King Diamond - The Puppetmaster 2003 Metal Blade reviewed by: EC
2. Puppet Master, The
5. Blue Eyes
6. Ritual, The
7. No More Me
8. Blood To Walk
10. So Sad
12. Living Dead
Let me just be honest here. I'm not a huge King Diamond fan. Let me rephrase that...I do enjoy King Diamond as a vocalist and an entertainer, but I've always been more of a Mercyful Fate supporter. For me, King Diamond albums have always been hard to follow, with it complex progressive roots and black metal overtones. I like a more simplistic approach with my metal, an approach that Mercyful Fate seems to take more often than their frontman's band.
After skipping "House Of God" and "Abigail II", I finally decided to take a plunge back into Diamond's catalogue with new offering "The Puppetmaster" (the title sounded interesting).
I've owned the record for about a week now, and I haven't stopped playing it. I really enjoy the storyline, finding King's creation morbidly fascinating here. While Diamond is quite the story teller, I've often become lost in the songwriting. Too many theatrics, keyboards, and timing changes also factored in to my decision that King Diamond was too far over the top for my standards. With this new record, the band seems more focused on delivery of the story, with alot of theatrics and atmosphere put to the side for a more steamlined, less orchestrated event. Don't get me wrong, this is a very intricate tale, woven around complex riffs, female vocals, keyboards, alternating character voices, and tons of timing changes. But it isn't as complex or pushed on the listener as much as past albums.
"The Puppetmaster" is a macabre little story that takes place in 18th Century Budapest. King Diamond plays the main character, a man who is desperately in search of his love, Victoria, who was last seen at a puppet theater. During his attempt to find her, he uncovers a twisted, hideous secret under the theater's chamber involving the puppets, demonic rituals, and lots of blood. This is probably one of the more gruesome stories that King has unveiled. The storytelling is brilliant, and I absolutely love the female vocals that are throughout this album. The tragic love story that takes place here is very touching, and I can almost sense a few heartfelt lovey-dovey moments from King.
Every track is simply another chapter of the story, with my favorites being "Puppet Master", "Magic", and the emotional "So Sad".
Metal Blade has put together quite a package for this release. The album comes in a gatefold bible shaped digipak, holding both the album and a bonus DVD safely inside its cardboard walls.
The DVD is pretty interesting, with King Diamond explaining each song by candlelight. The DVD runs 30 minutes and is just an added bonus to what turns out to be one of the best albums to date from King Diamond.
Note-After a listen to this record, I went out and picked up Abigail II. Really good stuff!