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Deadly Lullabyes Live is a far different beast than the first King Diamond live album In Concert '87: Abigail, because let's face it: by the 21st century, the man's career was no longer one of rampant escalation, but an institution in the metal world. Naturally, there was far more content for him to draw upon when putting this together, and a lot more experience under his belt. Andy LaRocque himself did a lot of the studio mastering and mixing for this double album, which was recorded on The Puppet Master tour in late 2003 here in the US. The lineup on these gigs also featured long term collaborators Hal Patino on bass and Mike Wead on second guitar, with the seasoned American Matt Thompson holding down the drums.
The production here is a lot stronger than the previous live album, with a lot more pump to the rhythm guitars that helps balance off against LaRocque's noodling, which I needn't tell you is fantastic. The drums have a great mix, and Patino also sounds fantastic. I'm sure these selected pieces aren't the best King himself has delivered vocally through his career, and yet despite any flecks of age on the old bastard he does a damned good job in both ranges, consistent delivery that feels only a little tired or sluggish once in a great while. In general, though, you can tell that a great deal of care was placed in arranging the material so it would burst out of your stereo speakers, there is just no half assing of anything and thus it swiftly becomes the ultimate King Diamond live audio available.
So, really, the crux of Deadly Lullabyes quality rests on the track selection, which is drawn from all over his career sans the inclusion of reliable Mercyful Fate material. From the classic (1986-1990) era of the band we're treated to "No Presents for Christmas"; "Halloween" (Fatal Portrait)"; a huge chunk of Abigail that includes "Funeral", "A Mansion in Darkness", "The Family Ghost", and "Black Horsemen" (in which the clean guitars sound quite good before the metallic surge begins"); "Welcome Home" and "The Invisible Guests" from Them; and "Sleepless Night" from Conspiracy. I was particularly excited to hear material from The Eye, my personal favorite King Diamond record, and was very satisfied that at least "Eye of the Witch" and "Burn" showed up here. The Spider's Lullabye, Voodoo, The Graveyard and House of God are entirely omitted from the selections, which is fine in the case of the latter, weak albums but I wouldn't have minded one from each of those first two.
Instead, much of the more 'current' material as of the live recording was drawn from Abigail II ("Spare This Life", "Mansion in Sorrow", "Spirits" and the "Sorry Dear" outro) and the album they were touring for ("Blood to Walk", "So Sad" and the titular "Puppet Master"). All of it sounds pretty flush with the classics, though I don't particularly enjoy The Puppet Masters as much as anything else here. There do seem to be a good number of the intro/outro tracks clotting up the set list. This is fine for an actual full set, but I think that all things considered, I'd rather have full songs if the track list is going to be drawn from numerous dates. Intro and vignettes are important to psych up a crowd, but not so much on a collection like this. In all, this wasn't supposed to be a 'career retrospective' but might have used a better balance from those forgotten earlier 90s records, otherwise it's a strong 100 minutes.
Deadly Lullabyes Live might not be a Live After Death or Live Without Sense to me, personally, and it doesn't function as a record I feel compelled to sit through as a substitute for any of his massively awesome early studio albums. Yet it's still a reasonably loaded value for the diehards with a more corpulent sound to it than its predecessor that was released in 1990. While you still have the chance, though, and while King is still touring, you really ought to get out and see him, because on CD the experience is just not the same.
Finally a live album from the legendary King Diamond has arrived. Over the years he’s slowly lost his once piercing streak to more of a bellow sound. On some of the older songs you can tell he struggles a bit, but it’s not surprising, so it’s not that disappointing. The set list could be better. “Abigail” tracks are evident of course, considering it’s a fan favorite. Nothing from the “Spiders Lullaby,” which is disappointing. Nevertheless, the songs here are performed great. Andy LaRoque and Mike Weed play their parts crisp and clean. No problems there. Hal Patino is an underrated bass player in my opinion, and he’s solid on this performance. Matt Thompson does his drumming job well here. The female vocalist on “The Puppet Master” Livia Zita also makes an appearance. The line-up is arguably one of Diamonds best and they live up to their name here.
As I mentioned earlier, the set list itself could’ve been better, but it’s still good. King can’t hit the high notes like he used to but he can still sing well. Mr. Diamond performs songs like “The Family Ghost” and “Halloween” well even though it’s evident he can’t do it like he used to. The four songs performed off “The Puppet Master” are done better than the studio versions. Livia Zita and King do well on their parts while Andy and Mike slay on the guitar. Andy LaRoque is one of the most underrated guitar players not only in metal but rock history. It’s evident in the track titled “Introductions.” King introduces all the members one by one and purposely forgets to mention Andy’s name. The crown immediately begins to cheer “Andy, Andy, Andy!” Oddly it’s one of my favorite moments on the album.
This is a very well performed live album by King and company. Many wish it could’ve been sooner, but it was worth the wait. The only real complaint is that the setlist could've been better. Don't worry Mr. Diamond, I'll forgive you.
I've personally waited years for a King Diamond double record. When rumor came of a three disc set following the "House of God" tour I nearly died with excitement. Unfortunatly, due to issues revolving around poor finances and a rather disorganized (and sometimes crappy) live band the album never came to see the light of day. After the failed attempt at booking a tour for "Abigial II" my hopes were completely dashed. "The Puppet" master showed a whole new focus and suprisingly the tour resulted in this...the long awaited live disc. (Sadly, it's only a two-disc set - but who can complain?)
My jaw dropped when I listened to this slab of metallic goodness as the band sounds hungrier here on many of the songs than on the original recordings. Kings vocals are spot on but obviously not edited. (Note: Any tricky "vocal doubling that sounds "faked" is actually his wife assisting him on the choral arrangments onstage with him.) The band are technically sound as ever and the overall performance is fanatically tight, the production is meaty and saves the band from the crappy "Kol Marshall" mix and the crowd is so hot (but not faked) that you can feel the sweat in the room.
Picking standout tracks on a release like this is rather difficult. Hammering versions of old songs like "Mansion in Darkness", "Sleepless Nights" and "Halloween" find competition from shockingly improved newcomers like "Mansion in Sorrow", "The Puppet Master" and "Blood to Walk". The band doesn't let up and even the ballad "So Sad" manages to find an infectious feel among the pack. This may be the biggest metal slug-fest of a live album since Halford graced us with his powerful double-set "Live Inssurection".
If you are a King Diamond fan you NEED to own. If you are just a metal fan...you NEED to own this. Very rarely do live albums deliver in this fashion and thankfully the King is still able to push his voice, and the incredible musicians he works with to be better and better. Needless to say...this record leaves me in awe of one of the most unique acts (if not the most) metal has ever seen.
(Note: King Diamond is fanatical about NOT doctoring live recordings which means this is pretty much how he sounded. If you listen closely you can here small errors but overall the band sounds EXACTLY like they did when I saw them on the Puppet Master tour...and that's saying something.)
BUY OR FUCKING DIE.
Over the past two decades the emperor of all that is eerie has unleashed quite the bizarre, yet widely acclaimed body of work; both with Mercyful Fate and the band that shares his alias, King Diamond. Not since 1990's In Concert '87, however, have we seen the release of such oddities of the staged environment on disc. Recording every show from the U.S. leg of last years The Puppet Master tour, King Diamond's sophomore live outing offers up a collection of his greatest and strangest tricks and treats, both new and old. The two disc retrospect delivers nineteen fan favorites from the bulk of the King's back catalogue.
Never really favoring the falsetto side of singing, I usually skipped over listening to anything that involved King Diamond, and therefore was extremely weary about signing up to critique Deadly Lullabyes Live. Maybe my tastes have evolved in my old age, because within minutes of popping in disc number one I began to regret never giving the band a fair and honest chance when, in fact, I have had ample opportunity to explore them in depth over the years. Friends have made attempts to share a few albums like House Of God, The Spider's Lullabye, and Abigail, but I could never get past the vocals. I would give them a short listen and almost immediately dismiss their efforts. I attribute this new found love to the experience I have gained over the years and though I still don't prefer that particular vocal approach all the time, I am able to differentiate voice from music, and that is the part that I most appreciate. These are some very impressively written songs. I can guarantee, after this review, I will be reverting my attention toward His Majesty's entire discography to rediscover what I have been missing all these years, Mercyful Fate included.
The first disc compiles compositions off of 1987's Abigail, 1989's Conspiracy, and the 2002 sequel, Abigail II: The Revenge. Key tracks include "A Mansion In Darkness", "Eye Of The Witch", and "Sleepless Nights". Disc number two is built from songs from 1988's Them, 1990's The Eye, and nauturally 2003's The Puppet Master. Every moment of this portion of the show is memorable, but the classic encore, that includes "Halloween" from 1986's Fatal Portrait and "No Presents For Christmas" from the 1985 debut EP of the same name, really sends the crowd into a frenzied sing along. The production is flawless and crisp. It's apparent that a lot of time and energy went into the mix to assure that all instruments are clear and in your face, really giving off the vibe that you are actually at a King Diamond concert.
Despite being nearly flawless, I do have a couple small complaints regarding Deadly Lullabyes Live; 1) Clocking in at almost exactly ninety minutes, the set only hosts fifteen actual songs. The other five tracks are intros/outros. To totally live up to the potential of a double live album, they could have fit in at least a few more tracks. The empty space should have been filled with guitar/drum solos, more cuts from The Puppet Master , and even some Mercyful Fate classics like "Curse Of The Pharaohs", "Into The Coven", and "The Bell Witch". 2) The utter lack of material from the House Of God and The Spider's Lullabye albums gives me the impression that King Diamond is not so proud of those works. I would have been pleased if we were to hear "The Trees Have Eyes" and "The Poltergeist".
Regardless of my rants, Deadly Lullabyes Live serves as both a great live album and a collection of greatest hits, benefitting both new and old fans alike. Whether this be an introduction to the legendary act or a trip down memory lane, Deadly Lullabyes Live is for everyone.
This is one badass piece of work right here; King Diamond and crew at their peak performance. King Diamond definitely delivers the goods from the albums to a live setting extremely well. His piercing and evil falsetto is virtually flawless on this album; Andy and Mike sure as hell slay here as well. They are extremely tight all around.
For some reason, with some live albums, you can hardly hear the crowds. But on this album they're definitely audible; not too loud, but loud enough to give you the live feeling, like any live album should. The production is quite excellent as well; I'm no expert on album production, but it sure sounds mighty nice to me. The moods of the songs live are just like on the albums, so a good job to King and Andy for the production.
This double disc album covers a good deal from most of their works: No Presents for Christmas EP, Abigail, Them, Conspiracy, The Eye, Abigail II, and The Puppet Master. However, for a double disc, it kind of seems a tad short. I'm not sure, but it only seems about 90 minutes in length, which is sort of disappointing; but quality over quantity, right? I wish they would have included some songs off their other albums, especially Voodoo and House of God; but all in all, it's a very good selection of songs. I don't think I need to do a song by song description, because if you've heard the songs before, you know what to expect and shouldn't be disappointed.
The only things I don't like about the album are how "A Mansion in Darkness" follows "Funeral", instead of "Arrival", and "Mansion in Sorrow" follows "Spare This Life" instead of "The Storm". I might be nitpicking, but when I've listened to those albums for such a long time, and the intros are like a part of the following songs. Hearing different songs follow them makes the transition sound awkward, because I'm expecting something else. But whatever, no big deal.
Excellent live album; King Diamond fans should enjoy this very much, as have I.
King Motherfucking Diamond!!!!!!!! \m/ \m/