Originally written by Harley Carlson.
Over the past two decades the emperor of all that is eerie has unleashed quite the bizarre, yet widely acclaimed body of work; both with Mercyful Fate and the band that shares his alias, King Diamond. Not since 1990’s In Concert ’87, however, have we seen the release of such oddities of the staged environment on disc. Recording every show from the U.S. leg of last years The Puppet Master tour, King Diamond’s sophomore live outing offers up a collection of his greatest and strangest tricks and treats, both new and old. The two disc retrospect delivers nineteen fan favorites from the bulk of the King’s back catalogue.
Never really favoring the falsetto side of singing, I usually skipped over listening to anything that involved King Diamond, and therefore was extremely weary about signing up to critique Deadly Lullabyes Live. Maybe my tastes have evolved in my old age, because within minutes of popping in disc number one I began to regret never giving the band a fair and honest chance when, in fact, I have had ample opportunity to explore them in depth over the years. Friends have made attempts to share a few albums like House Of God, The Spider’s Lullabye, and Abigail, but I could never get past the vocals. I would give them a short listen and almost immediately dismiss their efforts. I attribute this new found love to the experience I have gained over the years and though I still don’t prefer that particular vocal approach all the time, I am able to differentiate voice from music, and that is the part that I most appreciate. These are some very impressively written songs. I can guarantee, after this review, I will be reverting my attention toward His Majesty’s entire discography to rediscover what I have been missing all these years, Mercyful Fate included.
The first disc compiles compositions off of 1987’s Abigail, 1989’s Conspiracy, and the 2002 sequel, Abigail II: The Revenge. Key tracks include “A Mansion In Darkness”, “Eye Of The Witch”, and “Sleepless Nights”. Disc number two is built from songs from 1988’s Them, 1990’s The Eye, and nauturally 2003’s The Puppet Master. Every moment of this portion of the show is memorable, but the classic encore, that includes “Halloween” from 1986’s Fatal Portrait and “No Presents For Christmas” from the 1985 debut EP of the same name, really sends the crowd into a frenzied sing along. The production is flawless and crisp. It’s apparent that a lot of time and energy went into the mix to assure that all instruments are clear and in your face, really giving off the vibe that you are actually at a King Diamond concert.
Despite being nearly flawless, I do have a couple small complaints regarding Deadly Lullabyes Live; 1) Clocking in at almost exactly ninety minutes, the set only hosts fifteen actual songs. The other five tracks are intros/outros. To totally live up to the potential of a double live album, they could have fit in at least a few more tracks. The empty space should have been filled with guitar/drum solos, more cuts from The Puppet Master , and even some Mercyful Fate classics like “Curse Of The Pharaohs”, “Into The Coven”, and “The Bell Witch”. 2) The utter lack of material from the House Of God and The Spider’s Lullabye albums gives me the impression that King Diamond is not so proud of those works. I would have been pleased if we were to hear “The Trees Have Eyes” and “The Poltergeist”.
Regardless of my rants, Deadly Lullabyes Live serves as both a great live album and a collection of greatest hits, benefitting both new and old fans alike. Whether this be an introduction to the legendary act or a trip down memory lane, Deadly Lullabyes Live is for everyone.