Birth in a cemetery or GTFO.
One of the key factors any long-time fan of King Diamond will quickly highlight when attempting to explain their indestructible enthusiasm for the man's varied works is the inherent 'uniqueness' attached to the heart of it all. You may not particularly care for those extraordinary vocals, but there isn't a metal fan alive who'd deny their originality. And really, how many bands have we witnessed over the years that have similarly (and successfully) flashed such a prominently falsetto'd approach? Warrel Dane on the first Sanctuary record? Cirith Ungol? Confessor? Even still, such examples traveled an entirely different path in terms of overall style/aesthetics. The fact remains: it ain't easy pulling off those continuous banshee-wails, and even today there have only been a handful of young bands with vocalists willing to attempt to outright mimic King's style. Out of the few that have, none has managed to strike the target quite as effectively as Attic's Meister Cagliostro. Give this dude the official cape and K.B.P. monogramed hankies, as far as I'm concerned. Not since Pagan's Mind/Nils K. Rue's version of "At the Graves" have I heard someone who sounds so… Kingly.
The thing about the Mercyful Fate/K.D. legacy, however, is the fact that, as distinct as King's vocals are, the entire shootin' match has always been made all the more memorable and rewarding because of the immensely talented musicians also involved. "A Mansion in the Darkness" would be far less impressive without the manner in which it sweeps into the room on Mikkey Dee's deft cymbal-play and Andy LaRocque's unmistakably sweet fret-work. And this is precisely where a majority of the imitators fall flat. Sure, it's fairly assholish to immediately stack a new band against the deep heritage of dudes like Dee, LaRocque, Shermann and Denner, but with pipes as distinctly King-ish as these, such names are virtually obligated to join the party.
That's not to say the Attic fellers fall totally flat in terms of musicianship, however. The fare here is simply… simpler, and generally stripped free of the sorts of dramatic embellishments those with an ear for King & crew have grown accustomed to hearing, particularly in terms of ultra dynamic lead-play. But there's also a good bit of good happening here. The one-two punch of "Join the Coven" and "Edlyn" is especially effective - the prior being the most infectious tune of the crop, and "Edlyn" because it does a great job of maximizing the dark, smokey & 'nefarious' atmosphere by slowing things down and mixing in some nice mellow flourishes. Similarly, "Satan's Bride" and "Evil Inheritance" close the album on a very strong note, with appropriate nods to ye olde familiar 'sinister cackling,' additional acoustic embellishment, and a termination that's satisfyingly speedy.
These guys also deserve a tip of the hat for not simply regurgitating their self-released 2012 EP with a few added tunes in order to come up with a proper debut full-length. Outside of a shared church-y intro, The Invocation hammers out six new tunes to accompany the three that have already seen the light of day prior to this album - good news for those who've been chomping at the bit for new material.
It likely goes without saying that this isn't the sort of release that's targeted towards metal fans interested in material that pushes into fresh, uncharted territory. The Invocation is straight-ahead Mercyful Fate/King Diamond veneration, pure and simple, and during an age when some of us might be left wondering just how much is left in the original master's tank, it's comforting to know that possibilities for direct descendants are out there who seem duly equipped to continue striking the demon bell. Attic is just that sort of band.