King Diamond - Them
Roadrunner Records
Theatrical Heavy Metal
12 songs (53:29)
Release year: 1988
King Diamond, Roadrunner Records
Reviewed by Crash

Holy crap. It’s King Diamond. For those uninitiated, the real King Diamond was a Danish king in the 1800’s known for his vast collection of rare jewels and diamonds (hence the name). Young Danish boy Kim Bendix Petersen thought that a great way to pay tribute to their once great leader would be to make out with skulls, paint crosses on his forehead, and having arguably the most recognizable voice in metal. People have a love/hate relationship with the King, but I am among the elite few who think that the King is a legend.

King is my bro. I have neglected him this past year. I fell in love with those two Mercyful Fate albums and completely ignored the rest of his material since. But today is a new day. A return to creepy houses and demonic grandmas. It is time for tea. Them has always been a great record for me but I felt was completely overshadowed by its superior precursor Abigail. To be fair, I really was only ever in love with the first half of this album. My mind would always wander once the halfway point came in, not because the album was bad, but just was a lot of the same stuff. Anyone that listens to King’s newer albums go into each one expecting a usual dose of filler. I felt like Them was the meeting point between them. I loved parts of this album and liked the rest, but didn’t much need to listen to it often.

It is another ghost story, this time about a young King’s grandma comes back from “holiday”. King finds her communicating with voices from the air. She invites him to drink tea with her, fresh from the fresh cut wound in his mother’s arm. As they continue their tea sessions his mother becomes weaker and weaker. It was a good story then and it’s a good story now. King is convincing in his roles as character and narrator and while many may find his delivery cheesy or corny I think that it perfectly fits the material. This is a ghost story. Goblins, spooky stories, Halloween! This is classic horror on cd. I can’t believe I hadn’t listened to it for a year.

So, how do I feel now? Well, to start it off… it isn’t too much different. After all, Welcome Home, The Invisible Guests, and Tea were always always always some of the best material of King’s career, period.

Mother is Getting Weaker is a song I never paid attention to before. But now that I am, I am in awe of what a gem it really is. The band really shines in these songs. Andy La Roque is one of my all time guitar heroes. I feel that his playing on Abigail should be the standard by which we judge an over all well rounded metal guitarist. His attack on that album was very fluid and eerie, which worked for the misty and foggy elements that made it a great ghost story. The guitar is more on attack here with intense soloing and technical bits filling the cracks. Bye, Bye, Missy is a radical one as well, really going for the disturbing stuff with King’s freshly hacked up and burned little sister. King gives one of his best performances on this song as he plays all of the characters. Missy’s screams of fright are particularly noticeable. He drops out of singing and into full blown acting. I wish that this method of storytelling was used more in metal. We need more concept albums.

There are great bits all throughout this album. I think that I know what made me lose my attention. I have always been so overwhelmed by the greatness of the first three songs that I lost interest in the less great, but still great second half. Twilight Symphony is the last real song on the album and it really shows off Diamond’s talent for layering his vocals. This was one of the last albums he had before his voice really started to show its age. I love a lot of stuff from Give Me Your Soul… Please? and I thought that the recently rerecorded version ofEvil for Guitar Hero was awesome. But it still can’t compare with this. King’s voice is over the top in all of the evilest greatest kinds of ways. He cackles and giggles like a damn goblin. If I had an ear vagina, my brain would be pregnant with ugly children. I mean that in the best kind of way.

I won’t spoil the ending, which is why I stayed away from it here. (I might have made some of that up, by the way.)

King Diamond’s Them is flat out awesome and is what I am now convinced should be considered a classic. I recommend that you buy it and love it.

Killing Songs :
All, just stick with it!
Crash quoted CLASSIC
Other albums by King Diamond that we have reviewed:
King Diamond - Conspiracy reviewed by Kyler and quoted 82 / 100
King Diamond - Abigail reviewed by Crash and quoted CLASSIC
King Diamond - Give Me Your Soul...Please reviewed by Jeff and quoted 82 / 100
King Diamond - Deadly Lullabies - Live reviewed by Jeff and quoted no quote
King Diamond - The Puppet Master reviewed by Jeff and quoted 93 / 100
To see all 7 reviews click here
5 readers voted
Your quote was: 100.
Change your vote

There are 12 replies to this review. Last one on Mon Jul 11, 2011 2:59 pm
View and Post comments