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Infanticide is hardly a novel theme for a King Diamond record. Little ones have been maimed, molested and murdered by all manner of antagonists in his tales, so it feels like a 'return to the well' when once is considering the lyrical matters of the 12th full-length album Give Me Your Soul...Please. It is important to note, though, that Diamond is not taking 'the side' of these butchers and pedophiles, but is in fact a staunch and outspoken enemy to such violations. He tells these tales not from some morbid fascination, but with a clear intention to revolt the audience into taking a stronger stance themselves against such crimes against the innocent. A noble endeavor, to be sure, but some people might take it the wrong way. Don't.
I admit, I did not get off on the right foot with this record. It looks pretty stupid, and the title is awful, but within just a few songs I found that the musical content, itself nothing novel or spectacular, was coherent enough that it felt a natural successor to The Puppet Master. Same lineup, same polished, voluminous production standards, and no skimping on the effort, but no matter how hard I try, I can never shake the feeling that Give Me Your Soul...Please feels like some sidereal movement. An also-ran, so deep in the band's career that it serves no other purpose than to stay steady and keep the dream alive. Which is in itself a justification for existence, but hardly the sort to garner much praise. One example of how this stench permeates the album is just how easy it seems to pin where a lot of the riffs come from: "Never Ending Hill" clearly has a spin on Priest's "Painkiller" very early on. The intro to "Is Anybody Here?" seems like a mere paraphrasing of "Eastmann's Cure" from The Spider's Lullabye (though I dug the ensuing groove). The folksy melody inaugurating "Mirror, Mirror" also seems painfully familiar, as do many other individual guitar progressions.
That's not to say they're blatant ripoffs, but the album simply doesn't feel creative. It's more or less a direct doppelganger of the two prior works. The musicians have pulled no punches and spared no efforts, in particular the well structured lead sequences or the perkier percussion of the more thrash/power-metal oriented guitar progressions, but nowhere did I find that 'distinctive' stamp of brilliance that proudly glared at me from the spectral King Diamond works of years far gone. This is more a band, keeping on keeping on, proving it can run and gun well into its twilight years, and while I can't really fault Give Me Your Soul... solely on its lack of a unique identity among the group's many full-lengths, the music is decidedly unmemorable when compared even to something like The Puppet Master or Voodoo. From a technical perspective, there are no real complaints: no frost has formed on the limbs of LaRocque, Patino, or Wead. That I can assure you. But it sucks that, with all of their collective strengths, and Petersen's dreamlike, eerie falsetto, they couldn't come up with better.
A few cuts do tease some degree of quality, like "The Floating Head" once you get past some of the vapid if driving chug rhythms. Or "The Cellar", which does manifest some degree of haunting beauty as it surges from mid-paced, narrative riffs to thundering speed/power metal. But even these lack the unforgettable sort of vocal melody that you want to endlessly cycle from your own lungs if you've got the pitch. Perhaps this is indicative of 'too much of a good thing'. Perhaps the novelty of King Diamond has simply worn me out after so many timeless experiences with this group and his alma mater Mercyful Fate, but there's got to be some reason I can remember, as clear as day, almost every song the guy released from 1984-1992, but everything here evades me within hours of hearing it. Not that it's necessarily bad music, but it had some towering stairs to climb if it wanted to reach the next level, and instead it gave up and chose a smoke break...
And, speaking of smoke breaks, I really hope this isn't the last we'll hear of the band. I realize a year or so ago he had some heart complications, and has since been lying low aside from the occasional guest gig like he did with Metallica on a few dates. I'm crossing my fingers that he'll kick the habit, take a long and deserved break and then return to us with something stripped down to what made his music so valuable in the first place. He's well fucking earned it. Never mind the modernity and mediocrity manifest by an album like Give Me Your Soul...Please, let's recapture some of that evocative necromancy of Don't Break the Oath, or Fatal Portrait, or the first Abigail. Songs before style. Spine chilling melodies. Cross your fingers, folks.
Of course, every review you read on this site is simply one person's opinion. Some people seem to have very similar opinions, but still, each review is its own entity. My own take on this album is that, even though it may not be King Diamond's absolute best album, it's still pretty damn good. I happen to think, when someone is as much of an icon as King is, expectations run high. As a result, if the album is not something new and shocking, reactions can be somewhat lukewarm. Still, if you listen to the album, it's as high quality as most of KD's work. We have all the usual elements: King's amazing vocals, the tightness of the band, the truly creepy story line. In fact, that's one thing that I think is simply amazing: the story. Where does the man come up with this stuff? Actually, it was when I stumbled across the synopsis of this album on Wikipedia that I decided I needed to check out this King Diamond guy. It's not every day that one encounters such uniquely creative material in heavy metal music. I read the synopsis, and I thought (and still think), this guy is a master of conceptual metal. He is the Edgar Allen Poe of heavy metal.
I'll tell you another thing that always amazes me about King Diamond's music, and this album is no exception. I know a lot of metal fans would find "beautiful" a strange term to use for this kind of music. After all, so many metalheads seem to favor words like "brutal," "sinister," or "raw." "Beautiful" seems like such an emotional, girly kind of word; but I have to admit, there is a certain dark beauty to most of King Diamond's music. For example, I'm listening to the title track of this album right now: "Give Me Your Soul." And I have to say, there's a haunting beauty to the constantly repeated, almost childlike quality refrain "Give me your soul." Sure, it's creepy as hell, but it's also...pretty. (King would probably kick my ass if he read that, but maybe not.)
Musically, I think this album continues the kind of richly textured music we've come to expect from the various incarnations of the band. Someone else reviewing this album said this was Andy LaRoque's finest hour, and I have to agree. His musical ability continues to amaze and astound, and the creativity of the melodic material I find quite refreshing. Heavy metal can tend to descend into a muddy, sludgy kind of wall of sound that completely eschews such qualities as melody or harmony. So it's pretty cool to hear a band play that is so melodically inventive. I always wonder how much of the music is written by King, and how much is written by LaRoque. Whatever the case, the two of them have proven to be an endlessly inventive duo for the past couple decades. When you think about it, that's a WAY better record than Lennon and McCartney ever achieved.
I once commented on a YouTube video of King Diamond (I don't remember which song) that King Diamond was a little cheesy, especially when it came to lyrics. Some fan replied with horror that King was awesome, and how could I call him cheesy? I still think there's a slightly cheesy quality to King's lyrics, but I don't mean that as a negative criticism. I think there's something cheesy about most of the great horror films (Psycho or Children of the Corn, for example), but that doesn't mean I don't love watching 'em; King Diamond's lyrics are the same way for me. I think they're a little corny in places, but they're exceptionally entertaining, and you have to admit, they grab your attention. "Give Me Your Soul..." is no exception. But I don't find that to be a weakness at all. Hell, Poe's "The Raven" is cheesy in it's own way ("Nevermore!"), but that doesn't detract at all from its spooky atmosphere at all. Ergo, a line like "the Floating Head has disappeared, I got to get some water in my face/ I turn towards the mirror on the wall/ The little sink is filling up, the water’s cold" might not be the height of poetic sophistication, but it is evocative, certainly. Come to think of it, lots of King's lyrics tend towards the "I turn and see the skull coming at me, and my blood turns cold" variety. He sets a scene and tries to get the listener to put himself into the story. But that's what's so amazing about listening to a KD album! You can picture the whole horrifying tale, as if it's happening on a screen right in front of you. Like I said, it may be cheesy, but it's effective as hell.
Lots of folks have commented how King is aging, etc. Shit, the guy is...what, 53 years old, and he sounds almost the same as he did a few decades ago. I hope I age so well! My advice to any listener is this: if you like King Diamond, just sit back and enjoy the horror show. If you don't, go find something else. But I'll take King over just about ALL of the other shit that's out there.
The King of horror metal put out a new studio album four years after his earlier masterpiece The Puppet Master. I expected that the album would be great, but I didn't expect it to be better than the glorious The Puppet Master. Give Me Your Soul... Please blowed out my mind even after the few first listens. After that I have listened the record over 50 times and it still sounds fresh and rocks harder than other KD studio albums since Abigail and "Them". The best thing on GMYSP is the strenght of each song. There are no fillers or mediocre tracks, not even single short poor parts are very hard to find.
The intro The Dead is one of my personal favourite intros from King Diamond's discography. In fact the classic Funeral is the only better one. The atmosphere of The Dead with the organ sound is perfect for opening dark heavy metal album. Never Ending Hill with it's Painkiller-kind riff is the fast headbanging song of the album. However, I think the best songs on the album are heavy rocking The Floating Head and tremendous title track Give Me Your Soul. Also Black of Night and The Girl In The Bloody Dress stand out every time. The final track Moving On is a better slow composition than So Sad. I do love So Sad, but the same kind of atmospheric like Moving On is simply a perfect track for closing an album.
Andy La Rocque's guitar work is on high standards. The riffs and the solos are overall more interesting than everything after the classic King Diamond's works Abigail and "Them". There are even some cool references to earlier King Diamond works, which are there for fans to find like King said himself. Mike Wead also delivers the goods better than ever. Livia Zita's beautiful female vocals are far better than on TPM album. The combination of King Diamond's dark vocals and Livia's innocent singing are one of the most fascinating new elements on modern King Diamond albums. Don't get scared, because King Diamond sounds still very like old school. How about Hal Patino? The bass player looks like Alice Cooper, but his playing is easier to hear than before and he plays well.
There are few little things that would be done a bit better on almost perfect Give Me Your Soul... Please album. Matt Thompson's drum work is good, but he's not Mikkey Dee. I know that Thompson has ability to play even more versatile that on this album. If Mikkey Dee has played the album with his style it might be as good as Abigail. Now Abigail will remain the strongest King Diamond work ever. Hopefully Matt will diversify his drumming on the next KD release. The second tiny problem is the sound. Like King Diamond said on interviews: it's easy to hear every single instrument on album. I agree, but in my opinion the sound is almost too good, if you know what I mean. The sound would be more metal if it's a bit "raw". For example the sound of Voodoo album is great to my ears.
King Diamond's singing is on high class as usual. I do love every variations of that man's voice. The vocal melodies of the album are the best ones in whole King Diamond career. Falsettos are not as clearly heard as before, which doesn't much bother on that album. Maybe there could be that classical Abigail-like falsetto-singing, but I'm also satisfied without it. High vocals are mixed differently on the background, which really works. Still I hope that there would be more old school falsetto singing as well on the next studio album. The singing of the album would be perfect if there could be both the background falsettos and his trademark ones. King Diamond's other voices are also unique, not just the falsetto vocals. There are no metal singers on earth that sound just like King Diamond. That's what I love about King Diamond's singing. The dark whispering part on the end of Shapes of Black is absolutely amazing: "no more light". Shapes of Black is a song which sounds like good old Alice Cooper stuff and it's different than any other track on the album. One of the best things on this album is certainly that there are many kind of moods on songs. The songs don't sound the same. Fast, slow and atmospheric stuff - everything works fine on there!
For me Give Me Your Soul... Please is the best metal album released on this decade so far. King Diamond has always done very good albums, but this new one even surprised me with it's strong material. It's so great that King Diamond can deliver true masterpieces, although he is now 51 years old. Many metal vocalists/bands can't make their strongest records in that age, but King Diamond is a good exception. Let him live old and deliver his original heavy metal art many years. I will tell nothing about the story. Buy the album and look the storyline from the booklet when listening the album.
I think King Diamond needs to retire sometime soon. As is the case with most artists as they get older, King's sound has become slightly slower and more tame with age - you won't find any of the ripping speed or throat-tearing leadwork displayed on Abigail on this record. That doesn't necessarily have to be a bad thing, as stalwarts Iron Maiden have recently shown us, and King definitely has tons of great options for more quality material. But he sure as fuck isn't using any of them here, still stuck in the same old pulpy ghost story horror concept album theme he's done for ages. Why doesn't he breach out a bit more and try some more varied horror concepts? It'd sure bring at least a bit of flavor to this stale formula, which smells exceptionally putrid on this particular album. Give Me Your Soul...Please?, while already boasting a horrendously bad title, also has - from what I can discern - a dull, trite storyline that even Goosebumps kiddies would chuckle at. The cover art is also notoriously bad, lacking any of the dark, majestic grandeur of the last two albums. Seriously, King, is this a joke? Try harder with the packaging next time.
Musical pros and cons:
PROS: This isn't a sellout album. King hasn't gone metalcore or changed his style in the least.
CONS: This is boring. King hasn't changed his style in the least.
Give Me Your Soul is a well-played, listenable album of melodic heavy metal of a generally high caliber (musicianship-wise), but that's really all I can say about it. It's pretty much a carbon copy of the last album, except this lacks any sort of dark vigor that The Puppet Master had. This all feels contrived and forced, as if King just pumped this out to satisfy the record executives and naught more. The riffs are pretty cool, and the solos are present, but none of it sticks. I can't remember a note of this after it's done playing, and there's nothing here to incite me to ever listen to it over Abigail or The Puppet Master. King's vocals are, right along with the music, disappointing and lackluster, missing nearly all of the raw fucking power he had in his early days and relying mostly on a piss-weak pseudo-snarl type thing. Yes, he is getting old, so it's excusable, but I have to mention it anyway.
I seem to be saying a lot these days that certain albums "lack energy and power," and especially about stuff released this year. Sadly, it seems to be a running trend, and I suppose we can't help it that our favorite musicians are growing old and running out of ideas, and King Diamond is no different. If you're a rabid, drooling, foaming-at-the-mouth King Diamond fanboy, then get this album, and if not, pick up Abigail instead.
Originally written for http://www.metalcrypt.com
This is King's, what...12th LP? As with many groups that have been around this long, the musical quality suffers when compared with the band's older material. It didn't take me long to realize what this album is severely lacking - BALLS. Balls are important, especially in metal.
Let's start with Mr. Diamond himself, since he's always been the main focus. The guy is getting old, dude. About a year back, my friend saw the band live and noticed King was having some trouble doing the falsetto screams for which he's so well known. It's a shame that those are nonexistent on this album. His normal singing voice isn't bad, but then again it isn't great. The falsettos we do hear are soft and don't really belong without the screams to counter them. Maybe King should take his age catching up to him as a sign to...I dunno, stop?
The guitarwork is decent, but it's nothing new or innovative. Since Diamond isn't as dynamic with his voice, I'd consider LaRocque's contribution the most important. The solos get the job done, but it takes more than solos to make a great album. The rhythm guitars are there, but it's nothing really too memorable. The bass....if you even bother listening for the bass, you're gonna be disappointed. The parts that I could actually distinguish weren't anything great.
I probably shouldn't say this as a metalhead, but the drummer could've easily been replaced by a machine. He just doesn't contribute anything important aside from the same boring rhythm throughout the entire album.
Diamond is usually good about his storytelling, but I just wasn't captivated enough to really pay attention to the lyrics. Hell, it was enough of a task to listen to the whole album so I could write this review. I was tempted to go and listen to Abigail or The Eye the whole time. "Mirror, Mirror" stuck with me, but I couldn't tell you why. "The Girl in the Bloody Dress" isn't bad either. If you're a die-hard KD fan, go ahead and grab this one but don't expect to be amazed. It's listenable, but it doesn't hold a candle to some of his older stuff. For the most part, I'd avoid this one. I love the guy, but he's getting too old and I don't feel the same effort from the other musicians as I used to.
Once again, King Diamond delivers a masterful record. I really don't understand why some think is some sort of big departure with regards to King's style. It has all the ingredients: unmistakeable vocals, amazing and inventive guitar solos, a macabre storyline. It's not on par with Abigail or Them, but that's a ridiculously high standard.
Some seem to think King has used less falsetto, but I don't agree. It's not that he uses it less, just that it's less intense and more natural sounding. King himself explained it to his website's discussion forum, stating the reasons for it sounding the way it does. Falsetto or no, the vocal performance is amazing, but this is a King Diamond album so you probably figured that already. King has such great control of his voice, from sounding somewhat sinister at times, and at times a more exasperated, desperate sounding voice, such as on the chorus of "Give Me Your Soul" when he sings "It must a be a dream". King is one of the absolute best at coming up with killer vocal melodies.
The guitars are also up to the typical high standard. Mike Wead and King's long time partner Andy LaRocque don't disappoint. Not only do they pull off some very complex and emotive solos, they are also very creative. Just as King's voice is unmistakeable, so is Andy LaRocque's guitar. It's hard to describe, but you know it when you hear it. The drums and bass, by Matt Thompson and Hal Patino respectively are also great. King simply has excellent taste in musicians.
The storyline is not my favorite from King, but it's by no means bad. He was inspired to write it by the occurences of murder-suicides where parents killed their children and then themselves. Of course, supernatural elements are added to that basic formula.
The production is very clear. In fact, I'd say it's the clearest of any King Diamond album. You can hear every instrument well.
I think this is yet another great album from King Diamond. It didn't disappoint in the least. Definitely recommended for fans of great metal.
'Give Me Your Soul... Please' is an odd paradox. An album that seems like it is striving to be more than it ultimately ends up being, and then at times manages to surpass itself, surprising the listener. Just as you begin to sit back and call the album a loss, a track like 'Mirror Mirror', 'The Floating Head' or 'Black of Night' will suddenly hit its crescendo and redeem the last mundane track or two. Take note, however, that I would call this album's weaker tracks simply 'mundane', and not necessarily bad. You will still find yourself banging your head to a few riffs in the filler songs. And why not? With 'weak' tracks like 'Cold as Ice' and 'Shapes of Black', some other bands could build an entire career.
Stylistically, and also in terms of production, I'd definitely say that I didn't notice any departure from 'The Puppet Master' at all, which is odd, because it seems to be one of the first things that previous reviewers have been noting. I listened to both albums back-to-back in preparation for this review, and honestly the two albums sound identical, with the exception being that 'Give Me Your Soul... Please' is a much better written album. Whereas 'The Puppet Master' tends to meander musically, this new album is much more focused, with solid, fast-paced Metal tracks dispersed throughout to break up the few weak tracks that this album has to offer.
Some of the songs on this album seem to have a decent amount of build-up before they really tear your face off, but rest assured that it does happen. A perfect example is 'The Cellar', which for the first minute and a half is irredeemable boredom, then it abruptly hits a twin-guitar climax punctuated by a King Diamond scream straight off the 'Abigail' album and followed up with more brilliant shredding. The songwriting isn't very direct, but it's just as heavy as anything off of any late-80's King Diamond album. Brilliance with a few obnoxious hiccups, but a formidable Heavy Metal record nonetheless.
Standouts: Never Ending Hill, Is Anybody Here?, The Floating Head, The Cellar, Give Me Your Soul, Black of Night
Turds: Shapes of Black, Moving On
On this site, as well as on numerous Metal forums, there’s been a lot of shit about King Diamond’s newest effort ‘Give Me Your Soul...Please’. Allegedly, it’s King’s even worse than his stuff from the nineties (I always have thought that compilation album ‘Nightmares In The Nineties’ is painfully fitting, it’s probably not meant as funny as it is) and a lot of people claim the album is uninspired. As for me, I don’t see why any King Diamond-fan wouldn’t like this album. The traditional Heavy Metal is still decorated with a shitload of amazing riffs and solos by both Andy LaRocque and Mike Wead, the production is very decent, the vocals by King himself are still as terrible as always and the whole thing is once again based on some weird, moronic horror story. Sounds like a typical King Diamond album to me.
When reading the booklet of this album, there’s one thing I noticed immediately and that is the unusually large number of songs Andy LaRocque wrote this time. Six out of thirteen songs have been written by the Swede, where three is usually the maximum. That is no reason to complain anyway, as the best songs on this album are all written by LaRocque. The only exception being ‘Mirror Mirror’ (great pre-chorus!), which was penned by King himself.
Take the intro riff of opening track ‘Never Ending Hill’ for instance (well, there’s a dumb, moody intro first, as I’ve said: it’s a typical King Diamond-album), it’s an irresistable eighties Metal riff, almost a little thrashy, maybe it would have been thrashy if the production wasn’t that clean (no complaints though!). Andy LaRocque wrote that. But the rest of the track is killer as well and that is exactly what makes LaRocque’s songs better than King’s on this one. Where the majority King’s songs has one awesome riff – usually the opening riff – and the rest of the song is a bit of a letdown (listen to ‘Is Anybody There?’ to hear what I mean) after that, LaRocque’s songwriting shines throughout the entire song.
More examples of LaRocque’s excellence can be found in ‘The Cellar’, which sets a mood perfectly without letting the actual music suffer from that. There’s amazing riffs and rhythms all over the song and as a lover of double lead guitars, there’s a lot for me to enjoy here. The teasing “mine...give me your soul please” in the middle isn’t as disturbing as I thought it would be. In fact, it’s very enjoyable because of the pulsating rhythms.
The intro to ‘Give Me Your Soul’ (the song) might be LaRocque’s finest moment on the album. It’s moody, but in this simple-yet-effective Metal way that Andy made his own over the years. Mike Wead’s solos in the song is amazing too, they’ve got a bit of a bluesy feel, but are still undeniably Metal. Finally, ‘Give Me Your Soul’ is the first King Diamond-song since ‘Just A Shadow’ from my favorite King Diamond-album ‘House Of God’ of which you may actually find me singing along the chorus.
King himself seems to have finally discovered that his high-pitched shrieks are an awful assault to one’s hearing. Okay, so it’s took him twenty-five years to figure that out and they can still be heard quite often throughout the album, but the improvement in his lower range – which was incredibly weak – that he started on ‘The Puppet Master’ seems to continue on ‘Give me Your Soul...Please’. I can actually stand them on his last few albums. Part of it may be getting used to it, but he’s definitely showing improvement.
But the best singer on this album is still Livia Zita, who sang the female parts on ‘The Puppet Master’ and – judging from the shared thanklist – is apparently King’s partner now. I would have liked to hear more of her vocals on this album.
Near the end of the album, there are, as usual, some songs that get completely lost in King’s attempts to make the whole thing sound moody. I have absolutely nothing against keyboards, as long as they’re used in a good way, but like on any King Diamond album (excluding ‘House Of God’ and maybe ‘The Puppet Master’), what happens here, is that they completely drown out the possibility of making the song sound like an actual song. When I’m not reviewing the album, I either switch it off after ‘Cold As Ice’ or skip to ‘The Girl In The Bloody Dress’ (nice bass intro!) and then switch it off..
All together, I can’t think of one reason why people who actually like what King Diamond usually does wouldn’t like ‘Give Me Your Soul...Please’. While nowhere near the masterpieces ‘House Of God’ and ‘The Puppet Master’ were, it’s much better than the overrated disaster known as ‘Abigail II: The Revenge’. And it’s most certainly much and much better than anything King released in the nineties, that inclued ‘Conspiracy’ for me, but I guess there’s not that much people that are going to agree with me there. ‘Give Me Your Soul...Please’ is a decent Heavy Metal album on which especially Andy LaRocque proves he still has plenty of inspiration left for a couple of more years in the scene.
Firstly, I like King Diamond a lot. However this is mainly because I enjoy concept albums, especially those of the horror variety. Inevitably, a band with the modus operandi of KD is going to infatuate me. But the sad part is, as much as I appreciate the story, the musicianship of this album is rather liking. Let's look at "Them", one of the King's earlier releases for an example: the first time I popped the CD in, I immediately realized that each and every song had it's own personality. King's voice goes high and low, from clear and audible ,grotesque and creepy, all making out a character's personality. The music actually managed to bring the story to life, and make it interesting and even gripping to the listener.
By the time we hit "Give Me Your Soul...Please", all of that is lost. The album kicks off with a cheesy, rather uninteresting intro that gives you vague information on why the ghost will be plaguing the poor narrator through the next twelve tracks. King mumbles his way through half the songs, really not throwing in much of his trademark squeals anymore.. Ah well, we all get old sometime. The songs are for the most part equally lacking in defining features, only really managing to insert any hooks into the mix during "Give Me Your Soul", which is a wonderful song that reminded me of King Diamond's earlier days.
Unfortunately, most of the other tracks don't manage to reach this standard. I found myself losing interest halfway through some of them, such as "Moving On" and "Cold as Ice". Gone are the unique tracks that stray from the usual metal mix up like "Cremation" and "Them", save for a lone track "Pictures in Red" that I didn't much enjoy to tell the truth. If this came from most any other Heavy Metal group, this would be acceptable, but King Diamond is supposed to be a little more "out there" than that, making it a more a disappointment than anything.
The only saving grace is the story, which though not his best, is pretty damn good. Unfortunately, this does not change the fact that the music itself is overall.. Well.. boring. King Diamond fans ought to give it a listen, but anyone else will probably find themselves listening to it once and then shelving it.
In grand King Diamond fashion, Give Me Your Soul...Please is a big metal horror story all told within the confines of 54 minutes. Not near as epic as some of King Diamond's previous work this album still does the man justice and even if it isn't his best work this is still an amazing album.
Of course what is King Diamond without a concept story to be told? This time around the story is a current horror story about an insane father who kills his kids and his daughter haunts the house looking for another soul. Basic stuff here but the first of his contemporary concepts. And since it is contemporary the music feels a little less epic and more modern to go right along with the lyrics.
The guitar work is good - less technicality this time around and a solid focus on heavy riffs intermediated with melodies and leads. It definitely feels as though they have stripped all the guitar writing of a lot of the clutter on this album and kept the bare bones for most of the songs. The opening riff for "The Floating Head" is a good example of this. Of course there are some great moments with amazing melodies and solos too. The entire album is written to create an atmosphere (not so much a creepy one as King Diamond has in the past) but an atmosphere nonetheless. The guitars give great structure and emotion to the story and really could tell the story without the lyrics.
The drumming and bass parts are both really straightforward and, once again, a little simpler than what King Diamond fans are used to. I always enjoy when the bass lines can be heard with only a little effort to focus - and the production of the drums and bass are almost perfect on this album. They are clear but not too distracting from the melodies.
One thing that King Diamond fans are going to notice is that the keyboards are not a massive presence on the album. Usually a pretty heavy carrier of melody, the keys, only appear once or twice on the album. The intro organ sound is a great start for the album and the circus-like keys on "Shapes of Black" are reminiscent of the Abigail days.
King Diamonds vocals are using less and less of his trademark falsetto as time goes on - and it seems as though on Give Me Your Soul...Please he does it even less - which is okay with me. I love that falsetto but now its primarily used as a expressive point rather than just a way to add variety to the music. His harsher vocals fit the atmosphere of the album quite well and definitely keep the album feeling more modern.
Overall, this isn't King Diamond's best effort - but it is a slight change of style - and its damn good. The story is wonderful and the performances (despite being stripped down) are excellent and fit the overall concept very well. King Diamond may have his harsher critics but this is definitely one of the best albums of 2007 thus far.
Songs to check out: Never Ending Hill, Give Me Your Soul, Shapes of Black.
Though "The Puppet Master" was not King's best release, it made me believe that the band was coming back and would surely strike with an album comparable to "Voodoo", for example. Not only did "Give Me Your Soul... Please" not match that expectation, but it is also the first big disappointment I have experienced in my love with the band.
Basically, the album is not able to offer me anything. Nothing has changed since "The Puppet Master" except for the fact that the music has lost all of its atmosphere and originality. Moreover, while King Diamond has always compensated its triviality and tasteless image with amazing heavy metal, this album has nothing of it as well. What is left are costumes, make-up and discouragement.
The album sets off with "Never Ending Hill" - the song would be quite ok if was at least somehow different from "The Storm" or "Black Hill Sanitarium" and if King Diamond had not recorded a hundred better. Sadly, even this mediocre remake turns out to be one of the best songs on the album. The other include "Black of Night" and the title track - the rest is not even worth mentioning.
I used to think that "The Graveyard" was the worst thing that could happen to King Diamond, though it still remains a decent album. As a matter of fact - a genious one, if we compare it to "Give Me Your Soul... Please". It seems that King Diamond has spent last four years going down rapidly.
One of the originators of atmospheric, occult metal, KING DIAMOND has once again returned to claim his throne as the king of dark heavy metal. With his new album “Give Me Your Soul…Please” King has brought to life an ominous thirteen chapter-tale into the unknown. This album shows King penning the type of story he does best, a ghost story. The man’s most-herald albums, by fans and critics alike, were “Abigail,” and the two-album story of “Them” and “Conspiracy.” Those albums had featured certain spooky characteristics that would make the listener’s skin crawl and blood chill. “Give Me Your Soul…Please” revisits many of those same facets.
First and foremost, all KING DIAMOND/MERCYFUL FATE albums feature King Diamond’s haunting vocals. Although his vocals over the last few albums are not as strong or creepy as his early, classic era, his repertoire of voices still makes the man sound as if he possesses multiple personalities. King still manages to reach a ghostly falsetto pitch. The falsetto used in combination with his normal, mid-range voice helps narrate the story in a theatrical way, with certain voices representing certain characters. On “Is Anybody Here” the falsetto vocals present a cry for help from the character in the story, while King’s mid-range voice narrates the story. “Moving On” shows King’s softer, more subtle vocals, singing smooth choral “oohs” and other mellifluous crooning. Unarguably King’s oddest vocal personality is a seemingly shift of gender found on tracks like “Pictures in Red.” He does, however, use genuine female vocals, courtesy of Livia Zita, on the album’s final track, “Moving On.”
King’s haunting vocals give a voice to the shadowy atmosphere he and his band orchestrates. Diamond recruited yet another great lineup of musicians from both the KING DIAMOND and MERCYFUL FATE bands to help realize this grand musical of the macabre. Reaching back to the early days of MERCYFUL FATE and KING DIAMOND, King recruited Hal Patino on the bass, who recently played on the latest SAVATAGE-led band, DOCTOR BUTCHER. Mike Wead also comes via the MERCYFUL FATE camp, although from more recent efforts. Wead fills in for Glen Drover, who appears to have left for MEGADETH. Matt Thompson rounds out the group on drums, and of course, the steadfast Andy LaRocque on the other guitar.
The guitar playing styles of Wead and LaRocque are in perfect agreement. Both bust out screaming whammy and impossible string-bending solos that relate many emotions, add a sense of drama or a touch of eeriness. The solo work is a throwback to the wicked solos on albums like “The Eye” and “Abigail,” especially due to the effects and hallow sound. The rhythm work is equally impressive, slowly following King’s lyrics like the foreboding rhythm of “Shapes of Black” or powerfully picking a classic metal and thrash riffs like the triplet riff at the beginning of “The Floating Head” and the fist-banging gallop on “Never Ending Hill.”
The third element needed for King’s mad scientist experiement he calls KING DIAMOND is the front man’s keyboard work. With his keyboards, the painted one has always constructed rich atmosphere of soundtrack quality. “Give Me Your Soul…” continues this tradition, traveling head-long into assured damnation. “Shapes of Black” features a combination of twisted harpsichord and subtle, chiming keyboard passages. “The Dead” follows the tradition of gothic organs first set down by Bach.
KING DIAMOND never ceases to amaze me. He incredulously puts out quality album after album. Some albums are remarkably better than others, and the albums he put out right before reforming MERCYFUL FATE will most likely remain he best work, although albums like “Voodoo” and “The Puppet Master” could be considered modern classics. “Give Me Your Soul…Please” should also come to be remembered as one of KING DIAMOND’s better albums in the second era of his career.