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King Diamond & Black Rose 20 Years Ago - A Night Of Rehearsal (CD)

King Diamond & Black Rose 20 Years Ago
A Night Of Rehearsal
by Makis Kirkos at 26 May 2001, 11:00 AM

King Diamond and Black Rose 20 years ago, what do you think about this one ? For me it's like a miracle, i love King Diamond and all of his releases. So , here we have a live release of Black Rose rehearsaling their tracks. This is a big opportunity to hear how a band sounds on their each rehearsal. And of course this is an album release only for King Diamond fans. Because King Diamond is one of my all time favorite artist's i couldn't review objective this release, so i prefer to infect you what he says about this release. Everything that you'll read below is taken by King Diamond & Black Rose 20 years ago ' A Night Of Rehearsal ' booklet, with commentator King Diamond himself.

KING DIAMOND began his career as a lead vocalist in an all Danish band by the name of Black Rose. This was 3 years before Mercyful Fate released their now legendary 'Mini-LP' in 1982. Black Rose was a 5-piece band, heavily influenced by Deep Purple and Kansas. Already then King Diamond used crazy makeup, and the band had a reputation for delivering a very violent and bloody theatrical show. The music you are holding in your hand right now was recorded LIVE during a night rehearsal session, on the 30th of September 1980. The session took place in a storage room under a bar in the outskirts of Copenhagen, Denmark, which at that time served as the band practice facility. The actual recording quality is quite amazing, when you take into consideration that it was done LIVE onto a 2-track reel to reel take recorder, using 8 microphones, which went through the band's 8-channel mixer and then straight to tape. You will hear 11 original Black Rose songs, and a cover version of Golden Earring's 'Radar Love' (the long LP version). The material has been left untouched, including the band member's chat in Danish between songs, in order to capture the authenticity of that very special night. You will even hear the band screw up a few beginnings, stop, and then start all over again. And…this material has never been available in any form or fashion until now !

First of all, I hope you will enjoy this music as much as I still do today. Even though the music is not as raw and heavy as Mercyful Fate and King Diamond, it's still very aggressive in its own way and quite complex at times. It blows my mind that back then I never really acknowledged how good the musicianship of the band was. Our live-set mostly consisted of our own songs, with a few Deep Purple songs added. Apart from songs like 'Black Night', 'Highway Star' and 'Child In Time', we would also play some of the more obscure Purple songs, such as 'Fools' and 'Living Wreck'.

Our stage show was quite controversial for the time, but I will get to that a little later. I don't know why, but listening to this music always makes me crave a beer. Could it be that the old wounds never quite healed from rehearsing 4 times a week in a storage room under a bar? A storage room loaded with cases and cases of beer. We could drink as many as we wanted, as long as we paid the owner at the end of each month. And we did! How often Jesper and I got stuck upstairs after rehearsals.

Oh well, we were young and crazy then. I have never really gotten rid of the crazy part. The following is a translation of an article in the biggest Danish rock magazine of the time: The headline read: 'Black Rose: Violently Insane Musicians???' The photo showed: Me in full makeup holding a human skull, while being stabbed by the drummer. The 3 other band members looked as if they didn't know that anything wrong was going on. Under the photo it said: 'Black Rose when they behave as human beings. When they are on stage they are so much worse, and pure insanity seems to invade them.'

1.'Locked Up In The Snow'
Heavily driven by Ib and his Hammond B3 organ. Some very cool bass lines from Jesper. A few backing vocals by Kurt. Otherwise, it's a straightforward song about what it's like to be locked up in the snow, with no rescue in sight.

2. 'Holy Mountain Lights'
This is one of the more aggressive songs. It describes a sighting of a mysterious woman, who turns out to be anything but holy. Some of the vocal parts almost have that Ian Gillan feel. Great aggressive solo from Jorn. Oh…a short falsetto at the very end.

3. 'Crazy Tonight'
A little tuning and we are already into the song. A very nice solo by Jorn during the laid back intro part. From here on it gets pretty aggressive. There's a few falsetto screams here and there. Cool tricky ending.

4. 'Virgin'
A medieval tongue-in-cheek fairy tale. Most of the song is midtempo, but suddenly everything changes. Aggressiveness and complexity takes over during the extended instrumental ending. When playing live, this gave me enough time to light a torch, which I stuck into 2 metal cylinders, each containing homemade bombs (I used to work at a lab), and when they went off, they sent shock waves through the entire audience. It was really stupid and very dangerous, but extremely effective. I used to still do this on stage in the early Mercyful Fate days, but instead of sticking the torch into the bomb itself, I would light a fuse with it, which gave me enough time to get safely away from the blast.

5. 'Kill For Fun'
Tuning… 'Your organ is out of tune' says Jorn. It's his own guitar that's the problem. Kurt gets impatient and starts imitating the Moog synth, which soon takes over. I remember carrying an axe and some knives around on stage, threatening anybody in sight. These instruments would be used later in the show.

6. 'The End'
I hear those keys being rattled again. Now I remember. That's where the beer opener was. On the key chain. There's suddenly the voice of Jesper's girlfriend at the time. In Danish Jesper says very loud 'Do you have to pee'? Almost ashamed you can hear her say 'Yiieeaaahh'. Jesper asks someone to give her the key to the bathroom, while Jorn suggests a bucket. The song itself starts with a very cool Deep Purple like organ intro, and then, one by one, the rest of the band joins in. The first half of the song is midtemp. The lyrics are kind of anti-drugs, describing an addict slowly going insane to the degree of actually committing murder. On stage, this was taken even further during the very complex instrumental second half of the song, where I repeatedly would stab a baby doll, which through an opening in the front, had been stuffed with little plastic bags containing real pig's blood and guts. The blood would spray all over, and I would pull the bloody pig's guts from the doll's stomach, only to throw them into the audience. It was gross and thought provoking all in one. This song really shows what great musicians these guys were. Too bad we never got to record any of these songs in a real studio.

7. 'Road Life'
A groovy, midtempo, vocal oriented song, describing exactly what the title suggests: Life on the road. There is a bit more falsetto vocals here, and this is actually the very song, to which one of our early fans had the following comment for me: 'You really should use your falsetto voice more'. I didn't even know what the word falsetto meant, until he explained it to me. From then on I started working real hard at developing that aspect of my voice. I never had any kind of vocal or musical training, but have always relied on my inner feelings and my ears, and I still do.

8. 'Soul Overture'
This is an instrumental. Lots of complex stuff going on here, and many different moods. A real show off for the band. We always started our live shows with this song. This might sound pretty crazy, and I guess it was. The band would come on stage and start playing. In the meantime, I would sneak to the back of the theater or club that we played, and from there I would be pushed through the audience, in a wheelchair, by one of my friends,who was dressed up as a doctor. My 'doctor friend' and I would be fighting each other all the way to the stage, at which point I would be lifted on to the stage, in a wheelchair, and usually at the exact time that the band would finish 'Soul Overture'. From there we would kick right into 'Doctor Cranium'.

9. 'Doctor Cranium'
A very aggressive, uptempo song, about an insane doctor who's experimenting with his patients in the most grotesque ways. It was during this song, that I had a jar full or real pig's eyes, which I would throw to the audience one by one. Sometimes the 'doctor friend' would climb on stage and take a few in his mouth, then chew on them and spit them at the audience. Primitive but effectful. If you have no money, and still want to put on a memorable show, you sometimes come up with the weirdest ideas, and we sure did. This is also the song in which I used the axe to chop (here we go again with that word) a 'real', and it was real, pig's head in half. It also went into the audience. Does this all sound too gross? I guess it was, but we didn't know any better and it sure was fun at the time. When you listen to the song, you will notice that the bass guitar drops out shortly after we have started. It was a bad cable, which Jesper exchanged while the rest of us played on. Before long, his is back in.

10. 'Disgrace'
This one was quite new at the time. What you hear is only the 4th time ever that we had played it all the way through. Therefore some of the confusion at the beginning, but once we get going, it flows really well. The lyrics are too controversial to get into here. I still remember the ideas I had for the live presentation, and they were not pretty, so I have chosen to omit them in this context. Notice how proud Kurt, the drummer, is right after we finish the song. What he says in Danish is: 'That was so well done'. Someone else says 'Wauu, he actually got it right this time'.

11. 'I Need Blood'
Before we start this one, Kurt wants someone to press 'pause' on the tape recorder. When no one responds, he reaches over himself, misses the button, hurts his nail and screams 'Iiiihh!! For Satan'. The word Satan is so often used when Danish people curse. Jorn immediately mocks him with his guitar. The song itself, was the newest at the time, and this was only the 2nd or 3rd time we ever played it >from beginning to end. It has an eerie lullaby feeling to it all the way up until the short breakout, which leads into an instrumental outro, consisting of chord progressions a la Pink Floyd. Lyrically, it tells the story of a man who has been chained in a dark dungeon for far too long, now realizing that his hands and feet have turned black and are about to literally fall off. He needs blood, bad!!! But he does not make it, and flows away to better things.

12. 'Radar Love'
Kurt again checks the tape recorder: 'do we have any tape left?'. It seems so. We try to start Golden Earring's 'Radar Love', but quickly find ourselves being out of tune. This version of 'Radar Love' is actually close to the original LP version, except for the great Jon Lord style organ solo, that Ib added towards the end. The band tunes and tunes, and then tunes some more. We're finally ready to go. Kurt does a little backing vocal in this one. When the song is over and done, you can hear Kurt saying, 'turn the tape recorder off'. Someone does.

Thats all about this release, i recommend this cd only for King Diamond fans.

4 Star Rating

Locked Up In The Snow
Holy Mountain Lights
Crazy Tonight
Kill For Fun
The End
Road Life
Soul Overture
Doctor Cranium
I Need Blood
Radar Love
King Diamond - vocals
Jorn Bittcher - guitar
Ib Enemark - organ / moog
Jesper Weber - bass
Kurt Jurgens - drums / vocals
Record Label: Metal Blade


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