LP | "Them"
2020 | METAL BLADE RECORDS
COLOUR: Clear Lavender Marbled
Released just a year after the monumental "Abigail", KING DIAMOND´s third full-length "Them" went even further to stake his claim as a distinct entity. Guitarist Michael Denner and bassist Timi Hansen were phased out of the band in favor of Pete Blakk and Hal Patino, effectively severing all ties to MERCYFUL FATE. Another full album story was crafted to ensure that its predecessor’s grandiosity wasn’t going to be a one-time affair. Thankfully the results were successful and "Them" is still the King’s highest charting effort to date.
Despite the first to what would come to be multiple lineup changes, the musicianship on "Them" is as stellar as ever. KING DIAMOND´s signature vocals may be the biggest attention grabber, but the instruments play equally important roles. Mikkey Dee’s galloping drums remain the stuff of legend, most notably on "Welcome Home", and Andy LaRocque’s manic leads add plenty of spice to "The Invisible Guests" among others. The songwriting also seems more contained than its predecessors, offering the same twists and turns as before but within a steady four to five-minute range.
The album´s plot is another haunted house / ghost story like "Abigail" before it, but it carves out its own narrative and tone. While "Abigail´s" story detailed a young couple dealing with the terrors of an unfamiliar ancestral estate, "Them" has a subverted approach: the protagonist, also named King, is facing sinister forces awakened in a place of comfort by the return of a long lost relative. The fact that he and his sister are children and their mother is incapacitated the entire time only emphasizes the vulnerability.
Overall it´s a great album with great music and a fucking creepy story, every Heavy Metal fan should own this album.
It´s not high literature, and I´m obviously reading too much into it, but the premise is a lot creepier than I think most give it credit for.
In the year 1988 ROADRUNNER RECORDS from The Netherlands did the first pressing of this album.
Re-issue on Clear Lavender Marbled vinyl, this version is limited to 300 numbered copies, it comes with lyric insert and free mp3 download card.