King Diamond + Angel Witch
@ The Forum, London
21st June, 2016
Review by Jarod Lawley
Photos by Talie Rose Eigland
The King’s return to the UK after a seven year long absence at Bloodstock Open Air 2013 must have impressed a lot of metalheads, because now the band haunt London again for the first time in ten years, they are playing to a crowd that is over twice the size to the that back out the Electric Ballroom in 2006.
It’s a warm Summer day and, as usual, punters at the pub next door are spilling out onto the streets, whilst even as it turns to 7.30, Angel Witch‘s stage time, there are still long ques to gain entry.
As I get into the venue and access the seated balcony area, I see why. The venue is completely packed for the support act, as understandably, many want to see the metal legends in action.
Unfortunately, their performance is underwhelming. Because of KD’s elaborate stage show, which is kept hidden behind a massive curtain, Angel Witch are given little space to work with. A drum kit stuck at the front of the stage prevents the band from becoming animated, and instead their one-trick pony brand of heavy metal falls flat when just played by static baby-boomers in t-shirts.
Nevertheless the band sound powerful and loud, and their classic ‘Angel Witch’ gets the expected chant along to warm the crowd up ready for the main act!
Normally it should be a privilege to have such a legendary band as an opener, but Angel Witch failed to deliver the exciting rock and roll show I hoped for.
The turn around for King Diamond is so lengthy I wonder if everything is going okay backstage! However, when the curtain drops and the gothic staircase and neon crucifies are revealed, it is clear that the night is set and the performance is ready to begin!
Bursting onto the stage with ‘Welcome Home’, the five-piece create a gripping, magical atmosphere over the 2,000 strong crowd, sounding as tight, professional and wildly exciting as any metal band to have graced this venue.
The King’s voice is unbelievably on-point, delivering each falsetto wail with a lightning-sharp electric tone. Despite having turned 60 recently, he makes full use of the stage area, traversing the staircases and delivering each lyric with his trademark, flamboyant theatrical gesturing.
After a series of 80s favourites, the ‘Abigail’ section of the evening begins. It’s a real classic album, and if you want to know a true metal head from another, a knowledge of this 1987 release can be a good benchmark!
With few pauses, the band go through the entire LP. Particular highlights are the more well known tracks such as ‘The Family Ghost’ and ‘Black Horseman’, but throughout the near 90 minute set, the band show no signs of fatigue or waning enthusiasm, and continue to project the atmosphere of an occult eighties horror flick with every shriek and guitar wail.
The Danish ghouls offer no encore, leaving the performance feels somewhat short-cut, and I am disappointed to leave the venue without having heard personal favourites ‘The Candle’ and ‘Tea’. However, there’s one thing that tonight proves, which is that King Diamond remains the total master of sensational live shows, continually showing every other band that a gig doesn’t just have to be ‘another gig’!
Out from the Asylum
Eye of the Witch
Melissa (Mercyful Fate cover)
Come to the Sabbath (Mercyful Fate cover)
A Mansion in Darkness
The Family Ghost
The 7th Day of July 1777