King Diamond

Roadrunner Records, 1987


REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


Here's a rhetorical question for you: Why hasn't anyone tried to make a movie based on any of King Diamond's albums? Cripes, they turn everything that Stephen King writes into a film - some very good, some so bad that if I were King I'd sue for defamation of character.

Let's face it, the Danish-born black-metal ubermensch has made a solo career spinning horror stories in his concept albums. Abigail, Diamond's 1987 release (and second solo effort) is said to be his masterpiece, and the story told within is much more coherent than his previous effort Fatal Portrait - but there's only so much of the story one can tell in 45 minutes of music, and I'd dare say there are still some holes in the plot I'd have liked Diamond to fill in.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Abigail tells the story of a baby conceived out of wedlock, only to be killed by Count De La Fey when he threw his cheating wife down the stairs. The spirit of Abigail continues to live on in the castle in which she died - until the property is claimed by heir Jonathan La Fey and his wife Miriam Nateas. Despite the sinister warning from the Black Horsemen (who once were servants to Count De La Fey) and the cryptic "18 will become 9" theme, the two claim the mansion... and then, the fun begins.

Abigail is, in and of itself, a solid horror story - that is, it could have been. This isn't Diamond's fault, since he's limited to the length of a record (CDs still being new technology in 1987) to tell his story, and the hope of a double-album probably out of the question. At times, it feels like the plot line is being rushed. such as Abigail's spirit suddenly taking over Miriam and causing an overnight pregnancy (thus the "18 is 9" theme). Especially near the end of Abigail, it seems like too many loose ends aren't tied up - though I'd argue that Abigail II: The Revenge didn't necessarily try to take care of these loose ends 15 years later.But, that's another review. (Also worth noting that you really should have the lyrics in front of you when you listen to Abigail, if merely to follow along with the story. At times, Diamond's trademark falsetto distorts what he's singing, and it is hard to keep track when flying solo.)

Musically, Abigail is quite sound, with a bit of a Gothic sound to the music thanks to Diamond's unique songwriting style. This is black metal not necessarily at its most evil, but certainly at a creative peak. You don't necessarily have to subscribe to Diamond's philosophy (though, to be fair, he's been less of a proponent of Satanism and more of a macabre storyteller in his solo career) to appreciate this album... even though Diamond is, admittedly, an acquired taste.

Abigail is a marked improvement for Diamond and crew, even if the story begs for more details to be told. Unfortunately for Diamond's fans, he would move on to a different tale with his next two discs, leaving the fate of Abigail De La Fey a mystery until 2002.

Rating: B

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© 2002 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Roadrunner Records, and is used for informational purposes only.