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KING DIAMOND - Abigail cover
4.31 | 61 ratings | 4 reviews
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Album · 1987

Filed under Heavy Metal


1. Funeral (1:30)
2. Arrival (5:26)
3. A Mansion In Darkness (4:34)
4. The Family Ghost (4:05)
5. The 7th Day Of July 1777 (4:50)
6. Omens (3:56)
7. The Possession (3:26)
8. Abigail (4:50)
9. Black Horsemen (7:39)

Total Time 40:20


- King Diamond / vocals
- Andy LaRocque / guitar
- Michael Denner / guitar
- Timi Hansen / bass guitar
- Mikkey Dee / drums

Guests musician:

- Roberto Falcao / keyboards

About this release

Release date: October 21st, 1987
Label: Roadrunner Records

Recorded and mixed at Sound Track Studio, Copenhagen, December - February 1986-1987.

Chart positions:
# 39 Sweden
# 123 USA

A music video was made for the song "The Family Ghost".

Though initially planned as a stand alone concept album, in 2002 King Diamond released Abigail II: The Revenge which takes up the story some 18 years later.

Reissued by Roadrunner Records on November 11th 1997 remastered on a gold disc and a new expanded booklet with the bonus tracks:
10. Shrine (04:23)
11. A Mansion in Darkness (Rough Mix) (04:35)
12. The Family Ghost (Rough Mix) (04:09)
13. The Possession (Rough Mix) (03:28)

Reissued by Roadrunner Records on September 8th 2003 as a part of Roadrunner's Two from the Vault series remastered along with Fatal Portrait on 2 CD's.

Reissued in 2005 for Roadrunner Records 25th anniversary with 4 bonus tracks and bonus DVD.

Miscellaneous staff:
- Bill Turjancik / Production assistant (1997 re-issue)
- Jeff Daniel / Producer (1997 re-issue)
- Torbjorn Jorgensen / Cover art
- Thomas Holm / Cover art
- Öle Ludgren / Cover art
- Jorgen Bak / Cover art
- Andy LaRocque / Additional guitar production
- Roberto Falcao / Engineering
- Michael Denner / Assistant producer
- Mikkey Dee / Assistant producer
- King Diamond / Producer
- Chris Gehringer / Remastering (1997 re-issue)

Thanks to Stooge, progshine, UMUR, diamondblack for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

King Diamond – the band named after the man – are a group which will always be synonymous with the leader’s very unique vocal style of high pitched falsetto singing. This will either be a factor of great enjoyment, or something one will have to learn to tolerate. I unfortunately am in the later category; King Diamond’s vocal style is not something I enjoy, but he definitely brings intense talent to the band in terms of songwriting, and his deeper vocals are actually quite good.

That there is the only “weakness” with this album, which most consider the band’s magnum opus. I will not spend too much time applauding the musicianship, despite it all being fantastic. Every instrument is audible, technical, and serve the songs individually and as a group; the sound is classic Mercyful Fate/King Diamond stuff, with a bit more melody, emotion, and progressive elements. That alone would be enough to solidify its place in the best of metal, but there’s much more to this album.

One of if not the first full metal concept albums that follows a concise story, Abigail is not only an instrumental masterpiece, but a literary one as well. The story is engaging and fits the music perfectly. As always King Diamond delve into the occult, with a ghost story of possession. However, what makes this story so effective is not only does it merge with the evil riffing of the band, but there is also a deep sense of tragedy to it, loss and vengeance as well, and these emotions are all captured musically and literately as well. For this reason, I applaud King Diamond as a fantastic band leader despite his vocals not agreeing with me, as he crafted one of the greatest concept albums of all time.
"Abigail" is the 2th full-length studio album by multi-national heavy metal act King Diamond. The album was released through Roadrunner Records in February 1987. It´s the successor to "Fatal Portrait" from 1986 and features the same lineup, who recorded the predecessor. "Fatal Portrait (1986)" featured a collection of individual tracks and some tracks which formed a concept story, but "Abigail" is a full blown conceptual piece. An album format King Diamond would subsequently employ on most releases.

The story of "Abigail" takes place in 1845 and revolves around the young couple of Miriam Natias and Jonathan La'Fey, who arrives at an old and dark mansion that La'Fey has inherited. Before entering the mansion they are warned by seven horsemen (who are later revealed to be the servants of Count La'Fey (the ancestor of Jonathan La'Fey)), that the mansion is cursed (although the warning is a bit more cryptic than that). The young couple do not heed the warning and proceed to move into the mansion. Already on their first night in their new home Jonathan La'Fey receives a visit from the ghost of Count La'Fey who tells him how he pushed his wife down the stairs on the 7th Day of July 1777, where she broke her neck and died, after he found out she was carrying a bastard child. Count La'Fey then proceded to cremate his wife and mummify the the stillborn child and finally lay the baby mummy to rest in a sarcophagus in the family crypt. He named the stillborn child "Abigail". Count La'Fey warns Jonathan that the spirit of "Abigail" now has taken place inside Miriam and that if he wants to prevent "The rebirth of evil itself", he has to push Miriam down the stairs to die.

While Jonathan is initially horrified by the suggestion, and refuse to do as the Count says, he changes his mind after several supernatural omens occur and "Abigail" finally reveals to Jonathan that she is in control of Miriam. Jonathan then plans to push Miriam down the stairs to the family crypt, but ends up being pushed down the stairs himself. Miriam then gives birth to "Abigail" and dies shortly after seing "Abigail´s" yellow eyes. The story ends with the seven horsemen arriving to see "Abigail" eating something unspeakably horrifying (which I assume is Miriam´s dead body), and then taking "Abigail" to a chapel in the forest where they drive seven silver spikes through her body and bury her, to prevent further ressurrections in the future...

...and that´s actually where the album opens as the intro track "Funeral" (which features thunderstorm sound effects and classical inspired synths) features a narrator telling how the spikes are driven into "Abigail´s" body in an eerie multi-layered demonic voice. "Arrival" is the first "regular" track on the album and establishes the melodic yet relatively heard edged heavy metal style of the material on the album. King Diamond´s piercing high pitched vocals, multi-layered backing vocals and choirs, several melodic guitar solos/themes per track (and not necessarily placed where you´d expect them to be placed), hard edged heavy metal riffing (which occasionally touches thrash metal territory), and an organic and tight playing rhythm section, who drive the music forward in a hard rocking powerful fashion. Keyboards are also a part of the soundscape, but they predominantly have a supporting role or are there for effect rather than playing lead parts.

Each and every song on the 9 track, 40:20 minutes long album is a highlight and it´s therefore a bit hard to mention standout tracks. The tracklist is incredibly well constructed and the dark and eerie horror story is supported well by the dynamics of the music. If I have to mention a few tracks which I think stand out a bit anyway (and this is purely a subjective observation) it would be "A Mansion In Darkness" (the melodic lead theme part which occur a couple of times during the track is incredible), "The Family Ghost" (the rhythm work, the guitar riffs, and vocal parts and the lyrics are just killer on this track), the title track (King Diamond surpasses himself in singing high pitched vocals on this track), and the closing mini epic "Black Horsemen" (just absolutely stunning featuring beautiful acoustic guitar parts and great harmony work). The rather complex "Arrival" deserves a mention too and "The 7th Day Of July 1777" is also quite the hook laden track. "Omens" and "The Possession" are great tracks too, but maybe just slightly less spectacular than the remaining material.

"Abigail" features a raw, detailed, and organic sounding production, which suits the music perfectly, and upon conclusion it´s a high quality release through and through. The musicianship is on a high level on all posts, the songwriting is adventurous, original, and exciting, the concept works and you get the right eerie horror effect from listening to the album, and when the whole thing is packed in a well sounding production too, it´s hard to find anything bad to say about the album. In fact I dare say it´s the band´s masterpiece, although subsequent albums would also be of high quality. There´s just something truly magical about "Abigail", which they have never been able to top. A 5 star (100%) rating is fully deserved.
King Diamond's entire career had been building up to him putting out a fully-fledged concept album - from the oblique references to Melissa running through the first two Mercyful Fate albums to the connected songs on Fatal Portrait - and when he finally took the plunge on Abigail he didn't disappoint in the slightest. The range of dramatic situations in the story allows the theatrical side of his ever-versatile vocal performance free reign, whilst his backing band provides the story with a suitably flashy, thrashy musical underpinning. Fans of the more complex varieties of traditional heavy metal will find plenty to love in the haunted mansion the album transports the listener to!

Members reviews

Following a good but disjointed and muddled debut that only flirted with the concept format, Abigal remedies this in focusing on the dramatic gothic horror that the band had only touched on. This turned out to be a massive success, establishing all the hallmarks of King's post-Mercyful Fate style. Horror story concept, blistering reems of lead guitar trade-offs, light progressive elements, and the full use of King's incredible range to portray multiple characters all came to the fore. They had more or less followed the traditional metal rulebook but scrawled all over it with their own unique anotations.

I won't detail the plot here (as it's one that may give too much away in explaining it clearly) but it's one of the more creative ones King (the man himself) has come up with. The story is presented well in songs that follow each other with astonishing fluidity and enough variety to not get bogged down in the pitfall of staleness that many lesser metal bands fail to avoid. It's suprisingly catchy and every song has excitingly edgy riffs, sharp twists and turns in structure to balance the cheese factor (yes, it's high!) and horror cliché which will make this of interest to prog metal fans as well as more traditionally minded metalheads. "Arrival", "A Mansion in Darkness", "The Family Ghost", and "Black Horsemen" are my personal highlights.

By now the band was done warming up, and although I'd say the next album is the best overall, Abigail still has several unrivalled songs and really started the ball rolling for an incredible solo career, so I have to give it its 5 stars!

Ratings only

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