cemetary by ghosts. 'Twilight Symphony' is metallic genious.

When Roadrunner remastered the King albums, they threw on some bonus tracks, such as the disturbing, frightening 'Phone Call', which I usually can't listen to in the dark and/or alone, because it just freaks me out.

Bottomline, this is a undisputed metal classic, one of King's best albums, and definetly among my favorite albums of all time. King never dissapoints. Ever. Never. Ever. Never.

Essential, metal classic - 95%

Dethrone_Tyranny, October 27th, 2003

What a chaotic album! Unlike the last 2 King Diamond releases, “Them” is raw, a bit out of structure (in a good way) and contains layers and layers of various vocal tones used all at once. Another major change is that no sign of keyboards appear on this album. Even ‘Don’t Break The Oath’ had more keys than this, but after all, this is a damn good album and all out insane, both lyric and music wise.

Out From The Asylum - A pretty cool intro, though not anywhere near as good as ‘Funeral’ from ‘Abigail’. It’s mainly spoken parts with the voices of Missy and King (yes, there is a character named King in here) all done by King himself with the exception of “mother’s” voice, performed by some woman.

Welcome Home - A major King Diamond classic! This tune opens up with a good drum beating from Mikkey Dee as he leads the song into a chaotic, metal frenzy. The song is hardly melodic, nor catchy on the first listen, but it rocks! And I mean, ROCKS! It’s pure madness with both the music and the vox, giving a metal head just what they want to hear. As the song progresses, so does the speed and insanity. A definite classic!

The Invisible Guests - The riffage performed on this track is amazing. Everything flows so well on this one, especially the way the riffs and verses are arranged. It’s far better and a bit more melodic than the previous track, and would have made a hell of a better music video too.

Tea - This is the most melodic song on the album, though most of it is just as heavy as the rest of the songs here. King really stretches that note out long and hard on during this one “Ohhhhhhhoohhhoohhhhh it is time for tea”. That’s probably the best part about the song, other than that, it’s the weakest track on here.

Mother’s Getting Weaker - Go Andy!! Wow, he pulls off one hell of a riff that begins this amazing song. The catchiest parts of the song are the riffs, because the vox doesn’t really get your attention on the first listen as good as the guitar does. It is “riff n lick” mania for this one!

Bye, Bye Missy - Another driving beat delivered by the groovy guitar rhythm and the drums, just as heard on ‘The Possession’ from ‘Abigail’, but this one is far better. Well, at least the rhythm to it is. King’s voice actually flows really well with the rhythm and beat to this one once he starts singing, making this one of the catchiest songs he has ever composed in his solo career. Even when the tempo changes through out the song, the beat keeps going as the guitar riffs get heavier and heavier, making what I like to call a “stomping beat”, heavy as fuck, though very groovy.

A Broken Spell - I think that this one is pretty similar to ‘Mother’s Getting Weaker’, with the vox being not all as catchy as the riffage on here. A very strong number, though it just passes you by on the first listen and doesn’t catch your attention as well as others.

The Accusation Chair - The vocal harmonies on here are just beautifully done, brilliant! A mid-paced track with the vox being the highlight this time as King stretches his vocal notes to outstanding levels. The way he does it here is just so unique. During the middle of the song, layered, chaotic screams are heard and without warning King shouts “STOP IT!!”…which leads onto one hell of a heavy riff that can only amaze the listener, either forcing them to do a guitar playing gesture or forcing their jaw to drop. Overall, This is one of King’s most underrated songs.

“Them” - This is only a short, well done, classical guitar piece done by Andy, with creepy whispers heard in the background. The whispers are suppose to be the voices of “them”.

Twilight Symphony - The opening riff to this song should knock you upside the head with some serious force! This is the best track on the album with an amazing chorus that will stay nailed to the back of your skull, and riffs that will end up crushing your skull. There isn’t much more to say about this one except that IT SHOULD BE PLAYED LIVE!!!!!! DAMNIT!!!

Phone Call - The remastered version of this album has 3 bonus tracks including this one, which is only a spoken number where King speaks to his grandma over the phone. Creepy keyboard noies, rain and thunder are also heard, fitting the mood right.

The Invisible Guests (rehearsal) - Umm….why was this even put on here? The vox is totally eliminated, leaving only the instruments playing, playing as if they recorded this in a huge tin can! I usually eject the CD after ‘Twilight Symphony’ or ‘Phone Call’, because it’s useless listening to this. It was a good idea to add the Smurf’s voices to it though….;)

Bye, Bye Missy (rehearsal) - They did the same thing with this one as the previous track. Except, I don’t think the Smurfs used this one for karaoke….at least not that I know of.

“Them” was indeed a very successful album and a damn good one too. It doesn’t live up to ‘Abigail’ or the sequel which would come a year later, but it’s by far one of King’s best albums, counting Mercyful Fate as well

Third best King Diamond - 92%

axman, August 4th, 2002

So after the godly Abigail, King returned with his follow-up album Them. While it is a slight step under Abigail it is still very very good. Now guitarist Michael Denner has gone and in his place is Peter Blakk. Blakk is, in my opinion, better then Denner and is King's best guitarist under Andy LaRocque. Again Them is a concept album, this time it's about an evil grandma who uses blood and tea to summon the dead and...(I'm not gonna say any more). Also different is bassist Timi Hansen is gone and in his place is Hal Patino. He does a more then adequate job in filling Hansen's shoes. King's vocals sound as good as ever and Them is probably drummer Mikkey Dee's best performance. The main problem with this album is that at times the production is a little thin, but that's a minor bitch. As always the album starts out with a creepy intro, Out From the Asylum. Then opens with the great song Welcome Home. Similar songs The Invisible Guests, Tea, and A Broken Spell are some of the best on the album. Other highlights include The Accusation Chair and Twilight Symphony. It also ends with the equally creepy song Coming Home. Also now that RoadrunneR reissued Them it has three bonus tracks. The first one, Phone Call, was meant to be the outro but was, for some reason, dropped. Also featured are rehearsals of The Invisible Guests and Bye, Bye Missy. King Diamond fans should definatly have this and fans of incredible guitar dous should check this out.