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Parting ways with long time drummer Mikkey Dee, King Diamond was looking rather grim. Thankfully the band recruited a skilled replacement, Snowy Shaw. With a new line-up constructed and Roberto Falcao back on keyboards, The King would soon record his finest and most overlooked album to date. Focusing more on keyboard atmosphere and mid-range vocals, The Eye is the definition of a masterpiece. It's all here; shred-tacular guitar playing by Pete Blakk and Andy LaRocque as well as solid bass and drums from Hal Patino and Snowy Shaw. On top of all of that, an amazing atmosphere surrounded by one of his best vocal performances from The King and some of his best lyrical content to complement.
The King is back and better than ever. His voice is clean, crisp, and more mid-range than ever. I have to say I prefer The King's mid-ranged vocals to any other vocal style he does and the new take on the vocals makes you really appreciate those high notes even more. "Burn" displays the more higher end of vocals presented on this record while tracks like "Father Picard", "Into the Covenant", and "Behind These Walls" show an almost entirely middle range vocal style. The whole 'multiple voices' part of King Diamond is still here with a lot of variety and character in his voice. "The Trial" has a great condescending narration in the intro that really shows The King's theatrical capabilities as a singer and lyricist. The lyrical side of things are really well-written, thanks to the newly introduced third person story telling. The story tells of a necklace that passes from three people; a witch, a little girl, and finally the main character, Madeleine. The first four tracks of this album are more like a prologue for the rest of the story, but supplies an interesting background of how the necklace gets to Madeleine and the powers it holds. This is definitely some of King Diamond's best vocals and lyrical work on this album and that's only a small part of what makes this album so great.
On guitars are Pete Blakk and (as usual) Andy LaRocque. Blakk complements LaRocque very well on this album in the form of interesting song structures and fantastic riffs and solos. "The Trail" shows a darker and doom-oriented side of King Diamond that is rarely seen, but it really sets the landscape of the lyrics of torture and rape of a accused witch. "Into the Covenant" is more of a traditional King Diamond song with progressive song structures and mystical solos."The Meetings" is another classic King Diamond riff that shows Blakk and LaRocque's chemistry as guitar players. Some amazing acoustic guitar playing is also shown on this album in an incredibly tasteful fashion. "The Meetings" has a great acoustic part in the chorus that brings the atmosphere and darkness right in your face. The instrumental track, "Insanity", is nothing short of beautiful, perfectly showing LaRocque's skill and songwriting ability on full display. Overall, Blakk and LaRocque show their musical capabilities in the finest and most mystical way on this album with a crunching guitar tone accompanied by a brilliant high section spread out across great song structures and melodies.
The drums provided by Snowy Shaw are surprisingly good for being done on drum pads. "Behind These Walls" has a great beat that supports the harpsichord well and keeps the song at a good pace. "The Curse" has a cool intro and some catchy double bass beats lurking in the dark behind the keyboards. "The Meetings" is another track with a great drum beat and some cool fills, making this an overall standout for Shaw. The drum tone is actually rather good for drum pads and sound somewhat authentic, but are still obviously digital. Other than that, Shaw does a great job behind "the pads" and provides some great beats and fills for the band to shred on top of.
Hal Patino returns on bass and does a solid job as expected. Patino is in a great deal of the mix (depending on pressing) and does some great supportive bass lines throughout the album. Nothing fancy or special is done on bass, but instrumental track "Insanity" has some shining moments. In the end, Patino does a great job supporting the riffs and melodies on this album with a great tone and presence.
Keyboard is surprisingly prominent on this album thanks to Roberto Falcao. Tracks like "The Trial", "1642 Imprisonment", and "The Curse" have extensive use of the keyboards in order to give the tracks a killer atmosphere and feeling unlike any other King Diamond album. "Behind These Walls", which is an almost entirely harpsichord-dominant song, is very different from anything The King has tried before. This track and the other makes this album very unique with an atmosphere that is irresistibly haunting. Thankfully, the keyboards don't take anything away from this album or clutter up the songs, but instead add to this album stupendously and actually make this album as great as it is.
"The Eye" is a must hear for any King Diamond fan and is good enough to challenge and even step above the crowning jewel that is "Abigail". Be ready for an atmosphere-heavy adventure full of heavy riffs, shredding guitar solos, and one of The King's best vocal performances.
“The Eye” – this album (recorded in 1990) stands proudly next to “Abigail” (1987) as the brightest pearl in King Diamond astounding career. I reckon this effort to the magic of the eighties, for certain songs from “The Eye” have ability to fight with many thrash bullets at those days, yet it was (and damn, still is!) strong evidence that heavy metal had something to say. The fifth album of this Dane is simply excellent because of two factors: both music and lyrics concerning dark and fearful times of inquisition.
I bought this piece of metal in the middle of the nineties with “Conspiracy” album, and as a matter of fact “The Eye” became one of the best albums in my metal collection, I think it was my first album when lyrics had one concept – inquisition. King tells two stories connected by one thing – the necklace and, as he stated in the booklet, the main part of the stories is unfortunately true. Musically, King and his musicians showed catchier album than “Conspiracy”, and by some fans it is considered as too commercial, too calculated and sales-oriented. Shortly about it: I completely disagree with such stupid opinions! All right, let’s back to the music itself - I remember that for the first time of listening to it, “Behind These Walls” was my favourite song due to very hard, strong yet melodic guitar work and keyboard as separate instrument to create the atmosphere. In addition the guitar leads were really paralyzing my senses, so for sure this song is one of the best King performance. Despite of presence of such an excellent song on “The Eye”, “Insanity” (written by LaRocque himself) was the track I remembered in the turn of hand - this three minute instrumental composition is beautiful (just as fair as a rose when describing a woman…), with impressive miraculous melody tunes. All is suddenly changed when the last twenty seconds enter new level – horrible, fearful music sounds, it is real insanity strictly connected with the things which Diamond describe. Till this ending I call it ‘beauty’… and I do not know whether it is good way for such naming…
Of course, in process of time, “The Eye” revealed many secrets hidden in music layers and after all these years I can state that every second coming from the album is excellent. To begin from the first track “Eye Of The Witch” where hard guitars (listen to these solo leads!!!) are supported by keyboards and build the atmosphere, to finishing tunes of “The Curse”. Songs are maintained is mid-tempo mostly, some of them are just spectacles and I feel like a spectator in the open air theatre. Even I can smell the odour of burnt bodies of the convicted, it is terrific indeed. Do you need an example? “The Trial (Chambre Urdente)” is such a song with dismaying dialogue between supposed witch Jeanne Dibasson and Nicholas de la Reymie – head investigator of the Christian Burning Court, here the music is in the background, and multitude of King vocals is in major role, I really can’t believe that only one person is responsible for such a great final effect. I wrote about the music which is rather kept down here, but once again solo leads are the thing I have to distinguish. In turn, the next “Burn” is opened by group of aggressive yet quite fast riffs, the fourth song “Two Little Girls” is something like a horror introduction – only King vocals and keyboards creating evil atmosphere… at the stake where witches burn, the necklace is in their hands…
The necklace story goes on, but summing all the things up I declare surely: this is very equal album, each song has something to offer, just like in the spectacle with the best actors. Even after all these long years of listening to it and other Diamond releases, “The Eye” still captures an attention as the real pearl and belongs to the best titles in my heavy metal collection. The mark isn’t the highest one, because only one band called Savatage was able to record better albums in the mighty eighties and weaker nineties years. Unfortunately “The Eye” was the last album with this unique mark of genius, the next performance released five years later was only decent and good. The magic of the first five albums has gone… but every second of King Diamond’s music has its own charm and heavy metal feeling.
After releasing 4 concept albums of the highest quality, King Diamond strike back to terrify the metal world. This time the plot is about witch hunts in 17th century France. The sound is typical for King Diamond, dark, heavy and catchy. On this record King Diamond use some new instruments like keyboards and violins. The violins are used in the most tasteful way. They darken the already dark atmosphere of the record tremendously. The production is superb, the best they have had so far. The lyrics are excellent. They give a very clear idea about the plot of the album.
King makes more use of his mid range in this album than he has done previously on any. His midrange fits the dark tone of the album. Not to say that he abandons his trademark banshee wail completely. His top range is amazing as ever. The guitar duo of Andy LaRocque and Pete Blakk is amazing. The lead work of these two is flawless. I won’t stress how amazing guitarist Andy LaRocque is. The rhythm section is one of the biggest weaknesses of the album. Drums are played by Snowy Shaw. But his drumming was so simple that King had to use a drum machine on many songs. Bass is played by Hal Patino and is mostly in the background, nearly silent.
The songs are consistent, and each have amazing dark atmosphere in them, such that was never experienced on a King Diamond album. The opener ‘Eye of the Witch’ is excellent. Nice catchy chorus and excellent atmosphere. ‘the Trial’ is a bit weaker but works as well. It opens with a dialogue between the accused witch and the judge which sounds totally superb. ‘Burn’ is the fastest song on the album and another essential highlight. ‘Two Little Girls’ is an interlude connecting the two stories of the witch and the convent. ‘Into the Convent’, ’Father Picard’, ’Behind These Walls’, ’the Meetings’ are all excellent songs. Great pace, guitar as well as keyboard work and King backs them up superbly. ‘Insanity’ is a classically influenced instrumental. The guitarists do a great job here and it sounds great. ‘1642 Imprisonment’ is the weakest song of the album. The chorus is just weak when compared to the rest of the album nor does it have any dark atmosphere present in the rest of the songs. The closer ‘the Curse’ is the best song of the album. The middle section is just killer, the chorus is amazing, and the main riff sounds great.
This is the best work by King Diamond both music and concept wise. The story is covered by the lyrics superbly. But in paying attention to concept, King doesn’t lose control of the music. It happens in many modern concept albums where the band pays too much attention to the concept making the music boring. Though this album is lacking in complexity compared to their earlier outputs, it is this album which has memorable songwriting.
The fifth in a long stretch of masterworks by the Mercyful Fate front man, I still regard The Eye was my favorite King Diamond record. After the hard hitting trio of Abigail, Them and Conspiracy, this never quite got the same level of recognition, but it seems people have since gone back to revisit and enjoy it. I've never stopped.
Like its predecessors, The Eye is a conceptual album rooted in gothic horror. It doesn't continue the story of the previous two albums, however. This is no morbid tail of ghosts, but of the witch trials. And it's flawless. Though not quite as hard hitting or technically endowed as Conspiracy in a production sense, each song is distinct and memorable. The mix of the record is perfect, with a nice atmosphere. Andy laRocque weaves a beautiful tapestry of rhythms and leads, ever the star of Diamond's musical entourage. The bass and drums aren't dominant in this recording, but they don't need to be. They do their job, and some of the drums aren't even acoustic, but a drum machine! Snow Shaw's drums were always so simple you barely notice anyway.
"Eye of the Witch" provides a slower paced, powerful intro to the subject material, with Diamond's graceful falsetto already providing an unforgettable chorus. "The Trial" features his corny yet lovable narration and some amazing, fluffy solo work from laRocque. "Burn" is just one of the best. metal. songs. ever. "Father Picard" is dominated by that wonderful Rhodes-ish speed metal riff lapsing into the best melody on the record. Just amazing. "Behind These Walls" has one of the best keyboard leads ever used in Diamond's discography. "Insanity" is a delightful acoustic instrumental that you will never forget. This album is that good.
It's no surprise of course that this album arrived in such a pinnacle year for metal music, really the climax of that 1986-1990 period where many artists could do no wrong as they were exploring the boundaries of this epic genre of 'extreme' rock. The Eye belongs in any metal lover's collection, just to the right of the first four King Diamond albums.
When one thinks of King Diamond, they usually think of Abigail, Them, Fatal Portrait, or Conspiracy. As great as those albums are, very few consider the work of 1990’s The Eye. This is a big disappointment, as The Eye is easily another part of King’s collection of great work and in my opinion probably his last great album until 2003's outstanding release, The Puppet Master.
Like its predecessors and Mercyful Fate, The Eye features King Diamond as being one of heavy metal’s finest singers. His unique use of falsetto has earned him this title and The Eye is no exception. Starting from The Eye of the Witch, King sings a great chorus, going through melodic and big intervals. Other tracks such as Burn also feature this great singing in addition to a lot of lows. King is always shifting from the highs to the lows when he has to. He displays more great singing on Two Little Girls, a creepy song with only vocals and keyboards about two evil girls (as the title suggests), very similar to the opening of At The Graves from the Conspiracy album. Lyrically, the album is about witchcraft and the burning of witches of the French Inquisition. Very interesting. Not only is King a great singer, he is always able to create great stories. Just listen to The Trial for some creepy and haunting lyrics.
The musicianship from the other band members is top notch, just like Abigail or Conspiracy. Original and current guitar player Andy LaRocque is one of my all time favorite guitar players and he never fails to show that on any album he plays on (King’s entire discography and Death’s Individual Thought Patterns). Also on lead guitar for a third straight album is fellow shredder Pete Blakk. The entire album shows these two contributing powerful, head banging riffs, and exchanging lead guitar attacks with technical and meaningful solos, as well as beautiful twin guitar harmonies. The instrumental track Insanity displays great acoustic guitar playing as well as wonderful melodic soloing, probably one of King's greatest instrumentals. Like most of metal's great guitar teams, both players have their distinctive sound with Pete having a raw as hell shredding style that goes perfect with Andy's neo-classical and fluid playing. One unique feature of The Eye is a more frequent use of keyboards. There are no keyboard solos like power metal bands, but the keyboard is use for melodies, hooks, and rhythms. The main melody of Burn is a minor scale played on a haunting keyboard sound and it is wonderful. Other keyboard standouts can be heard on Father Picard and Behind These Walls.
One disappointment of The Eye is that it is King's first album without original drummer Mikkey Dee, and the drumming on this album greatly shows that, as it lacks Dee's speed, intensity, and power. Instead it's very basic and doesn't standout. While the album lacks Mikkey's defining drumming, this is really the only flaw it has and it makes up for that with kickass songs like The Eye Of The Witch, The Trial, Burn, Behind These Walls, and Insanity. While this album suffers from Mikkey Dee's departure, it will no fail to meet the standards of King Diamond. Get this album. It fucking rips.
I think that The Eye is King Diamond's finest hour. On this album, he incorporates keyboards into his music. But don't let this alienate you! This is not for the same purposes that Judas Priest used keyboards on ''Turbo', in fact, it is to add a hypnotizing organ sound. Other classical instruments are incorporated in the music, and it actually makes it sound spookier and more dark. The opening track, "Eye Of The Witch", blew me away. It reminded me of why I got into metal in the first place, the fascinating darkness and spookiness of the sound. The keyboard riff instantley paints a horror movie in my head. As usual, the King's lyrics are musical horror stories that take place centuries ago. This one dates back to the Salem witch trials. Since in the 10th grade, I acted in my school's production of The Crucible, I was instantley familiar with these lyrics. Especially with the 2nd track, "The Trial (Chambre Ardente)". The track is essentially dialogue from a witch trial, where King Diamond portrays both the voices of the accused woman and the judge. It just takes me back to when I was in The Crucible, yet I can still bang my head to it. "Burn" is one of the albums faster tracks. The combination of electric guitars and violens in this song is amazing. "Two Little Girls" is an eerie 'intermission' type track, which only has violens, vocals, and keyboards. That song goes into "Into The Convent" (not to be confused with "Into The Coven", the Mercyful Fate classic). This song is equally as awesome though. I love the haunting melody of it. "Father Picard" isn't exactly a stand out track, but that's not to say I don't listen to it. Every song on this album is incredible. The track after it, however, "Behind These Walls" is right up there with my favourite King Diamond songs. The haunting organ intro is hypnotizing. The melody goes to show how metal can be heavy and dark as possible, but still have time to be melodic and musical. "The Meeting" is also incredible, with it's pounding drum beat during the verses, and the slow chorus. "Insanity" is an acoustic, instrumental ballad. It shows how amazing Andy Laroque is. While the song is soft, the darkness of it still can make it appeal to metal fans. Yet it can also easily appeal to those fans of classical music. "1642 Imprisonment" is nothing too special, yet it's got a cool chorus. The album wraps up with "The Curse". Perfect finishing song. Awesome main riff. About 1 minute into the song, the song's tempo speeds up. The useage of violens in this song is also amazing sounding. Basically, this is one of those perfect metal albums that you don't skip any tracks while listening to. Many King Diamond fans hail Abigail and Them as his best albums. Not that they're bad, but The Eye will always be my favourite.
How can one man put out so many great albums? His fifth album in five years, and it's another great one. Apparently, this album wasn't well recieved by America, and it was in Europe. Big suprize!....not. This would be King's last solo album for a while, because lack of intrest in the band, Mercyful Fate rejoining, and bad record deals. That just shows us that everyone's tastes went down the gutter during the early 90s because this album is mind blowing and unmistakably King's work.
Instead of the typical King Diamond intro track, we go head first into some metal. We start of with "Eye of the Witch", which is a straight forward, stomping tune, with some nice keyboard work. King's vocals are in top notch. "The Trial" is another stright forward tune that's great for headbanging. There's some awesome soloing by Andy and Pete in here as well. There's even some borderline thrash riffage in here at times. "Confess witch!" *Insert guitar shred fest here* Very memorable stuff. "Burn" is after that, and this one is completely smokin'. Very catchy and very memorable. You'll notice increased keyboard work on this album, which is tastefully used. Contibuting another dimention to the music. "Burn in the night! You're the devils child!" What an infectious chorus. "Two Little Girls" is a haunting story track full of keyboards. Overall well done. "Into the Convent" is a nice speed metal track, that sounds like something that could have been on "Conspiracy". "Father Picard" is the first and only King Diamond song written by Pete Blackk. It's very melodic with some nice riffs, and some great falsetto vocal work done by King. "Behind These Walls" isn't quite as memorable and is probably the weakest thing on here, and it's still great. Even the mediocre parts of this album are well above average. "The Meetings" is a bit more pedestrian, but has nice riffs nonetheless. It also has a few time changes; making it a more complex song. "Insanity" is a great intrumental, mainly acoustic, interlude with some great lead guitar. ''Inprisonment" is another above average fast paced tune. "The Curse" really picks up in the middle and another great, catchy, and memorable song.
Very memorable. If you like King Diamond do not pass this one up as it is one of his best. This is the last of the mighty first five albums by him. After this one things wouldn't be quite the same, but let's leave that for other reviews. Highlights are....well, all of them. Eatch song is authentic King. RECOMMENDED.
This album is marked by some as the end of King Diamond's first era with the band. Although I feel this album is the stylistic bridge between the flawless "Conspiracy" album and the follow-up "The Spider's Lullaby." Five years passed before the release of "The Spider's Lullaby", but it was written well before its release in 1995. The King Diamond band had hit a road block with the changing scene, lineup changes and a label that had lost interest in the band. So, inevitably the follow-up to "The Eye" did not see the light of day for years. Now on to the review in hand, "The Eye."
The opener "Eye of the Witch" is one of the most recognizable songs on the album. Its featured on most of the King Diamond "greatest hits" albums and the "Deadly Lullabies" live album. This opener really sets the theme for the album with its eerie, hypnotic keyboard riff, which sounds to me like a church organ played by a madman! This is the first album that really features King's keyboard as being a main instrument. Its not overly complex, but its presence is huge when setting the haunting mood. This album is about simple structures and riffs that drip with deep feeling.
"The Eye" can really capture you with its atmosphere. It's as if you've been placed in a 1600s witch trial yourself. One of the best examples is "The Trial", the second track which is a more theatrical piece, King using his character voices masterfully. Here there is a conversation between the shady trail investigator Nicholas de la Reymie and the accused witch Jeanne Dibasson. By these voices he uses, you get the idea that the supposed witch is probably innocent. King plays 5 characters which he states in the linear notes that they were all real and from that period of time. He uses a distinct character voice for each, making the story feel all the more real. This isn't your typical happy ending story either, but a dark story that represents a dark time in history.
The next song "Burn" is a real rocker. Perfect for a live show. This song has my favorite line from the album. "Burn in the night, You're the devil's child." Their is a very effective keyboard midsection. As if a bunch of devils were playing violins around a fire as you burn at the stake. As the line indicates, "They say the devil is here tonight, Then let him play his violin so wild."
Behind These Walls is one of my favorite tracks on the album. The song starts with another catchy keyboard riff. The next riff is what makes the song though, with the galloping guitars, the keyboards flowing in the background, and King really belts out some of his signature falsetto. "What's behind these walls...AHHHHHH ahhhhhhh"!! The song closes with a beautiful melodic solo from guitar hero, Andy La Roque.
Speaking of the solos, I say this is Andy la Roque and Pete Blakk at the top of there game. This is some of the best stuff laid down on ANY album. An absolute guitar clinic from melodic to shredding. Solos with meaning and feeling, not mindless self-indulgence.
"Father Picard" is the one and only writing credit that Pete Blakk had on any KD album. All I can say is why he did not write more? The opening riff screams 80's heavy metal. Just an amazing riff that can only be written by an amazing guitarist.
"Insanity" is an acoustic instrumental piece written by Andy. Andy has always had a knack for instrumentals and this one is no exception. This is a great interlude into the next song "1642 Imprisonment." That begins with a clean guitar and keys. Then the verse riff brings you back to the day of Mercyful Fate and Celtic Frost. If you can't appreciate this riff then you're probably too young.
The closer "The Curse" has a midsection that I dare you not to headbang to! The powerful line "The curse of the EYE, it will take you back in time." An interesting line that really lets the listener feel like they're apart of the story.
The drum sound on this album is much different from any King Diamond album. I must admit I did not know it was drum machine being used until years later. They basically sound like triggered drums. I used to think "why would Snowy like this kinda of drum sound?" I could only imagine how this album would've sounded with Mikkey Dee or Snowy Shaw playing on the entire album. Though, at this point, I wouldn't want to change a thing on this album, cause it has aged like a fine wine. I rate this album as much of a classic as the first four.
Not as colossal as the three albums that precede it, The Eye is still an essential King Diamond album in my eyes for several reasons. Firstly, it is the last album to feature the incredible guitar team of Andy La Rocque and Pete Blakk, the only album to feature writing credits for Pete Blakk and it also marks the end of an era for the band too. As musical climate change would have it, this album was overlooked, and it’s only now that it can be better appreciated. Their last studio album for Roadrunner, no usual 3 month tour in the US and dying interest in the general style of music held this album back immensely. They go more straightforward and lighter in approach here, which can also swing an opinion of the album for those expecting another “Conspiracy”. For what it is though, The Eye is still in essence a King Diamond album. The songs are still written to correspond to the story and the changing of events and characters, and the album again works with this idea too. “The Eye Of The Witch” is like the more straight ahead “rocking” tracks from “Fatal Portrait”, catchy, and also mood setting. There’s more layering of the music with keyboards this time around, you get the real gothic/horror movie stylings coming out here with a bit more than just using the basic instruments to create the atmosphere. “Two Little Girls” is a full on eerie keyboard track, maybe a little tacky around the edges, but serves its purpose for the album well.
Again as we are to expect, absolutely killer leads! All the King albums thus far have been very solo heavy and this is no exception. A bit less than usual but it enlivens the songs to no end, “The Trial (Chambre Ardente)” is all the better for them! They do a great job of breaking apart the song between some of the more repetitive moments. It seems monotonous at times if you are so used to the albums previous to it but most of the songs flow nicely with solid results. “Father Picard” (Pete’s only song for the band) is shorter, simpler, very catchy and works because it balances everything out and ends just when it needs to. “Behind These Walls” and “The Meetings” are great and aren’t hurt at all by any immediate problems. They are two of the stronger and heavier tracks and form the culmination of the story’s horror. Any dull moments get remedied often though and don’t really hurt the album too much, “1642 Imprisonment” and “The Curse” get a pick up just when they could use one. Another unique instrumental “Insanity” plays on acoustic and electric guitars taking dual roles to make a tranquil and despairing view of the part of the story that is to come (a bit in the way the intro of “A Visit From The Dead” off “Conspiracy” does); it’s one of my favourite tracks!
This is another horror concept album, based on religious horrors that took place during the French Inquisition, with some fictional elements added in by King (“The Eye” of the title). I won’t spoil or explain it since that can be done elsewhere, but this time the story is one where I knew everything that was going on and happening but there are some things I didn’t know why they were in there, or they didn’t seem to go along smoothly with it. The fictional elements seem a bit disjointed from the rest of what’s going on at times. The King is once again on fine vocal form, he really can do no wrong and he uses his range to portray the characters and events just as well as he had previously. The album was also recorded with half drum machine and half Snowy Shaw on an electric kit, it doesn’t bother too much really and I don’t think it makes the album any worse, though it does also seem to be a cause for complaint…