KING DIAMOND (1985–PRESENT). King Diamond (vocals), Andy Laroque (guitar), Michael Denner (guitar, replaced by Mike Moon, Pete Blakk, Mike Wead, Herb Simonson, Glenn Drover, now Floyd Konstantin), Timmi Hansen (bass, replaced by Hal Patino, Sharlee d’Angelo, Chris Estes, Dave Harbour, now Hal Patino), Mikkey Dee (drums, replaced by Chris Whitemier, Snowy Shaw, Daren Anthony, Jean Luke Herbert, now Matt Thomas).
King Diamond is the solo project of Mecyful Fate frontman King Diamond, the band he started after the breakup of Mercyful Fate in 1985 but which continued on after Diamond reunited with the band in 1993 until the band went on hiatus after numerous personnel changes in 1999. Diamond’s music uses his operatic vocals to great effect and continues the satanic and occult-influenced work of Mercyful Fate, and to the uninitiated, the bands do sound similar (especially as King Diamond was formed with Denner and Hansen of Mercyful Fate). However, there is more consistency and less commerciality in King Diamond, and from the Abigail album to the present the band has shown a remarkable consistency. Although like in Mercyful Fate members come and go (guitarist Laroque is the only original member left), King Diamond are a worthy successor to the legacy of Mercyful Fate and one of the darkest but most musically adept bands in the black metal genre. Diamond also had some notoriety in the mainstream press when Gene Simmons of Kiss tried to sue Diamond because of the similarities between the face paint of the two, which demonstrates not only the pettiness of Simmons (the bands do not sound alike at all, and the make-up was actually quite dissimilar) but the “Mercyful” nature of King Diamond, who chose to change his make-up rather than killing Simmons with a curse. King Diamond is one of the longest running and most influential of all the mainstream black metal bands and is a good introduction for fans that like their metal occult tinged, but more radio friendly and technically adept. And how can one not love an artist that titled one of his records, Give Me Your Soul … Please?
Discography: Fatal Portrait (Roadrunner, 1986); Abigail (Roadrunner, 1987); Them (Roadrunner, 1988); Conspiracy (Roadrunner, 1989); Family Ghost (Roadrunner, 1990); The Eye (Roadrunner, 1990); The Spider’s Lullabye (Metal Blade, 1995); The Graveyard (Metal Blade, 1996); Voodoo (Metal Blade, 1998); House of God (Metal Blade, 2000); Abigail II: The Revenge (Metal Blade, 2002); The Puppet Master (Metal Blade, 2003); Deadly Lullabyes: Live (Metal Blade, 2004); Give Me Your Soul … Please? (Metal Blade, 2007).