Light the candles in the study as we open the arcane tomes in celebration of King Diamond’s sophomore album as a solo artist with the seminal work “Abigail”. An album that was released thirty years ago on this very day. It was the King’s second outing as I’ve noted but his first full length concept recording. He touched upon his sinister storytelling with “Fatal Portrait” on a few numbers but with “Abigail” a terrible tale was woven across each and every track. You can read more about the whole premise and the finer details down on the official Wikipedia entry as I always include them here.
At the time of the original release I must admit that I was not listening to much that King Diamond was dishing out. I was a very latecomer to Mercyful Fate and while some of their stuff intrigued me back then, I always felt it was a bit much for me and I leaned more towards the building Power Metal genre. It wouldn’t be until King’s “Them” album that I immersed myself more into his work. As I listened to the release once more for its anniversary, it’s amazing to find that it still holds up really well and still sends chills down your spine as the tale plays out. The whole album was written by King but guitarists Andy LaRoque and Michael Denner tossed their talents into a couple of tracks as well. The band was rounded out by bassist Timi Hansen and drummer Mikkey Dee. Andy and Dee would quickly become a lot of aspiring musicians favorites based on their his skillful playing. The King Diamond band was a quick lock for fans of the Mercyful Fate group based on that bands bassist Hansen and guitarist Denner being in the lineup with the King. Let’s take a look at the original track listing and then toss together our favorites.
3. A Mansion In Darkness
4. The Family Ghost
5. The 7th Day Of July 1777
7. The Possession
9. Black Horsemen
So as I mentioned, I was not really listening to King at the time of the album’s release but I would hear several tracks thanks to friends who were much more enthusiastic about him at the time. Thanks to these listening sessions I found “A Mansion In Darkness”, “The Family Ghost” and of course the title track to be the most appealing to me and this is still the case for me today. Good creepy stuff for sure and rather solid Heavy Metal if I didn’t already say that somewhere. So deep is the level of musical storytelling that I am surprised that it was never turned into a feature Horror or Suspense film. In my humble opinion, King Diamond is the Metal version of author Stephen King and so many of his concept albums would make for some terrifying cinema. Do you agree with me on this and also what were your most favored tracks from the release?
Most recently, the King has been VERY active on the live concert scene and this came after several years of absence based on some medical concerns. He returned to the stage with a triumph that is not generally seen and his shows were sold out sometimes months in advance. During his last few tours he focused on the “Abigail” album where it was performed from front to back with a massive mansion stage setup and featured assorted props and actors as it was brought to life. It was a wonder to behold and very impressive and detailed. This was recorded and is expected to be released soon on Metal Blade Records label. King Diamond has been associated with them since “The Spiders Lullabye” album. Now it’s time for me to blow out the candles and check the locks on the windows and doors. Congratulations to King Diamond on this Metal Music Milestone. Add your own thoughts about this release down in the comments section below. Until next time.
King Diamond’s video for “The Family Ghost” could often be seen during MTV’s “Headbanger’s Ball” and you can enjoy it down below.