King Diamond & Black Rose - 20 Years Ago (A Night Of Rehearsal) Metal Blade Records - 2001 /images/covers/KingDiamond.jpg Long before Mercyful Fate released the legendary Mini-LP in 1982, King Diamond was the lead vocalist for an all-Danish band called Black Rose. This new release on Metal Blade is a recording of a live rehearsal session of Black Rose on September 30, 1980. The session was recorded in a storage room under a bar outside Copenhagen. The quality of the recording is quite impressive in spite of the circumstances and it sounds better than some studio productions that have been released. The band consisted of King Diamond (Vocals), Jorn Bittcher (Lead Guitar), Ib Enemark (Organ & Moog), Jesper Weber (Bass Guitar) and Kurt Jurgens (Drums & occasional backing vocals). The band had built a reputation of doing a very bloody and theatrical show and King Diamond already used his trademark makeup. The booklet also contains a lot of commentary by the King himself about the band, their live shows and the songs contained in this recording. What is so great about this recording is that nothing has been cut out. You can hear the conversations of the band members between songs as well as how the band screws up the beginnings of songs and stops and starts all over again. The music found on this album is nothing like the music of Mercyful Fate and King Diamond albums. This is more influenced by Deep Purple and Kansas. I have never been the biggest fan of either Mercyful Fate or the King Diamond albums, so at first I was really skeptical about this recording but as soon as I heard it I was immediately captivated. The first song Locked Up in the Snow is a fast song, it is driven by the organ and its is one of the highlights of the album. The song Crazy Tonight starts of very slowly with the guitars but it soon picks up to a fast and aggressive pace. King Diamond at times sings in his high falsetto voice. I should mention that for the most part King Diamond sings in the mid-range through out the album and I frankly like it more when he sings like this (This is one of the reasons I have never been able to really enjoy any of his albums). Road Life is another song that features the falsetto vocals and in the commentary that King Diamond provides this was the song where a fan told him to use his falsetto voice more. The song The End has to be my favorite song by Black Rose. It starts off real slow with the organ, which is very reminiscent of Deep Purple. Then one by one the rest of the instruments come in and the song really kicks off. The band is incredibly tight and it really shows what a talented group this was. The first part of the song is mid-tempo but when the instrumental section comes in, the pace is quickened and it becomes more aggressive. There is a great organ solo in this part as well as a sweet guitar solo. The instrumental Soul Overture is another excellent tune. There are plenty of changes and once again the band really shows how great they were. After each listen of this album I found myself enjoying it more and more. I think it is a real shame that this band did not have a studio release or that it did not go on. To be honest with you, I think this is better music than what King Diamond went on to make but I know I probably in the minority with this statement. Never the less, fans of King Diamond should probably get this just to know what he did before Mercyful Fate.