Each Sunday, The Hard Times travels back and reviews a notable album from the past. This week we cover King Diamond’s 1998 concept album “Voodoo” and it didn’t go as planned.
No one does a concept album quite like Danish heavy metal mainstays King Diamond. Their eponymous frontman’s signature multi-octave vocals lend themselves well to sprawling, fantastical tales. Although I am familiar with their breakout album “Abigail,” I’ve somehow managed to never hear “Voodoo.”. I picked up a copy on CD, as I feel like everything from that era is really meant to be played over shitty car speakers at max volume. Really suits the experience, you know? So I hopped in my literally decaying Honda CR-V and prepared myself mentally for an hour-long joyride with the Scandinavian legends.
“Voodoo” is a decidedly ‘80s throwback in the years where grunge reigned supreme, full of wild guitar solos (including one on the title track by Pantera superstar Dimebag Darrell) and soaring harmonies. Plot-wise, “Voodoo” takes place in 1930s Baton Rouge, and the moment I began my listen, I could feel myself being transported to that exact place and time.
And by transported, I mean literally. I was in my car in Pittsburgh, and two chords into “Louisiana Darkness,” I was suddenly sitting in a Hoover Wagon in the fucking bayou. As I write this, it’s oppressively hot, damp, and the driver keeps referring to me as “the Missus.”
This swamp atmosphere is effectin’ me, I can tell. I feel the need to pontificate, elaborate, speak in such a slow and pronounced Southern drawl that I fret I may not recover. I do fear, my most beloved readers, that I may ne’er escape my predicament, ne’er return to my homeland of Yinz.
The sun has set, and the path ahead, lit only by the oil lamp of the carriage, grows dim. Oh, lord help me. I see a great hulking man approachin’ my carriage, his eyes aglow with the light of the Devil himself. And—oh, my stars—he’s carrying some sort of strange guitar, brightly colored and electrified.
“I’m Dimebag Fucking Darrell,” he hissed, his words spoken backwards, before ripping into a truly Satanic bout of what a modern woman, unlike myself, may call “shredding.” My heavens!
SCORE: 3 out of 4 problematic depictions of ancestral voodoo practitioners