“Welcome Home”: In 1988, King Diamond used Gothic spook stories for his unearthly rock

By on February 19, 2019

In 1988, during the peak days of the so-called “Satanic Panic,” Night Flight aired our “Take Off to Satanic Metal,” a “Metal In Your Face” segment featuring King Diamond’s video for “Welcome Home,” which lyrically tells a fictionalized saga in which King Diamond himself welcomes home his mentally-ill grandmother (she’s been away at a insane asylum).

Watch this vintage half-hour devoted to heavy metal and hard rockers who weren’t afraid to dance with the Devil on Night Flight Plus!

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Night Flight’s Pat Prescott introduces King Diamond’s video this way: “Leather-lunged Great Dane King Diamond uses Gothic spook stories for his unearthly rock. Here he welcomes the undead back home.”

Danish-born occult-metal legend King Diamond — born Kim Bendix Petersen on June 14, 1956 — is notable for possessing an iconic multi-octave vocal range.

He’s also known for wearing black & white face makeup which ultimately resulted in him being sued by KISS bassist Gene Simmons, who thought Diamond’s face makeup too closely resembled his own stage persona The Demon, which led to an out-of-court settlement with Diamond being forced to modify his makeup.

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Diamond first rose to prominence with the theatrical black metal rockers Mercyful Fate, who despite a relatively short time together as a band , forming in the early ’80s, inspired likely hundreds of thrash and death metal bands who would later name them as an influence.

King Diamond would release a self-titled 4-track EP on their own before signing with Roadrunner Records, who issued a pair of thrash metal classics, 1983’s Melissa and 1984’s Don’t Break the Oath.

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After getting deeper into the occult, Diamond wanted to continue to pursue some of his lyrical ideas as a thrash metal band.

Meanwhile, some of the other members of the band wanted to focus more on being a mainstream hard rock act, which would eventually lead to their splitting up in 1985.

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The following year, Diamond launched a successful solo career with a few of his fellow band members, using his name as his band’s name, much like Alice Cooper (one of his earliest influences) had done decades earlier.

Since their inception, King Diamond have had a revolving-door membership, and other than Diamond (lead vocals, keyboards) the only constant over the years has been guitarist Andy LaRocque.

The other members of the band at the time of this video were Pete Blakk (guitars), Hal Patino (bass) and Mikkey Dee (drums).

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Read more about King Diamond below.

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By the time of King Diamond’s second studio album, Diamond had found his own musical niche, composing haunting, progressive concept albums with horrific storylines, beginning with his band’s second studio album, 1987’s Abigail.

That album’s concept — admittedly similar to the Count Dracula legend — was originally based on a nightmare that Diamond had on a “dark, stormy night” (or so we’re told).

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It’s built around the story of a couple, Jonathan La’Fey and his wife, who move into a mansion they’ve inherited in the summer of 1845, despite being warned by no less than seven different horsemen that dangerous spirits of the dead are haunting the hallways and empty rooms.

They learn about one of their long-dead relatives, Count La’Fey, who some seventy years later, in July of 1777, had discovered that his wife Miriam had had an adulterous affair and was pregnant with another man’s child.

In a rage, the Count had thrown Miriam down a staircase, breaking her neck and killing her unborn female child, which the Count has named “Abigail.” He has the fetus mummified and laid to rest in a sarcophagus.

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The young couple who move into the mansion are astonished to discover that Abigail is very much alive, however, now inhabited by her dead mother’s spirit, and she throws Jonathan La’Fey down a staircase in the mansion.

The seven horseman return later to the mansion to find the child spirit Abigail feasting upon her own mummified remains. They take her deep into the forest, where she’s impaled by seven silver spikes and buried in hopes of preventing a future rebirth.

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“Welcome Home” was the first vocal track — coming after a long instrumental opener, “Out From the Asylum” — on King Diamond’s third studio album, Them, released by Roadrunner Records in July of 1988.

Them was the second of two consecutive King Diamond concept albums, this time telling the story of another haunted house inhabited by a protagonist — who is named “King” just like the singer, who decided to insert himself into the story — and his his relationship with his mentally-ill grandmother.

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“Welcome Home” kicks off the album’s storyline, as a young King and his mother and little sister welcome home King’s grandmother home after her stay in a mental asylum.

We find out over the course of the rest of the album that King and his grandmother are both descending into madness and they hear voices — known to the listener only as “Them” — in what we’re told is a dwelling called the House of Amon.

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Watch “Take Off to Satanic Metal” — which, in addition to Ozzy‘s “Miracle Man” (followed by an excerpt from an exclusive Night Flight interview with Ozzy himself!) also features videos by Iron Maiden (“Can I Play With Madness?”), Danzig (“Mother”), KISS (“Rock N Roll All Night”), Mötley Crüe (“Looks That Kill”) and Damien (“Every Dog Has His Day”) — on Night Flight Plus.

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About Bryan Thomas

Bryan Thomas has been a freelancing writer/critic for All Music Guide, and a contributor to Launch, Music Connection, Big Takeover and numerous other publications and entertainment websites, blogs and zines, most of them long gone. He's written more than sixty sets of liner notes. He’s also worked for over twenty years at mostly reissue record labels -- prior to that he worked in bookstores and record stores, going all the way back to the original vinyl daze. He lives in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA.