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King Diamond – The Puppet Master

Label: Metal Blade Records
Format: CD/DVD
Released: 2003
Reviewed By: Rich Catino
To start, I must comment on the DVD portion where King Diamond himself, in full makeup, tells the story behind the album track by track. This video portion is the perfect compliment to King’s music and brings his creativity to life, at least in this forum. Watching this further enforces my beliefs that King Diamond belongs in the movie industry, bringing his tales to horrific life.
King’s latest tale has a more chilling feel in comparison to the gothic atmosphere of “Abigail II”. The story revolves around a “Puppet Theater”, where a sick puppet master takes the eyes of the living and places them into life size puppets, combined with dark magic giving them life. King once again plays the main character and tells the story from his point of view. We also see the inclusion of a sort of love interest of his, who appears in the music as female vocal parts.

Musically and stylistically, it comes very close to the progressive arrangements of “Them”, while having the ferocious and reflective guitar solos of “Conspiracy”, as well as the catchy hooks. “Blue Eyes”, “Blood to Walk”, and “The Ritual” include the ever familiar Andy LaRocque guitar harmonies and ghostly melodies.

Even though I can draw parallels to these two classic albums, it stands and breathes a life of its own, just as “Them” and “Conspiracy” do.

The female character can be heard several times throughout, adding a haunting and very tragic view to the events taking place, ex: “Darkness” and “So Sad”. We also learn about “Emerencia”, the wife of the puppet master with a blood lust. Included on the tune of her namesake, accompanied by operatic female vocals, followed by narration from King, it is one of the strongest tunes to be heard. This addition of the female voice is an appropriate addition to King’s already theatrical compositions.

“No More Me” has a very dark keyboard to go with the also ferocious vocal delivery, and sounds very painful for King’s character.

Without creating the same painting twice, King Diamond reflects and takes from his past to make for another familiar listening experience while including something new preventing creative stagnation.

If this man was to write a novel, or more importantly create a film, the face of horror would be turned upside down like the crosses of his evil face paint, and shown how it is really done.
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