Today (Feb. 13), Pearl Jam announced their 12th album, Dark Matter, and debuted the bass heavy title track, which features a lyrics reference to dark and legendary heavy metal singer King Diamond.

As a grunge act with closer ties to Jethro Tull than nightmarish metal with piercing high-pitch singing, it’s a connection few would have ever imagined Pearl Jam making. And for it to come on the unhallowed 13th day of the month (the anniversary of Black Sabbath’s influential debut record, no less) makes it all the more fun, even if it is a bit trivial in the end.

Both artists are storytellers. Pearl Jam tend to confront real world issues that touch on the magnitude of the human experience, while King Diamond (solo artist and Mercyful Fate frontman) delves into occult and horror concepts with a fondness for Satanism.

The Lyrical Reference

In “Dark Matter,” Vedder appears to express a discontent that so many people have to suffer the consequences of the mistakes and actions of others. Two parts open with, “Denounce the demigods / King diamond to discard” and “Renounce the demagogues / King diamond to discard.”

Sure, it seems an awful lot like Vedder elected to omit the word “of” — king of diamonds — as this lines speaks to a deck of playing cards. It could be a matter of syllables and making the words fit without totally sacrificing meaning.

Or it could be a sneaky way to reference the theatrical metal singer.

Are Pearl Jam Metal Fans?

There are members of Pearl Jam who are outspoken metal fans. It’s a bit of a mixed bag as it depends on what style of metal is the topic of discussion.

In 2022, Vedder had some harsh words for hair metal, saying he “despised” the subgenre. It drew a response from Motley Crue‘s Nikki Sixx, who called Pearl Jam “one of the most boring bands in history.” Vedder fired back onstage, mocking Crue drummer Tommy Lee’s high-flying drum stunts.

Pearl Jam’s Stone Gossard later weighed in, confirming, “Jeff [Ament] and Mike [McCready] and I loved hard rock,” saying he bought the first Motley Crue record when the band self-released it.

Going back to 2017, bassist Ament wore a shirt at Pearl Jam’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction, which listed the names of noteworthy snubs. These acts, at the time, had all yet to be inducted into the Rock Hall as well.

Among those names are metal icons Slayer, Motley Crue, Iron Maiden, Motorhead, Judas Priest, Dio and… King Diamond!

READ MORE: The Most Played Song Live by 15 Big Grunge Bands

Pearl Jam, “Dark Matter” Lyrics (Incomplete)

See the King Diamond reference below and head further down the page to listen to in in the new Pearl Jam track.

Steal the lights from our eyes
Drain the blood from our hearts
In all of this dark matter

Take the breath from my chest
Break the thoughts in our mind
We’re losing time, dark matter

Denounce the demigods
King diamond to discard
Deploy the dialogue
Your word against the law

It’s strange these days
When everybody else pays
For someone else’s mistake
This blame takes shape
Still everybody else pays
For someone else’s mistake

Eroding away
Pulling apart
In all of this dark matter

I once heard it said
And stuck in my head
No one knows what happened next

Renounce the demagogues
King diamond to discard
Deploy the dialogue
Your word against the law

It’s strange these days
When everybody else pays
For someone else’s mistake
This blame takes shape
Still everybody else pays
For someone else’s mistake

No tolerance for
Intolerance or
No patience left for
Impatience no more
No love lost for
Lost loves
No sorrow for
The unaccountable

It’s strange these days
When everybody else pays
For someone else’s mistake
This blame takes shape
Still everybody else pays
For someone else’s mistake

Listen to the King Diamond Reference

The references occurs about halfway through the song at the 1:46 mark. You can click the video player below, which will take you right to that spot to hear it.

Pearl Jam, “Dark Matter”

Essential King Diamond Listening

Prior to embarking on a career under his stage name King Diamond, he fronted Danish metal group Mercyful Fate. Both bands are currently active with new material expected to arrive in the near future.

For anyone new to either act, you can hear a song from each below.

Recommended King Diamond albums: AbigailThemThe Eye.

Recommended Mercyful Fate albums: MelissaDon’t Break the Oath.

King Diamond, “A Mansion in Darkness”

Mercyful Fate, “Evil”

25 Great Name Checks in Rock + Metal Songs

Gallery Credit: Chad Childers





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