King Diamond
The Spider's Lullabye


3.5
great

Review

by Justin Taslak USER (30 Reviews)
August 5th, 2008 | 7 replies


Release Date: 1995 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Arachnophobia never seemed so sweet.

King DiamondThe Spider’s Lullabye

At the time of recording, King Diamond were:
King Diamond (Kim Bendix Petersen) – Vocals, Harpsichord, Keyboards
Andy La Rocque – Guitar
Herb Simonsen – Guitar
Chris Estes – Bass, Keyboards
Darrin Anthony – Drums

The voice of Kim Bendix Petersen is possibly the most infamous in heavy metal history. As dreadful as it can be, it’s hard not to have fun listening to almost any of King Diamond’s dark and melodramatic concept albums. After the breakup of his former band, Mercyful Fate, the King took the metal world by storm in releasing Fatal Portrait, and then Abigail, the latter of which is widely considered the greatest metal concept album of all-time. That album wowed audiences with theatrical pizzazz and dazzling instrumental work that was almost shocking when put alongside the eccentric vocals of the King. The Spider’s Lullabye, King Diamond’s first release on Metal Blade Records (he was previously on Roadrunner), is a far cry from Abigail, but it more than makes up for some disappointing releases in between.

The first half of The Spider’s Lullabye is surprisingly not an entire concept, but instead a collection of short stories. The first thing to note about them is that they aren’t as well-written as we are accustomed to, but are entertaining nonetheless. From the Other Side, one of the album’s better songs, contains the following verse:

I see the strangest faces
Faces that I’ve never seen before
They see through empty spaces
Spaces that do not exist no more

Sure, they are out of context, but pretty much all of the writing on the album is mediocre. The stories are fascinating though, with topics ranging from serial killers, to ghost hunting, to violent and frightening nightmares. Due to frequent low-pitched vocals applied here, essentially the entire album is comprehensible. The second half of the album deals with a man named Harry who has the misfortune of having a terrible case of arachnophobia. Harry finds a doctor to help rid him of his phobia, but the treatment sessions quickly turn for the worse when Harry is tortured with spiders. Again, these stories aren’t supposed to be deep and life changing, and they aren’t. Instead, Diamond and company take listeners on a roller coaster ride through one of the only enjoyable haunted houses listeners will ever experience.

I’ve ripped on King Diamond’s vocals in this review, but they are in fact much improved. There is less high pitched whining with more low, menacing vocals. They are so well done that one can really visualize them coming from the grinning, painted face of the King. If you are unfamiliar with his higher vocal style, imagine someone trying to imitate Craig of Chiodos, but being completely serious about it. That pretty much sums them up, keeping in mind that King Diamond was composing and wailing away long before Craig was even born.

The instrumental work here is definitely strong, particularly from the highly underrated Andy La Rocque, but it is a step down from the band’s greater works. The riffs remain catchy, but the guitar solos are fewer, shorter, and not nearly as epic. This is a shame because guitar solos have saved King Diamond from completely annoying the **** out of non-fanboy listeners in the past, and even those who can stand his vocals need a bit of a break here and there. Although it is used infrequently, the harpsichord is a wonderful addition to any metal album, considering its constant use during the Baroque period of music. If any period of so called classical music has had any influence over the heavy metal scene of the past 40 years, it is the Baroque period. J.S. Bach and Johann Pachelbel are constantly mimicked and covered using heavier instrumentals, from Children of Bodom to Between the Buried and Me on the complete other side of the metal spectrum. King Diamond’s use of the instrument is as sinister and ghastly as you will hear, yet some may find it a bit cheesy. The intros to The Spider’s Lullabye and Room 17 can be taken as downright creepy, or they may remind listeners of those old school tunes blasting out of a Gameboy, while one is arduously working their way through a Pokemon dungeon. The drumming and bass work here is decent, but they are never really a focal point in these songs. Welcome Home, a King Diamond classic, seemed to brilliantly feed off the energy created by the drums, and it’d be nice to see them put to use more often on this album.

The Spider’s Lullabye finishes as one of the more entertaining album’s around, but is far from being the most serious. The musicianship and songwriting are excellent, but the riff work is too happy and almost pop-influenced, and the only other thing to really stand out is the vocals. While Abigail and Them can be listened to for being utterly brilliant compositions, The Spider’s Lullabye is only for die hard King Diamond fans, as well as anyone looking to add some color to their generic or tiring musical tastes.

Pros:
Catchy riffs
Songwriting and storytelling
Improved vocals
The perfect length

Cons:
Weaker solos and instrumentals all around
King Diamond’s voice (is still despised by many)
No lyrical complexity, although his lyrics have never really been complex

Some Recommended Tracks:
From the Other Side
The Spider’s Lullabye
Eastmann’s Cure
Room 17

Score: 3.5/5



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Comments:Add a Comment 
bustyagunz
August 6th 2008


911 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i picked this up at pennylane for 5 bucks the other day, and decided to write a review when i saw the abigail review posted.
when king diamond is bold, it refers to the whole band, when it isnt, it refers to kim.

Jim
August 6th 2008


5110 Comments


no comments?? bit rough man.
great review. pos

MonorailCat
August 6th 2008


118 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I'm not too big of a fan on this one, compared to his others.

bustyagunz
August 6th 2008


911 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

yea i was suprised when i saw no comments for the first 6 hours or so, but thanks for posing and commenting.
yea, this isnt his best, its possibly in his top 5 but leagues below Abigail and Them.

walfernu
June 24th 2012


91 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Good Album but the weakest outting by the Danish squealer. Solos are very feeble.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
June 24th 2012


6149 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Album's great, despite the somewhat toned down musicianship.



Digging: Raven Throne - ???????? ?????????

Titan
October 5th 2012


4884 Comments


in the moonlight.............



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