Abigail is my favorite King Diamond record. To me, there are three essential King Diamond records: Abigail, Them, and Conspiracy. These three records comprise some of the best metal recorded in the late 80s. It’s hard to put King Diamond, the band, in a category. This is metal for sure, but may not appeal to die-hard thrash/death/speed metal fans who shy away from melody and harmonies. That’s not to say that this goes as far as Helloween or other such melodic-metal bands, but it’s more towards that ballpark.King Diamond, and these three records, work so well because of a perfect combination of great songwriting; inspired and extremely skillful playing; tight, well-rehearsed arrangements; and the chemistry and personality of the players. Mikkey Dee is one of the great unsung metal drummers. Andy LaRoque’s hooks and flourishes are always a joy. Earlier and later King Diamond records suffer from the lack of at least one of these qualities, or from the lack of some of the personnel. Mikkey Dee, especially, is sorely missed in the post-Conspiracy era. The songwriting on the later records is lacking the great hooks of the Abigail/Them/Conspiracy triumverate (but, after 1990, songwriting for most metal bands changed in a way I did not like). Also, King’s story conceptions on these three records have always seemed to me to be more inspired.The bottom line is that there are plenty of people who are never going to like Kind Diamond. Either they’re simply not into this kind of metal, or they can never get used to King’s singing style. For my money, though, these three records are important, inspired, and a must-have.
Vinyl LP reissue of the 1987 album from the former vocalist for Mercyful Fate featuring three bonus tracks.
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People just don’t realize how good they have it. In the late 1980s, when this album came out, metal and hair bands ruled the roost.
The thinning out came in the 1990s, and the wheat was separated from the chaff. Forgetable bands such as Nelson, Warrant and Poison fell by the wayside. Meanwhile, people started realizing the unheralded genius of Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Ronnie James Dio.
And, KING DIAMOND, King of Metal. God of Falsetto Rock!
Not Robert Plant, Geddy Lee, Klaus Meine, or even Dio could touch his hemi-demi-semi-quavers.
If you really want a full measure of the impact of this album, put it on your CD player, then listen to it while taking a shower (make sure it’s a tiled bathroom, for the proper vibrato effect).
Then, just try singing along to it, matching King note for note.
It took a little doing, but I did it!
Unfortunately, my wife walked in on me one morning during my singing ritual to “Abigail.” The next week, her lawyer served me with her petition for divorce on the ground of irreconcilable sexual differences.
To this very day, I still wonder why.
Growing up I listened to such metal-lite bands as Def Leppard and Warrant. I never really took an interest in darker sounding metal. My first exposure to darker metal was seeing album covers of old Black Sabbath and Ozzy Osbourne in a record store. They used to send chills down my spine and developed a kind of fear of listening to that kind of music (hey, I was a preteen at the time). Even Iron Maiden would give me the shivers until a guitar instructor played Powerslave for me when I was a Jr. in high school. Over the years (I am now in my late 20’s) heavy metal has become my music of choice. The internet has brought the ability to explore different bands that I have never heard before and expand my tastes. I’ve never and will never get into death metal or any type of true thrash. A singer who actually sings is a must. I also don’t really care for doom-type lyrics.One band/singer that has always been an enigma to me has been King Diamond. Just the look of the guy kept me away from his music and he really stayed out of my conscience all these years. Well, thanks to the convenience of the internet, I had the opportunity to read a synopsis of Abigail and also read an interview where King Diamond explains his spiritual beliefs. Although I think he is a lot mixed up about the eternal picture, I got to see the man behind the makeup and realized that hey he really isn’t any better or worse than any other singer I listen to. In fact, even as a Christian I can say that some of King Diamond’s beliefs are closer to how the Bible explains the truth than what even so-called Christians believe. Anyway, it seems like he plays a character like Alice Cooper.Well the story of Abigail intrigued me (I am a fan of classic horror movies), no mention or glorification of Satan present, so I thought I finally reached a point where I would overcome this “fear” of King Diamond and buy a King Diamond CD. The hair on my arms was actually standing on end as the The Funeral started and the intro to The Arrival began. The anticipation of what King Diamond’s voice would sound like was unnerving. Would it be a monumental $17 mistake? Would it make me want to go out on a killing spree and perform a black mass? The answer resoundingly to both of these questions is NO. Straight up, King’s voice is awesome. Everybody who puts Midnight (ex-Crimson Glory) up on a pedastal better make a little room for this guy. He puts on a vocal onslaught unmatched by anybody but the aforemention Midnight. The music is dark as expected but melodic.As an example of how much I like this CD…I bought Abigail along with CD’s by Nocturnal Rites, Brainstorm, Heavenly, and Metalium right before an hour drive home from work. I had it all figured out, 12 minutes per CD. Well, I couldn’t eject Abigail out of my CD player. I wanted to hear every song. King Diamond went from being a monster in my mind to being a storyteller and great singer (Midnight meets H.P. Lovecraft).If you take King Diamond for what he really is, than you won’t miss out on some great music. I’m going to the CD store today to buy “Them.”
I own the remastered version of this album. I must say that I really love it, but the too much evident influences from Iron Maiden and Judas Priest make me hesitate in giving five stars to it. Also, it sounds less progressive and mature than the next three releases of the band. For these reasons I give four stars (and a half!) to “Abigail”, in spite of its high quality and its historical importance.As a concept album, the storyline is superb. This is a horror tale, and has nothing to do with satanic cults and all that commercialist and childish stuff surrounding KD since Mercyful Fate. The musicianship is also impeccable. Vocals are as good as usual, delivering passion, anger and fear; while keeping a majestic and mysterious style in every track. Drums and bass, added to vocals, probably form the most attractive playing ensemble of this album. However, guitars don’t sound so elaborated here, although show by times where they would go one year later. I’d say that the guitar work here is very good, but doesn’t peak because of some abuse of metal clichés.On a more positive way: in the remastered version of “Abigail” you’ll find a bonus song titled “Shrine”. This song is bombastic and explosive, but it wasn’t included in the original LP due to some divergence from the overall concept. I recommend this tune to any metal fan. The opening riff is an instant classic, and its melody is one of KD’s greatest.You’ll also find in the remastered CD three more bonus tracks that are different versions (raw mixes) of some songs that you already know. These are mixes without keyboards, containing some variations from the definitive songs. I find them very interesting. Of all of them, please listen carefully to “The Family Ghost” raw mix. Its harmonies and choirs are really great! To finalize my comments: this is a very good job and a milestone in KD’s career. Don’t miss it, even if I find “Them”, “Conspiracy” and “The Eye” more sophisticated and mature. “Abigail” is a masterpiece, and you must pay attention to it if you are an actual metal fan!
First off, this is not Satanic Metal….I just wanted to get that straight.
What this is, is nothing short of genius. I love King Diamond, and Abigail was the first King I ever picked up.
From the very first listen, I was addicted for life. This story is bone-chilling, and the production is flawless. This release opened up all kinds of new doors in the world of Heavy Metal.
Some may consider this Kings 2nd or even his 3rd best recording, putting Mercyful Fates’ “Mellissa” or “Don’t Break The Oath” above it, and that’s alright. I love both of those releases as well….
Nobody does it quite like King, and even today, he’s still going strong. His latest release “House Of God” is excellent as well.
Many people may be turned-off by his make-up, or his scary stories, but let me tell you something, after listening to this, none of that will matter anymore. You will be so impressed with the pure talent these guys hold, that you’ll beat yourself for not buying this earlier…..TRUST ME.
I’ve been a Metalhead since 1980, and Iron Maiden are my favorite Heavy Metal band. Not since Maidens “Piece Of Mind” has there been a release that has effected me as much as this did. I put “Abigail”, “Mellissa”, and “D.B.T.O.” in the top 10 Heavy Metal recordings of all-time!!!
Even after “Abigail”, King has stayed true to his nature, and in these days, that’s very rare. I hope you enjoy every second of Abigail, I know I do…..every single time I hear it.
If you like this, and I’m sure you will, check out all of the other CD’s I mentioned above…..They are all considered monumental releases in the history of Heavy Metal…