I’ll begin with a brief rundown of where I stand. I share the common opinion that ‘Abigail,’ ‘Them,’ and ‘Conspiracy’ are the best. I think the healthy runnerups were ‘Spiders’ Lullabye’ and ‘The Graveyard.’ For those of you who gave this record low ratings, I’m guessing you were expecting the same magic of ‘Abigail.’ I’ll go so far as to say the 1st ‘Abigail’ was probably one of the closest things Mr. Diamond did to a perfect record. (Where story and music are concerned) We have to remember though that Mr. Diamond DID NOT originally plan to make this record. (Else it would have been made a lot sooner after the first ‘Abigail.’) Rather, he did it because so many of his fans wanted it. So, being that Mr. Diamond did it mostly in response to us, we do owe the record a chance. All of that said, onto the subject at hand. Andy La Rocque and Mike Wead may not get the attention that Jim Hendrix, Steve Vai, or Eddie Van Halen get. In my opinion, this is proof that being popular doesn’t mean you’re better than someone who is more obscure. The return of Hal Patino on bass is most welcome. While one will probably notice a musical difference between this new record and the original ‘Abigail,’ there is still a notable effort to hold on to the fine qualities of the 80s. (A trait sadly given up by Metallica and others.) King’s vocals are top notch as almost always. If his impact of horror was slipping on ‘Voodoo,’ it more than recovered with this album. Without ruining the story, I will say ‘Spare This Life’ is a great opening with King’s famous growls; the music and sound effects on ‘Storm’ are well done; the wording on ‘Mansion In Sorrow’ is captivating; ‘Slippery Stairs’ has some nice riffs; ‘Broken Glass’ could have been written by Edgar Allen Poe; (The keyboards are the perfect touch.) If I say much more, I will probably ruin the story, and I’d rather not do that to you. But it will suffice to say that in the spirit of King Diamond, revenge DOES NOT LEAD to a happy ending. (I think Hollywood still needs to figure this out, but we won’t go there.) I know some people complained about ‘recycled riffs,’ but let’s be fair. No matter how good a writer is, there will come a point in his career where it’s either bring back some old ideas or risk having nothing at all. (Look at how the animated Batman series brought back some ideas from the 60s Adam West series.) All in all, if you are expecting the same magic of the 1st ‘Abigail,’ then you are probably setting yourself up for a disappointment. IF, on the other hand, you are willing to accept that King Diamond made this record in response to our request for it, that King’s vocals are in tip top shape, that Andy La Rocque and Mike Wead may have been in better shape, but are still in great shape, that the great bass work of Hal Patino is back, and that King Diamond NEVER, REPEAT NEVER abandoned his style when Metallica and several others DID, then BY ALL MEANS, pick this record up. King Diamond may not get the applause that Metallica, Jim Hendrix, Britney Spears, Eddie Van Halen, and several others get. BUT, ask yourself: ‘Who consistently made record after record that DID NOT drop in quality?’ ‘Who held onto his style while others looked for quick hits?’ ‘Who stayed true to himself and never sold out?’ If your answer is King Diamond, then get this record.