"Voodoo" is the 8th full-length studio album by multi-national heavy metal act King Diamond. The album was released through Metal Blade Records (US)/Massacre Records (Europe) in February 1998. "Voodoo" sees a lineup change as drummer Darrin Anthony, who played the drums on both "The Spider's Lullabye (1995)" and "The Graveyard (1996)", is replaced by John Luke Hébert. The rest of the lineup are still the ones who played on the previous two albums. The cover artwork for the album was created by prolific Swedish graphics artist Kristian Wåhlin.
"Voodoo" is a concept album with a story that takes place in 1932. The story is about the Lafayette family (Sarah (who is pregnant), David and grandpa), who moves into an old colonial house on the Mississippi River, just north of Baton Rouge, but they are often woken at night by the sound of drums coming from the voodoo graveyard which is situated next to their house. They involve their servant Salem in their plans to destroy the voodoo graveyard, as they see it as a place of evil, but it turns out Salem is one of those attending the loud voodoo rituals on the graveyard, and he is appalled by their plans. He contacts Doctor Le Croix (a voodoo sorcerer), who begs Salem to help him kill the Lafayette family before they destroy the vooddoo graveyard. So Salem places a snake in David´s room and puts haunted graveyard dust in grandpa´s food, which makes them both very ill, but he can´t convince Sarah to eat the food he has prepared, as she is nauseous because of her pregnancy, so he ends up pouring goofer dust on her, and as a result Sarah is possessed by dead voodoo spirits. Grandpa calls his old friend Father Malone to do an exorcism on Sarah, but he fails badly and is almost killed by the possessed Sarah. The Lafayette family then decides to leave the house. In the last track on the album titled "Aftermath", we´re told that a woman named Sarah Lafayette has given birth to a child and that the child is speaking in the strangest of tongues...backwards.
I have probably missed a detail or two (and a couple of characters) in the above description of the lyrical concept, but in large strokes, that´s the storyline. It´s the third King Diamond story after "Abigail (1987)" and "Them (1988)", which involves a haunted mansion, but the voodoo concept is quite different from anything else King Diamond had created up until then.
The music on the album is no surprise if you are familiar with earlier releases by the band. It´s still heavy metal featuring the occasional thrashy riff with King Diamond´s distinct and high pitched vocals in front. There are several killer tracks on "Voodoo" like ""LOA" House", "One Down Two to Go", "Life After Death", "Cross of Baron Samedi" and of course the title track, which features ritual sounding percussion and an absolutely brilliant guest guitar solo by the late Dimebag Darrel (Pantera). Speaking of guitar solos, the album features one fantastic solo after another, which along with the cleverly arranged vocals and some of the guitar riffs are some of the assets of the album. Sometimes the song structures are a bit too predictable/formulaic, but most of the time the band make sure to put in a section or a bridge to spice things up.
The sound production is one of the more powerful from the later part of King Diamond´s career and it suits the music well. While the display says that the album is 61:57, "Voodoo" features a "waiting ending" (which consists of some chaotic noise), so the album is actually closer to being 52:00 minutes long. I remember always having the feeling that the album was slightly too long for it´s own good, and while I enjoy "Voodoo" a little more today than when it came out, I still think the band should have cut 1 or 2 tracks from the album. I think it would have made more impact that way. When that is said "Voodoo" still deserves a 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating and a recommendation from me.