Find me another artist who polarizes metal fans more than King Diamond, and I’ll eat my damned hat. And while you’re at it, if you can deliver more than a handful of people who’ve seen the light of metal based solely on King’s recent releases, I’ll eat his top hat as my dessert. That’s honestly not intended to be an insult, it’s just me coming to grips with two important realizations: 1.) King’s brand of melodic horror-metal ain’t exactly everyone’s go-to flavor, and 2.) The majority of new metal fans seem to be coming into the fold through the Becoming A Despised Cowboy and Neur-Isis styled bands currently running amuck. Quick conclusion? When it comes to a new K.D. record, cynics will remain cynics, many n00bs will drift past apathetically, and devotee’s such as myself will probably find just enough meat on the bone to sate our hunger and keep us vigilant.
That said, welcome to King Diamond’s twelfth (!!!) full-length solo album: the politely titled, Give Me Your Soul…Please.
As is the case with a lot of King’s modern material, it takes a bit of time to shift gears into his long-spun formula of ghostly heavy metal, and this album no different. Initial spins immediately uncovered some subtle foibles, but it also revealed the album’s two strongest selling points: strong choruses and solos. Perhaps not up to snuff as the 80s material + The Eye, but enough to awaken that familiar appetite to rip through the rest of the catalog.
As mentioned above, approximately ¾’s of the songs feature the sort of refrains that will leave you humming, and while it seems true that King uses less of his highest of high falsettos with each subsequent release, his delivery still covers an impressive range that’s conducive to the gamut of emotions needed to unfold the story. Adding the icing to the cake (once again) is one of the genre’s hardest working duos, Andy LaRoque and Mike Wead. This record is brimming with the sort of luminous leads fans have come to expect from King Diamond albums, even the songs that are relatively humdrum.
Killing songs this time around: “Is Anybody Here,” “Mirror, Mirror” (featuring one of the catchiest bridge riffs I’ve heard in some time), “The Cellar,” “Give Me Your Soul,” and “The Floating Head.”
THE NOT-SO GOOD:
Much like the rest of King’s work following The Eye, there are flat-points to be found, especially in terms of the album’s production. The snare and cymbals often lack the snap and razzle-dazzle we heard from drummers in the past, and some tunes suffer from some rather colorless riffs. Case in point, “Black of Night” and the down-right odd “Cold as Ice” come across like filler that only serve to advance the story line.
In the end, Give Me Your Soul…Please stands as yet another example of King delivering the goods to his loyal fans. No, it probably won’t sway those who’ve been critical of King in the past, and it (thankfully) doesn’t push the envelope of his ingrained formula, but when you’re the only true player in your game, who really cares about that sort of thing. Buy it because it’s King Diamond, and that is a great thing.