Friday, October 21, 2016

King Diamond - Abigail (1987)

While Fatal Portrait felt, in some ways, to be connected with Don't Break the Oath, the final traces of Mercyful Fate seem to have faded with that L.P. Released in October 1987, the iconic Abigail is often considered to be the definitive King Diamond record. Unlike the previous full-length, the band's second outing is a full concept album, and features minimal input from guitarist Michael Denner, while Andy LaRocque gets a few credits for the first time. For various reasons, Abigail feels like the real starting point for King Diamond's 'solo' career.

The music is very dynamic and goes well with the story being told. The songwriting is brilliant, as is the arrangement. Each idea flows into the next, flawlessly, as does each song, one after the other. Every riff, solo and vocal line is exactly as it should be. King's falsetto style was never again used to such perfection. For some, this can be a dealbreaker and you either love or hate his vocals. For me, his voice is best at a high volume, enough to shatter your skull. He does a great job adding drama to the proceedings, and many of the vocal lines are as powerful and memorable as the riffs themselves. Unlike later albums, such as the awful "Them", each composition is strong enough to stand on its own, rather than only working as part of a greater whole as is often the case with concept albums.  

The production is very clear and powerful, suiting this style of music. It definitely lacks the slight murkiness that was present on Fatal Portrait, sounding as if the band had quite a budget to work with. My personal preference tends to lean more toward the debut but, that said, there's really nothing wrong with Abigail. King Diamond's first two records definitely deserve to be considered classics and are highly recommended.