King Diamond - Dreams of Horror (2014) - Flawless overview of an outstanding career - 97% (06/01/17)
Should a release like Dreams of Horror really even exist in 2014? That's a quite good question but from my point of view, I would definitely answer with a resounding "yes". Obviously, in modern times, many people prefer downloading music instead of purchasing expensive compilations but there are a few points that make this physical release really interesting.
First of all, the cover artwork is really lovely and includes iconic elements of almost all previous King Diamond records which puts this kind of release above the exchangeable "Icon" series and the likes. The booklet is also very well done as each song is described in a detailed way with a few intimate anecdotes where even older fans might learn a few things and new fans can get an idea of the philosophy behind the band. Even the space behind the discs in the solid digipak is not wasted and comes around with more beautiful artworks and photos. One can see that some passionate artistic effort was put into this release and no digital version can match this detailed effort.
I'm aware of the fact that many fans from the early years are used to their original versions because they have unique memories connected to certain songs and records but if we are honest deep down inside of us, certain old school efforts we might defend by calling them authentic and charming suffer from mediocre productions. I'm not a supporter of pointless re-recordings à la Manowar, lifeless modern productions that one can experience in the power and progressive metal genres these days or the ongoing loudness war which already destroyed a few decent thrash metal release of more recent dates but there is nothing wrong with a professionally remastered compilation that manages to keep the spirit of the original music alive by improving the production flaws or the limited technical possibilities thirty years ago. This is exactly what happened here. The production of the songs on this release is atmospheric, powerful and thick and keeps a perfect balance between the original soul of the different tracks and the inclusion of scientific improvements.
Let's talk about the songs themselves. Obviously, each long-time fan has his or her personal favourite or secret tip that might not be included on such a release. The purpose of this record is though rather to expose the impressive thirty-year long career of King Diamond to potential new fans as the band is now back on the road and about to release its first new record in eight years. This is where this compilation does an excellent job and it becomes obvious that the band members themselves carefully chose the most fitting songs and the appropriate versions of these songs to be part of this release. The band chose the most fitting tracks and not necessarily those considered the very best by a majority of fans or record companies and this is a very important difference between any greatest hits collection and an authentic compilation that feels like a regular release as it's the case here.
When I want to discover the discography of such a band, I want to get in touch with the most famous songs, the most experimental efforts and get an idea of the progression of the band sound. This release includes all of it and covers each studio record of the band to give new fans a best possible overview. The two discs include the shortest and the longest track of the band and features instrumental tracks as much as the most progressive occult heavy metal tracks from the band. Each songs works very well for what it is and I could only discover good to excellent tracks but not one single filler. You want me to mention the best and worst tracks on here? Forget about it, just listen to the entire double-album as it is meant to be. The inclusion of some shorter songs and instrumental tracks is also a welcome idea and adds a great organic flow to this compilation as intense moments are followed by more relaxed breaks. It also helps that both discs have a length of around fifty-five minutes instead of filling them with eighty minutes of music. One really gets the impression to listen to a coherent regular double-album of the band and not just to a compilation that tries to follow the band's greatest hits chronologically or to include as many tracks as possible in a random order. Each track and its order is precisely chosen to elaborate a harmonious and logical progression. This is a very strong element most greatest hits records don't have. I would even say that this is probably the best compilation record I have ever purchased.
At the end of the day, this compilation is the perfect deal for those who know a few King Diamond songs or own just an album or two as it's not always easy to find more records in stores these days and want to discover the band's entire impressive discography. Old school fans should also appreciate this release a little bit because of the nice artwork, the interesting liner notes and the unusual choices for such a compilation that focuses on the overall atmosphere instead of potential sales numbers. I have been listening to this compilation on a regular basis for almost two months now and I can't get enough of it. Thanks to this release, I consider myself a fan of the band now and am looking forward to purchase the original records and to see the band in concert in the future. Yes, a release like Dreams of Horror should definitely still exist in 2014.« Eluveitie - Live at Feuertanz 2013 (2014) - Great gimmick for old and new fans - 80% (02/02/15)Therion - Vovin (1998) - Elegy and majesty in a perfectly balanced mixture - 96% (06/01/15) »
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