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4.4 out of 5 stars45
4.4 out of 5 stars
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Showing 1-7 of 7 reviews(4 star).Show all reviews
on March 25, 2002
I first heard of King Diamond when I saw his video for "The Family Ghost" on a Beavis & Butthead Halloween special, and without being able to hear the song, I felt that the two idiots were justified in their merciless panning of the king of schlock horror metal. Finally a few years later, I saw the video in full, and I was not sure if I should've laughed or been amazed. The music was everything I've come to love about Iron Maiden and any symphonic metal band out there, and yet there was this cheesy image of a corpse-painted, moustached, leath-clad demon singing in a falsetto voice that sent shivers down my spine. Needless to say, I became a fan immediately and went out and bought this album.
"Abigail" is the ultimate example of how much fun a good campy horror story can be. A concept album, "Abigail" follows a dark and dismal path towards the resurrection of a demented child-demon. The lyrics are interesting in that from song to song, they follow a linear path, just like a book or extended poem. The imagery presented can actually be pretty gruesome, if one can stop laughing at the shrieking falsetto. Ah, King Diamond's falsetto, the highest-pitched voice in metal next to Bruce Dickinson and Rob Halford (Dani Filth keeps trying to reach King's level). And the music...the twin-guitar attacks are enough to contend with all the Maidens or Priests out there. I'd love to see the guitarists from all three bands duke it out on stage. The arrangements are complex, lending to the progressive, classical style that was becoming popular in the '80's.
To think, this and Mercyful Fate are where what we've come to know and love as black metal all started...with a screeching high-pitched man in paint that almost got him sued by Gene Simmons, and the campy horror show he still continues to give today. I haven't yet heard the sequel, "Abigail II: The Revenge," me, if you're a fan of the ridiculous, this album is for you.
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on July 16, 2001
I own the remastered version of this album. I must say that I really love it, but the too much evident influences from Iron Maiden and Judas Priest make me hesitate in giving five stars to it. Also, it sounds less progressive and mature than the next three releases of the band. For these reasons I give four stars (and a half!) to "Abigail", in spite of its high quality and its historical importance.
As a concept album, the storyline is superb. This is a horror tale, and has nothing to do with satanic cults and all that commercialist and childish stuff surrounding KD since Mercyful Fate. The musicianship is also impeccable. Vocals are as good as usual, delivering passion, anger and fear; while keeping a majestic and mysterious style in every track. Drums and bass, added to vocals, probably form the most attractive playing ensemble of this album. However, guitars don't sound so elaborated here, although show by times where they would go one year later. I'd say that the guitar work here is very good, but doesn't peak because of some abuse of metal clichés.
On a more positive way: in the remastered version of "Abigail" you'll find a bonus song titled "Shrine". This song is bombastic and explosive, but it wasn't included in the original LP due to some divergence from the overall concept. I recommend this tune to any metal fan. The opening riff is an instant classic, and its melody is one of KD's greatest.
You'll also find in the remastered CD three more bonus tracks that are different versions (raw mixes) of some songs that you already know. These are mixes without keyboards, containing some variations from the definitive songs. I find them very interesting. Of all of them, please listen carefully to "The Family Ghost" raw mix. Its harmonies and choirs are really great!
To finalize my comments: this is a very good job and a milestone in KD's career. Don't miss it, even if I find "Them", "Conspiracy" and "The Eye" more sophisticated and mature. "Abigail" is a masterpiece, and you must pay attention to it if you are an actual metal fan!
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on September 12, 2000
Growing up I listened to such metal-lite bands as Def Leppard and Warrant. I never really took an interest in darker sounding metal. My first exposure to darker metal was seeing album covers of old Black Sabbath and Ozzy Osbourne in a record store. They used to send chills down my spine and developed a kind of fear of listening to that kind of music (hey, I was a preteen at the time). Even Iron Maiden would give me the shivers until a guitar instructor played Powerslave for me when I was a Jr. in high school. Over the years (I am now in my late 20's) heavy metal has become my music of choice. The internet has brought the ability to explore different bands that I have never heard before and expand my tastes. I've never and will never get into death metal or any type of true thrash. A singer who actually sings is a must. I also don't really care for doom-type lyrics.
One band/singer that has always been an enigma to me has been King Diamond. Just the look of the guy kept me away from his music and he really stayed out of my conscience all these years. Well, thanks to the convenience of the internet, I had the opportunity to read a synopsis of Abigail and also read an interview where King Diamond explains his spiritual beliefs. Although I think he is a lot mixed up about the eternal picture, I got to see the man behind the makeup and realized that hey he really isn't any better or worse than any other singer I listen to. In fact, even as a Christian I can say that some of King Diamond's beliefs are closer to how the Bible explains the truth than what even so-called Christians believe. Anyway, it seems like he plays a character like Alice Cooper.
Well the story of Abigail intrigued me (I am a fan of classic horror movies), no mention or glorification of Satan present, so I thought I finally reached a point where I would overcome this "fear" of King Diamond and buy a King Diamond CD. The hair on my arms was actually standing on end as the The Funeral started and the intro to The Arrival began. The anticipation of what King Diamond's voice would sound like was unnerving. Would it be a monumental $17 mistake? Would it make me want to go out on a killing spree and perform a black mass? The answer resoundingly to both of these questions is NO. Straight up, King's voice is awesome. Everybody who puts Midnight (ex-Crimson Glory) up on a pedastal better make a little room for this guy. He puts on a vocal onslaught unmatched by anybody but the aforemention Midnight. The music is dark as expected but melodic.
As an example of how much I like this CD...I bought Abigail along with CD's by Nocturnal Rites, Brainstorm, Heavenly, and Metalium right before an hour drive home from work. I had it all figured out, 12 minutes per CD. Well, I couldn't eject Abigail out of my CD player. I wanted to hear every song. King Diamond went from being a monster in my mind to being a storyteller and great singer (Midnight meets H.P. Lovecraft).
If you take King Diamond for what he really is, than you won't miss out on some great music. I'm going to the CD store today to buy "Them."
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on August 1, 2002
This is a great disc, a classic in the world of prog. metal/gothic, but it's not the best King Diamond offering.
No.......that title goes to Conspiracy.
However, this disc is a close second. The guitars are great, the story is cool, and the compositions are solid. The only drawbacks are production (not as bombastic as later KD discs) and the overall length. Every time I listen to this disc I want more!
Thankfully, Abigail II is on the scene. A good follow up to this classic disc.
My favorite tracks: A Mansion In Darkness, The Family Ghost, and The Possession.
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on May 29, 2002
My title should sum it all up. I am not into death metal, but when I heard the album back in 1988, it stuck with me. I picked up the re-release and its still as awesome as it was 14 yrs. ago.
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on October 31, 2003
A great album with great guitarwork and excelent singing,Bye it or die!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 27, 2004
King's masterpiece.
The coolest record by one of the coolest people in the history of rock n' roll. Edgar Allan Poe eat your heart out. Bruce Dickinson and Rob Halford eat your hearts out. Every one, eat your heart out, because King Diamond says so!
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