Z2 Comics, infamous for their collaborations with music artists from Anthrax, Black Veil Brides, BABY METAL, Skillett, and more hve teamed with heavy metal legend King Diamond for the graphic novel adaptation of Abigail, one of the most beloved stories in the horrific heavy metal lore of King Diamond’s career.
After no longer being on a bus full of shitty cramped people for several days, I finally got to my hotel room. That joy was shortly lived when I had to actually get up and drag myself down the block to check in for press near The Aztec Theater. Which wasn’t that bad, since it was beautiful out! On the first day ofPhil Anselmo’s Housecore Horror Festival III, some people were bright-eyed and ready for a good weekend or even just the night of metal, others were jet-lagged, cranky and wanting to just get started. Everything about the fest was localized to less than a 2 block radius of busses, tourists and locals. Aside from how awesome the venue looked on the inside, a Whataburger was right down the street. More on that later.
Child Bite, by Emma Parsons Photography
Doors opened 5 pm and fans filtered in and begin posting up and getting beers for the evening that they cannot wait to unfold. Promptly at 5:30 Child Bite come to the stage and after a quick sound check they are primed and ready to strike the opening chord on this weekends festivities! A mix of early hardcore and surf rock, vocalist Shawn Knight let loose with a furious howl. War Beast followed, then Exodus and soon after the EYEHATEGOD pure wall of volume and feedback, and there amidst the whirl wind of it all stood an un-phased Mike IX Williams. Williams seemed very irritated that the sound guy didn’t know how to handle mixing him and the band. Jimmy Bower had a mid-set cigarette.
Exodus, by Emma Parsons Photography
Eyehategod, by Emma Parsons Photography
Superjoint, by Emma Parsons Photography
Superjoint, by Emma Parsons Photography
Now we begin the headlining section of the evening, the home stretch, everything leading up top the one on the bill, the one and only King Diamond. Sadly, I am going to take a second to divert the readers attention from what seems to be a super mega-fun awesome festival to talk to you about what happened outside of our little bubble around the same time as our show; just over the pond. At another rock show in Paris, France people were attacked and killed while trying to enjoy The Eagles Of Death Metal concert. Reports slowly came in via social media and to be quite honest I’m sure it left a lot of us wondering what’s next? More so, who was next; afraid it even could be us gathered en mass like we were. When Superjoint hit the stage in San Antonio our great leader Philip Anselmo came to us not only as the singer of a band, but as our friend and equal to say “They will not take this from us, they can not stop us from having our fun. That is what they want. We are family we are here to rock and have fun. This next song is called ‘Fuck Your Enemy’!
King Diamond, by Emma Parsons Photography
King Diamond, by Emma Parsons Photography
King Diamond kicked off his headline set with ‘Welcome Home’ and the sing-a-longs had begun. A slew of strobe lights, falsetto singing, and screaming fans filled the air at the start of this two-hour set. Classic songs and Merciful Fate covers led up to the 40 minutes we had all been waiting for, Abigail! From ‘Arrival’ to ‘The Black Horsemen’, every song sounded as crisp a the first time they were played live back in the day. It was a great end to the first night of the festival.
How King Diamond ruined My life by being so awesome.
I sat down with the intention of talking about all the highlights of the best metal shows I saw in 2014. But I want to be brutally honest here.
It all boils down to: KING DIAMOND
King Motherfucking Diamond.
As fans of King’s know the band inked a deal with Metal Blade records back in 2012, and since then all sorts of awesome new things have been going on. Reissues, boxsets, remastered tracks, new merch and all sorts of stuff that has Me excited. Now, I had never seen King Diamond before and have been a fan for so long, I was extremely excited to say the least. So excited I bought My ticket soon as they went on sale. And I only bought ONE because I didn’t know who I was going with and didn’t care if I went alone, but I was NOT missing the show.
It was RIGHT before Halloween, cold and dreary the leaves had all fallen off of the trees. As I said it was the pre party for Rock and Shock so everybody was appropriately spooked out and ready for horror mayhem and metal!
What a wonderful way to kick off a horror convention. It was the most involved and spectacular stage setup King Diamond had EVER done. Incorporating horror aspects from many of his albums and songs. It was SO intense! The vocals were on point, the lighting and stage was almost overwhelming, I never knew where to look. Like the metal version of a three ring circus in the best way possible. Grandma was there in a coffin, for awhile the show was in a graveyard, huge red lit Baphomet floated over the stage. You really were in King Diamond’s world. The musical aspect alone would have it the best show of 2014 for Me, but with the added theatrics it might just make it the best show of all time.
This show was so good that I was almost sad while it was happening. Because I know that no other show will probably ever come close to being that good…ever, for the rest of My life. King Diamond ruined My life by being so good. It was the best show of 2014 for Me by a long shot.
Rock and Shock 2014 in Worcester, Massachusetts was arguably the best yet. Previously, R&S never had a great pre-party show that ever caught my eye. This year however, they put all the previous year’s pre-parties to rest. The sold out Worcester Palladium crowd was greeted to underrated opening band, Jess and the Ancient Ones, which set the scene of an occult ritual. This was only a prelude to the pre-party as the night concluded with an amazing show from the legendary, King Diamond. Having it been almost a decade since the King’s previous show in the area, the anticipation for his set to begin was almost unbearable. Before we get to The King, I believe Jess and the Ancient Ones deserve quite a good amount of praise.
Not ever listening to a single note that JATAO have recorded, I was very interested in what was so special about this band that King Diamond himself handpicked for his North American Tour. A fellow fan in the cramped pit filled me in that this band had a similar vibe to that of Uncle Acid and The Deadbeats as well as GhostB.C. and other similar occult/psychedelic rock bands. His description was very accurate and only after half of the set was I finding myself in love with this band. The 70’s rock vibe mixed with Jess’s amazing vocals and her dance moves on stage really set the mood for what this night was all about. My personal favorite track was the 12-minute epic entitled ‘Sulfur Giants’ in the middle of the set. Not knocking any of the other tracks played (‘Prayer for Death and Fire’, ‘Astral Sabbat’, and ‘Casteneda’ to name a few) but this song gave me the same “Wow” factor as Blood Ceremony’s ‘Oliver Haddo’ does. Unfortunately we only got 6 tracks from Jess and The Ancient Ones, but it was a willing sacrifice for what was to come.
As soon as the crew on stage started setting up, a giant black tarp fell down from the ceiling and blocked our view. So as if the anticipation was bad enough, it just got worse. However, the long wait finally ended, the tarp fell, and slowly but surely each member of the band made their way up the staircase behind the drum kit. Finally, King Diamond, made his way up the same staircase, holding his cross-shaped microphone, made out of human bones, in the air. Then the evil ritual began as the first note of ‘The Candle’ was struck. Upside down crosses, a giant pentagram, and a creepy iron caste fence between the band and the crowd, made the atmosphere complete as the fans attempted to hit King’s falsettos (and failed miserably mostly). Fan favorites such as ‘Sleepless Nights’, ‘Eye of the Witch’, ‘The Family Ghost’, and ‘Welcome Home’ (complete with Gramma!) got the Palladium’s volume to ear deafening levels. Of course what would a King Diamond show be without a couple of tracks from Mercyful Fate? Well we got two tracks which made me more than happy. In fact, the entire floor started moving the instant the ever familiar riff to ‘Evil’ started and did not calm down until after ‘Come to the Sabbath’ ended. One of my favorite parts of the evening was when Gramma made another appearance during ‘Tea’ with, yes you guessed it, some tea in a tea kettle for King! It is without a doubt that the downside to this evening for all was after the 14 songs had been played and the night came to an end.
Overall, this night will be one of my favorite shows this year, let alone ever. King Diamond’s vocals were beyond what I expected out of the man who has been doing this for over 30 years and is a survivor from a triple bypass surgery. As equally as astounding is how great Jess and the Ancient ones ended up being. Sure some fans wanted Ghost or 3 Inches of Blood, but JATAO certainly made a statement on this night opening up for such a legendary name. I can only hope that when this new King Diamond album comes out (whenever that is) that I get the privilege of seeing him tour once more. If you were foolish enough to not attend or simply did not live close enough to a stop on this tour, then you best hope for a second chance.
Swedish occult rock/doom formation Ghost is one of the fastest rising stars in the metal firmament. Recently the band released Infestissumam, an album that will undoubtedly cement the reputation of Papa Emeritus II and his Nameless Ghouls even further. On behalf of Ghost Cult Marcus J. West had a little chat with one of the Nameless Ghouls just before the band enters the stage…Continue reading →