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Review of the Album "Fatal Portrait" by Danish Heavy Metal Band King Diamond

Updated on August 9, 2021
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Ara is a journalism graduate from California State University, Northridge, who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.


King Diamond & the Story Behind the Album "Fatal Portrait"

King Diamond, the Danish singer with a very high falsetto vocal style first came to prominence as part of the band Mercyful Fate. But he also has had a solo career since the later part of the 1980’s. He released his solo debut album Fatal Portrait in 1986. Fatal Portrait would be the album that would start the career of the band King Diamond. It is a band even though it was started by King Diamond.However, this is not a fully concept album so just the first four songs and song #9 are part of this Fatal Portrait story. “The Candle” has a symphonic feel to it which starts King’s solo career and this is something that we would hear from the famous UK black metal band Cradle of Filth later on in the next decade. There is a sort of chanting in this first song which was common in the Mercyful Fate releases. Since this is a concept album, there is a certain story being told here. 7 years have gone by and the saying is that the candle must burn again.

The Story Behind "The Jonah"

“The Jonah” tells the story of an ancient book that was sitting on a shelf for 7 years but this book has a very special secret to it. The man reads the book and he finds out that this is the spirit of a girl named Molly that is released. She then begins to speak wanting others to hear her story. The song also has a sort of Iron Maiden feel to it.

The Concept Story Behind "The Portrait"

“The Portrait” is the next part of this story or saga as it is being told that Molly’s mother was overcome or possessed by this sort of evil jealousy. Molly gets locked up in the attic until she dies, being only 4 years old.

The Songs Charon & Lurking in the Dark

Charon is a song about being taken across the river Styx to the land of the dead. This river is familiar to some of us for being in the Greek myths. Lurking in the Dark is a song basically about the presence of these spirits that the human eye cannot see so how does a person know that these spirits cannot harm them?

"The Candle"

The Songs Voices From the Past & Halloween

Voices from the Past is just a short instrumental song that follows the song Halloween. Halloween has become an important sort of holiday in the United States where the house in the story is haunted and Molly’s soul keeps on returning to the attic.


Dressed in White, Another Concept Song in the Album

One song that we forgot to mention is the song called Dressed in White and the song refers to the spirit of the departed and deceased Molly as her soul travels through the night as she is in this search to find a home. She has with her a secret that is not known what it is and where she must go it is not known either. This short song though melodic is not as good as the song called Gypsy in the album called Don’t Break the Oath.

Final Thoughts About the Album Fatal Portrait

As this first solo effort by King Diamond comes to a close, the Judas Priest influenced riffing song called Haunted tells the tale of Molly’s soul returning to play with her dolls as she asks her mother why did this happen? The house is described as being haunted and not hospitable to visitors. Overall, Fatal Portrait is similar musically and stylistically to early Mercyful Fate albums and is a nice display of talent.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2018 Ara Vahanian


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