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This is King Diamond's doom album. It is unslick and plodding and loose and lacking any of the queenly and quaint graces that its evil relations possess - counting even the Mercyful Fate family. It is a different kind of record and that's what makes it so independently charming. On "Up From The Grave", one of the best tracks, King proclaims "Here we go again my friend/Deep into my twisted brain" but what he forgets to mention is how gruesome in a more realistic sense the nightmare he presents this time is. The story is as thus; King's character catches the local mayor, a certain McKenzie, molesting his daughter Lucy and is thus committed to Black Hill Sanitarium by the designs of that malevolent and foul being. After leaving the asylum, King is critically crazy and hellbent on destroying the Mayor. He runs off to the Graveyard and spends his time wasting lives until he finally kidnaps Lucy and lures the Mayor into a trap that ultimately undoes them both.
And so the doom and gloom begins and although Andy LaRocque and Herb Simonsen don't quite borrow the riffs of Saint Vitus, the quality of dread and despair is evoked to a degree even Candlemass would be proud of. The riffing is much wilder this time, unafraid of tempo constraints, and where King Diamond songs before tended to play the prog game-you know the one where they shift the groove every few seconds-on "The Graveyard" there's no such strife. Opening tracks like "Black Hill Sanitarium" and "Waiting" thrive upon a single groove establishment and King's incredible wail to give them sail. The trademark dramatics that make a true King Diamond performance are maintained throughout; his violent shrieks are in full force as he confronts the maker of his woe on the slow crawling but heavy "I Am" and his uncanny ability to trigger both humor and horror abounds on cuts such as the keyboard fueled "Trick Or Treat".
LaRoque's leads are still fiery and harmonically rich and make highlights of tunes such as "Heads On The Wall" whose epic wall of riffs is in the style of past classics "Black Horsemen" and "Satan's Fall";"Black Hill Sanitarium" and "Meet Me At Midnight". Lyrically, there's not much in the way of pretty prose. It all reads harshly and nakedly, it is an ugly and horrific tale and I feel King tells it truthfully for what it is. Special credit also belongs to him for the keyboards. This is an album that operates mostly on feeling rather than technique and what he creates in terms of atmosphere is fucking applaudable. It adds a delicate touch to the more sensitive side of this seemingly entirely cruel tale. Plus those chimes on "Up From The Grave" are fantastically eerie.
"The Graveyard" is a masterpiece. A forlorn and forgotten one but not diminished for that fact. It may lack the essential charm of "Abigail" and "Them" but its honored place is the admirable castle of the King is undisputedly well earned. Why? Because musically, the band is still bang on top of their game albeit without a lot of the fussiness that nonetheless made the aforementioned classics, classics. And as a storyteller, King Diamond is still able to make flesh crawl with great ease.
Not only does King Diamond's 7th full-length The Graveyard give off the appearance of boredom incarnate, but its internal compositions radiate the sort of ennui that leads me to wonder why this one even got out the gates. Comprised of material that wouldn't even be fit as an afternoon fly snack for its arachnid-obsessed predecessor, much less the band's brilliant mid through late 80s legacy, it seems like someone had the bright idea to put forth an hour of filler and cash in on the 'brand name' alone. Sure, the music is identifiable as King Diamond, it doesn't exactly break the formula of prior records in terms of its stylistic choices or horror narrative, but that is not enough to spare it from utter vapidity. If this were coming from many other bands, it would seem like mere mediocrity, but from the King, whose standards of quality had been so high (in both his bands) up to this point, it's almost offensive.
The tale itself behind The Graveyard is perhaps one of King's more morbid, possibly even the most socially relevant of his albums, as it involves child molestation, corruption and revenge, but he maintains a supernatural spin on the story thanks the lead character's cemetery obsession. Still, none of this rescues it from a feeling of redundancy, especially in terms of horrible things happening to young girls. Abigail. Missy. Lucy. When will it end? And never before had the intros and interludes on a King Diamond record seemed so worthless and washed up, especially where Petersen presents us with his schizoid array of voices in 'Them'-like vignettes. In fact, the album feels relatively exhausted from the opening piece "The Graveyard" and it never quite builds from that point on. I wouldn't say the man's voice wasn't holding up here, but it seems like a lot of the vocal lines don't seem to have that same level of effort and melodic manipulation he had mastered on earlier outings. The lyrics suck terribly, though some lenience can be applied as they follow the same dialogue-driven format as they always had.
But King's own lackluster showing here is not the album's chief flaw. It's the enormously dry and tedious feel of the production. The guitar tone here is punchy and uninspired, lacking so much of the resonance from the other albums. Perhaps for 1996 this felt like a more 'modern' and sincere approach than saturating the music with so much glitter and screaming resonance, but it feels like they polished off the tracking and barely did anything to lend it effectiveness. It almost has a demo level feel to it which I'm just not buying up. The drums are poppy, the bass is thick but does nothing exciting, and the guitars are at best clinical in the more thrash-oriented riffs, not unlike Flotsam & Jetsam's 1990 disappointment When the Storm Comes Down. Now, if the riffing progressions were more interesting, with even a fraction of the catchiness of The Eye or Abigail, I could forgive the way it sounds, but these too seem hollow, a grab bag of paraphrased patterns from the older albums at best. LaRocque's leads are competent, as usual, but lack the burning mystique they once reveled in.
You're still getting a cross-section of speed/power, thrash and even a little doom/groove to the verses of a track like "Digging Graves" or "Heads on the Wall", but pitifully few of the songs sink their hooks in. Really, I struggled to form any recollection of a single track on the album in leading up to this review. It's one of those cases where I purchased the CD on release, found it a miserable disappointment and promptly placed it on the shelf, to revisit it every few years with the unlikely hope that it might 'grow on me'. The Graveyard seemed like such a shocking dip in quality after The Spider's Lullabye that it really caught me off guard, until I later learned that that album had been written in 1991, just never recorded or released. Thus, The Graveyard might be viewed as the first truly 'new' King Diamond material after the surprisingly solid Mercyful Fate reunion of that decade, and a potentially disastrous portent of things to come.
It would be easy to blame this on a combination of the band's lineup and a phoned in lack of interest from the primary parties (Andy and King), but I also can't help but feel that King in particular had probably just worked himself into exhaustion by the middle of the 90s, and this is the untimely result (along with some of the underwhelming Fate albums to follow it) of such a high level of productivity. There were far greater disappointments in these years, like Metallica's Load or Slayer's Diabolus in Musica, but The Graveyard certainly scrapes the bottom of the barrel in terms of the King Diamond canon, and is best forgotten by all parties involved and everyone unfortunate enough to have experienced it. Strangely, the album was hardly a 'failure' in terms of its sales, but this was a time when Hootie and the Blowfish were selling gangbusters, so sucking and charting very often coincide.
“The Graveyard” is the second KING DIAMOND album of four that I've undertaken to review. I will mention again that these four albums are my first exposure to the King and his work. I was very excited after listening to and reviewing “The Spider's Lullabye”, and couldn't wait to dive into “The Graveyard”, hoping to find the same creepy atmosphere and great music.
To cut to the chase, I was disappointed. Not with great immediacy, but as the album developed. This was due in part for my dislike for the story on this album, which is a little more graphic and unnerving than the last. King does a great deal of atmosphere-building on this album, but I think it comes on too strong, certainly for me. The psychopathic story winds around, with a twist at the end, which I understand is typical for KING DIAMOND'S story concept albums, but there's a number of things that make it less enjoyable than the others that I've heard.
There's a lot of redundancy on this record in general, like “Up From The Grave”, “Daddy”, and various other lines (including the maniacally repeated “die, die, die, die, etc. at the end of “I Am”, which actually becomes irritating). Some might think this beneficial or “in character” for the album, but it makes some of the songs boring. This isn't helped by the fact that other than the first two songs, this album is instrumentally unremarkable, and even “The Graveyard” and “Black Hill Sanitarium” pale in comparison to a lot of the work on “Spider's Lullabye”.
There's also one song here, “Sleep Tight Little Baby”, that I think is quite poor. It's a creepy, insane lullaby to the mayor's daughter as King buries her alive. All the while, he speaks to himself about the father's approach, and eventually welcomes the mayor to the graveyard. The chorus on this song really hits a nerve with King's falsetto (and by this point I'm fairly used to his singing style), and seems to drag the story along. By the time I finally reached the climax, I was tired of wading through what felt like filler, however theatrical.
The overarching feel of madness throughout the album is established...respectably. There just seems to be something really missing from “The Graveyard”. I think I could best describe it as a strong (not necessarily good) story put forth with less emphasis upon the musicianship. Inevitably, in metal, if this is the case, you wind up with a mediocre album, no matter how good the story or atmosphere. I'm sure that fans of KING DIAMOND'S work will enjoy the album a fair amount, at least in concept and story. It's just not as well executed (no pun intended) as other albums.
Originally written for www.metal-observer.com
Some reviewers here on the site have stated it already, this is for sure the most underrated KD-album. I can’t see why so many people say that King Diamond got much weaker after “Conspiracy”, this album really prooves that King still was the King (and he is still, of course). There’s many great songs on here, a really insane and wicked storyline + atmosphere, Andy’s guitarplaying is phenomenal and King’s vocals are top notch as always and a lot more lunatic than ever before.
As on most of the other KD-albums, King is telling a story through the album, which includes many characters. There are three main characters which he all does different voices for. King himself is a lunatic who has escaped from a sanitarium and hides in a Graveyard. And there’s the Mayor of the town (Mr. Mckenzie) who has molested his 7 year old daughter Lucy, but he blames it all on the lunatic, King. King tries to bring Mr. Mayor to justice for his crimes, in many ways, but fails as many. And eventually, something will happen in the Graveyard. Important to point out is that this story is not real, of course. But it’s still one of King’s most insane stories, and as always damn brilliant told through the album.
On the musical side we have many headbanging highlights, some shorter atmospherical and just insane tracks like “Sleep tight little baby” and “Up from the grave”, which one can - with a little big of imagination – understand how crazy they are just by hearing the titles. And on many songs King uses these INSANE and lunatic screams, I mean just listen to a song like “I Am”, it just screams psychopathic ! It’s so fucking great I can’t explain it. But however, in the ending passage of the song King screams DIE ! so many times, and so crazy you just have to hear it. These kinda screams does a great work for the storytelling and King does excellent acting with his voice through all songs. I really like the atmosphere of “Up from the grave” too, creepy and cool keyboards playing mixed with the vocals, it’s a great thing. And the “lalala” part where King is digging Lucy up from the grave is awesome. Some other best tracks are “I’m not a stranger”, “Meet me at midnight”, “Trick or Treat”, “Black Hill Sanitarium”.The production of the album is raw, the guitar sound is really great, what may sound a bit sloppy is the drums, and the drumplaying is maybe not the best of all drumming that’s been done in King Diamond, but it’s OK. It’s not really distracting since you listen to the great vocals and guitars.
I don’t know how many times i’ve mentioned “insane” and similar words in this review, but if I would sum the album up in one word that’s of course the right word for the work. “The Graveyard” is a splendid album, and you will be hooked about the dark story and follow it through all songs and I hope all of you will say “insanely good” ! Because this is NOT a bad album, seriously one of King’s best albums. So I suggest you to get this album, not just for the great music, but also that you hopefully want to know how the story ends......
The Graveyard is definitely the most underrated King Diamond release. There is a big punch of great songs and the atmosphere is brilliant. This album really is insane. In my opinion this would be a cool horror movie script as well. The highlights of the album are: Black Hill Sanitarium, I'm Not A Stranger, Digging Graves and my favourite song there is I AM! King's most emotional singing on the album are the lines of Daddy. The Guitar God Andy La Rocque's solos are cool as hell and Herb Simonsen also plays a few decent solos. Herb's solo in I Am is my favourite. The only problem with guitar solos is the lenght. Solos are short and not even close to be as good as on Abigail album. Still the guitar work is very enjoyable. I think there are no real fillers on this album. I used to dislike Sleep Tight Little Baby and Lucy Forever, but then I realized that those songs had some fantastic lines.
Sleep Tight Little Baby and Up From The Grave are the kind of odd songs and hard to listen to at first. Those songs might grow on you later, because the atmosphere is so insane during them. Whispers is quite irritating track and it is there just for the story. It's the intro for I'm Not A Stranger. Meet Me At Midnight contains maybe the most stupid chorus of the album. With better chorus the song would be a classic. The chorus is really lame and it's a pity, because the other parts of the song are cool. Lucy Forever is propably the worst song there. The song is important just for the story line, but musically it doesn't offer anything special. However the outro part is damn catchy.
"Lucy Forever, I'll be with Lucy Forever (x4) Ever.. ever.. ever..ever..ever..ever"
The most interesting part of the album is in the song I Am. King shouts the word "Die!" like a madman. I have heard that he shouted the word much more that was planned, so he "went wild" during recording the song! The Graveyard is definitely worth of buying because of King's excellent vocals, cool songs and awesome story. It isn't Abigail or "Them", but it's still good King Diamond quality. The Graveyard is also a little bit different King Diamond album, so you will love it or you will hate it. You will decide.
It's amazing that I've read so many bad reviews on this album, and I've heard many bad opinions about it, but after listening to this album for a few weeks, I don't understand what the problem is! Well, ok... I used to be unfairly biased against King's albums post 1990, but that is no excuse. Once I finally understood and realized the greatness of his later albums, the light easily switched on with this album.
This album is filled with emotions, and King has portrayed them beautifully. At first some of his voices sounded a bit strange, but if you read along to the story and immerse yourself in the story, everything suddenly becomes a lot clearer and makes sense. With that in mind, this album has some really heavy songs (Black Hill Sanitarium, Trick or Treat) and some mellow and somewhat odd songs (Daddy, Digging Graves)... but no matter what type of songs they are, they are all excellent songs. The story itself is quite good as well... very dark and evil. King's performance is excellent in all regards. Everything about this album is solid. Sure, it's no Abigail, but it's good for what it is... a solid album that sets a dark and evil mood.
You might end up loving this album, or you might end up hating it... either way, it definitely deserves a chance. It's King Fucking Diamond afterall!
I'll be kind of generous here, and give it 30 points for a number of reasons. "Black Hill Sanatorium" and "Waiting" are good songs, even if they don't match the stuff that he did way back in the day on Them and Conspiracy. Andy Larocque is still the shred master he's always been, and I'd pay 99 cents to get this from a used bin just to hear his solos. Sure, the other musicians who play on here are faceless ones you've probably never heard of before this album, but they manage to prove themselves very competent and tight musicians. I hope that they were able to gain some respect for their abilities, because the rest of this album is complete horseshit.
As with any King Diamond release, the important part is the vocals. What the hell is going on? What happened to King? His vocals on here don't sound eerie or evil, just plain old ridiculous. He definately doesn't get better with age, because I think that he's learned to control his voice much more. You need to be crazy, hell, even possessed, King!
I'd like to bring to your attention three songs that should deter you from ever buying this CD. Indeed, while listening to them alone in my little house out in the country, I felt embarassed. Yes, embarassed, because these were the most fucking stupid, lame-ass songs I have EVER heard.
"Whispers." Just King repeating "got to get his daughter" over and over again with some stupid keyboards. It sounds like a nursery rhyme, which brings to mind Korn. And what a way to further add in Korn comparisons than with the song "Daddy." It's a ballad of sorts, that maybe could have been better had we changed the vocalist and the lyrics. Luckily, this song is not about anal rape (like the Korn song), but it does feature the ludicrious line "Daddy tell me what to do...Daddy...No don't no" where King sounds like someone is beating him within an inch of his life. Seriously, compare this with "Into the Coven," and you'll feel that King is just being such a whiny little dork. It's like he's pleading with a bully NOT to steal his lunch money! STUPID!!! Finally there's "Sleep Tight Little Baby," which starts off with King pleading with a crying girl to be calm. Now he's pleading with a little girl...what next?
Okay, the songs lack a lot of character, and there's a lot of those stupid intros/outros with him singing over them. These usually sound cheesey as all hell. I do not like the storyline at all. He goes from writing albums about ghosts and demons to writing about child molestors and corrupt politicians? Even musicially, as I said, it's not good at all, apart from two or so songs. When it's good, it's good, but when it's not, it's TERRIBLY awful, or terribly trite.
This is the low point in King's career. He's gotten better after this, but I haven't bought a single King Diamond album after this album.
One word describes this album....INSANITY! That's what it is, pure insanity. I think that sound wise, this is the complete opposite of The Spider's Lullaby, and this time, King is back with a full length concept album, his most twisted at the time.
The Graveyard - By far one of the King's best intros. This intro should tell you just how insane and loony this album is going to be.
Black Hill Sanitarium - As soon as this tune begins to rip through your speakers, you know damn well that this album is going to be no Spider's Lullaby...raw, heavy, distorted and completly mad! "Black Hill Sanitarium, they're driving me craaaaaaaaazy!". Nuff said.
Waiting - Here we have one of the best songs on the album. The drum intro kind of reminds me of Welcome Home, but the song is overall more melodic. The chorus is killer, and the guitar rythm is heavy as fuck. It gives you that "insane emotional feeling" when hearing it. Then again, what KD song doesnt?? ::scratches head::
Heads On The Wall - The album calms for a bit when this tune starts up. It's very mid-paced, but well structured, quite average at best. It speeds up towards the middle, and the insanity returns, both in the music and in the lyrics.
Whispers - Less than a minute long, this track is obviously just "whispers", repeating the line "You've got to get his daughter, daughter" many times until the end. It leads us up to the next song...
I'm Not A Stranger - The rythm to this one is extreamly catchy, as well as the way King sings the verses. And he sings at a tone to where you can clearly understand the lyrics, which can either be a good or bad thing, depending on what you think about a man being attracted to a 7 year old. Oh well, this album revolves around the subject of child molestation, so you should be expecting a line like "Such beautiful eyes you have, such beautiful hair, you must be at least 7 years of age. Am I right, now?". ;)
Digging Graves - Warning: May stay stuck in your head for days, perhaps even over a week....yes, NO KD song has ever stayed nailed to the back of my skull more than this one has. Not all of the song does that, just the line "Into the night I go, and you can't follow me"....son of a bitch! It's in my head again. I mean, it's a KD song so having it stuck in your head isn't really a bad thing if you're a fan, but this song is like your ugly sex partner after just using them for sex because you were incredibly horny, it WON'T GO AWAY after you have fun with it! It's an awesome song when you hear it, but afterwards you want it to go away and it doesn't!
Meet Me At Midnight - Here's where the story really kicks into overdrive. After the lunatic buries Lucy alive in the cemetary, he calls up her dad (the town mayor) and warns him that if he doesn't show up at midnight, Lucy will be dead. Just the tone of vox that King uses in this one makes him sound more insane than usual, a perfect fit for a madman! Undeniably one of the best songs one the album, as well as one of the best KD songs.
Sleep Tight Little Baby - A very majestic, and melodic tune filled with keyboards in the beginning. This is actually a heavy version of the lullaby 'sleep tight little baby', well...in the beginning at least. Before you know it, this tune turns into a fast and angry peice where the lunatic expresses his hatred towards the mayor. "Let me see your face, you son of a bitch!".
Daddy - I have to mention the solo first, because it's just INCREDIBLE! This is a major favorite among the KD fan base, which surprises me as to why it isn't played live today. The entire song is in ballad form, and could easily send chills down the spine of the listener. Everything about this song is just perfect.
Trick Or Treat - Heavy as Hell, raw and driving...that's what this song is. The driving beat and rythm is amazing. It's very choppy, but the chops are very tough and heavy. This is another song that surprises me as to why it is never played live. I can just imagine the crowd's reaction to it...
Up From The Grave - I wouldn't consider this one an actual song. It's more of a....well...just a filler track. Same repeating riffs and drum beat, with the same repetitive line "Up, up, up from the grave".
I Am - Now this song reminds me of his days with Black Rose. Through out the entire song, you can hear those Deep Purple-ish 70s keyboards that he used with Black Rose, which fits perfectly with the overall song. The verses flow so well here, with a nice, mid-paced beat. I love the surprising ending "Die die die DIE DIE DIE DIE!!...." and it keeps going on until the very last "DIIIEEEEE!!!!!".
Lucy Forever - Finally, the story has come to an end, and it may be disappointing for most, but happy for a few such as I. I won't tell you what happens but as far as the overall song, it's average at best. Many fans seem to absolutly love this song , but I just find it average but a perfect album and story closer, both sound and lyric wise.
Quite many KD fans overlook some of King's albums. The Graveyard is one of them. I'm not sure if it is the best King album but definetly one of the best.
The story begins from a sanitarium. King was put in there by Mayor MacKenzie, 'an old perverted swine' who molested his own daughter but put the blame on King. The nurse meets her death and King escapes, story really begins. King yearns for revenge. The story is definetly a great one. Of the King Diamond stories propably only the Spider's Lullaby story is better than the Graveyard. The reason why I like it so much must be the fact that it is the sickest thing King has ever written. -Sick music for the sick people!
The music rules here. King manages to follow the mood of story perfectly with the music. The song material is not anywhere near as heavy as on Them or Abigail since the Graveyard is definetly one of the most mellow King albums.
The first few songs are about King's escape from the lunatic asylum. They're quite fast and heavy compared to the later songs and describe perfectly the aggressive mood of an insane person who escapes to get his revenge. After King has captured Lucy, the mayor's daughter the sickest part of the story starts and the music turns into sick as well. King Diamond is a master of the moods. In the end of "I Am" the mistreated madman really bursts in rage as King finally sentences MacKenzie to die...
Really the only thing that could have been done better with this album is the production. I think production is too thin for this kind of album. The mood suffers a bit when there's not any kind of decent guitar wall and strong bass supporting the music. Especially the haunting riffs like the one in "Lucy Forever" scream for at least a little heavier production.
Apart from that, The Graveyard really rocks me socks! :)
Since King Diamond layers so much it hurts...just please bother to bear with me as I tear this CD down bit by bit and let you know exactly why I consider this the single WEAKEST of the King Diamond records.
Storyline - No suspense here folks! The wonderful intro of "Black Hill Sanitarium" and "Waiting" work in the classic style the constant cheesy dialouge and other blabbering that pollutes the CD is hardly of the qaulity we expect. This is no Abigail - and this is certainly no fucking Them. The story is just an idiotic attempt to reconcile evil, child abuse and other wackiness that all manages to sound stupid in print.
Music - The music is solid but suffers on the more narrative pieces. The only tracks that really rock are "Waiting", "Black Hill Sanitarium" and "Trick or Treat". (One might also add that "Lucky Forever" hold some fun parts as well...) Otherwise - it's standard and somewhat aimless Diamond. Even the vocals seem a little rushed in the recording.
Production - Tin can alley here. Not a lot of work put into the sound blasting - it sounds tinny, digital and utterly flattened. Not my kind of production job at all...nothing compared to the warm blast of the Robert Falaco produced works.
All in all...this CD is just a weak hodge-podge with a hokey story that manages to rock like all hell in certain places. I suggest this for King dieheards...but all the rest of you stay away!!!
The Graveyard is definatly the darkest King Diamond album, no question. Telling the story of an escaped lunitic (King) The Graveyard focuses on a twisted love, revenge, and an "old perverted swine" named Mayor Mackenzie. This album is so dark even King put a warning on it. Featuring the same line-up as The Spider's Lullabye, The Graveyard is probably my second least favorite King Daimond album coming in right after Fatal Portrait. Performances are top notch as always with the exception of drummer Darrin Anthony. Andy and Herb deliver shredding solos as expected and King literally sounds insane. After the great intro The Graveyard the album kicks off with one of it's best songs, Black Hill Sanitorium. Then going into the even better Waiting and topping off at track four with the godly Heads On the Wall. After that the album weakens somewhat but not to much. Other killer songs include Trick or Treat, I Am, and Digging Graves. The story, as I mentioned is fucked, King fails in all his attemps at revenge and WARNING SPOILER!WARNING SPOILER! eventually dies. SPOILER OVER. While not the best album by King it's worth it just to hear King's insane vocals. I mean he IS literally insane on The Graveyard. Diamond fans should like this and people who like insane vocals should too. And don't forget 18 is 9.
Yes I am awhere that 18 is 9 has nothing to do with the Graveyard, but I couldn't help it.