Sunday, March 16, 2014

King Diamond - Abigail

So after the debut, Fatal Portrait, which was nothing less than perfect in it's execution, King Diamond is faced with the task of making another album that is just as good if not better. Released in October, 1986 we have the follow up, Abigail. Abigail was the first in a long line of concept albums that King came to be known for. This one is an eerie tale about the spirit of Abigail La Vey who was still born 68 years prior to the events of the album. The spirit of the still born child takes over the body of Miriam Natias who happens to be the wife of Jonathan La Vey, a descendant of the man who killed Abigail's pregnant mother thereby killing her. So not only is King creating a concept here, but a rather elaborate one at that. But what is more important is the music. King took what he accomplished on Fatal Portrait and expanded on it. How can you perfect perfection?

The album begins with a brief but eerie intro, "Funeral", with some keys and some spookie sounding spoken words. The intro goes right into "Arrival" and from the start of the song you can tell that you are in for something truly groundbreaking and special. The production is much better than the debut with the guitars further up front in the mix and the keys mixed just right to set the atmosphere. Where King mostly used his falsetto on Fatal Portrait, he begins to use his voice here to create the characters. He has not abandoned his falsetto but there is more of a balance in his voice on Abigail. The song is riff laden and complex with tempo changes and many facets to it. Once again, we have the same line-up as the debut so the guitar work is outstanding.

The remainder of the album is more of the same, absolute genius. This is the album that set the bar for all heavy metal albums to follow. Songs like "A Mansion in Darkness", "The 7th Day of July 1777", and "The Possession" being the true precursor to what would be considered to be power metal today. These songs are speedy and powerful complex songs with fast riffing and huge melodies. Of course the soloing is just godly with Andy La Rocque and Michael Denner showing their prowess once again. Of course, songs like these also rely heavily on the rhythm section and Mikkey Dee and his ridiculously good drumming and Timi Hansen on the bass get the job done perfectly. Then you have straight up metal riff fests like "The Family Ghost". "Omens", and "Abigail" that just grab you by the throat and do not let you go. And if you think this album is perfect at this point, the best is yet to come.

The album closer is without a doubt the best heavy metal song in existence, "The Black Horsemen". This song is so epic I don't even know where to begin to give a proper description. It begins with a beautiful acoustic passage and after about a minute some eerie sounding voices come in along with King's beautiful falsettos harmonized. Then come the riffs and this huge sound with guitars, acoustic guitars and symphonic keys just creating music as such I've never heard before. This is classical music, just plugged in. It's heavy, beautiful, complex and melodic all at once. As I said, any heavy metal song made after this has this song as it's standard. Them some heavy shoes to fill!!

As the song says, "That's the end of another lullaby...." and by the time this album is done you find yourself in amazement as to what you just heard. I got to see King play these songs live when he was touring for this album and atmosphere and feeling were the same as if I was part of the album. Abigail is an album that comes along once in a lifetime. It will never be topped nor has there been an equal. If there is any album you must have in your lifetime, this is it.


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