Album Review: King Diamond’s “Abigail”, Haunting Masterpiece

King Diamond’s second album, Abigail, released in 1987 and served as their first concept album. It featured guitarist Michael Denner and bassist Timi Hansen, and was re-released in 1997 with extra tracks, followed by a 25th anniversary version in 2005. This is the duo’s final album together.

In the novel Abigail, Jonathan La’Fey and Miriam Natias live into an ancient home in 1845. Seven riders tell them not to go, yet they nevertheless advance. Jonathan encounters the Family Ghost, Count de La’Fey, who shows him a casket carrying Abigail, a stillborn child. The ghost tells him that Miriam is carrying Abigail’s spirit, and that the child will shortly be birthed. The Count urges that Jonathan murder Miriam to prevent her rebirth.

The narrator then follows the story of the Count and his wife, who were adulterous and had an illegitimate child. The Count incinerated the Countess’ body and mummified the stillborn foetus, Abigail, and buried it in a sarcophagus.

King Diamond – Abigail

In 1845, Jonathan and Miriam are plagued by omens such as the church bell ringing, flowers wilting, and unsavoury odours permeating the house. The following day, Jonathan finds an empty cot, and Miriam is visibly pregnant with a swiftly growing foetus. Jonathan understands the spirit of the family was speaking the truth.

Jonathan accuses Abigail of possessing Miriam, and she confesses it. Fearful of the situation, Jonathan contemplates exorcising Miriam, but Miriam pushes him to toss her down the steps and kill her. While feigning agreement, Jonathan suggests to Abigail that she seek rebirth in the family tomb. But Miriam sends Jonathan flying down the stairs, giving birth to Abigail.

Exploring the Legacy of Heavy Metal Icon – King Diamond

Miriam dies soon afterward, and her spirit may be heard screaming on the stairs in July. Seven horsemen discover Abigail in the sarcophagus, eating something terrible, implying she is consuming her former body. They are appalled and take her away to bury her in a clandestine chapel in the wilderness, with seven silver spikes driven into her body to prevent subsequent resurrection. The burial serves as the album’s opening track.

AllMusic hailed Abigail as King Diamond’s solo masterwork and one of heavy metal’s finest concept albums. Canadian journalist Martin Popoff appreciated the album’s metallic quality while criticising its spooky packaging and lyrics. Guitarist Andy LaRocque commended the CD for reflecting the band’s positive vibe at the time.

Capcom referenced the album in 1989’s Final Fight by named the male boss of the fifth level Abigail, whose visage resembled King Diamond’s. The game also refers to Diamond’s father as the most courageous and honourable guy he has ever met. The video for “The Family Ghost” appeared in the Beavis and Butthead episode “Bungholio: Lord of the Harvest”.

Track listing

  1. “Funeral”
  2. “Arrival”
  3. “A Mansion in Darkness”
  4. “The Family Ghost”
  5. “The 7th Day of July 1777”
  6. “Omens”
  7. “The Possession”
  8. “Abigail”
  9. “Black Horsemen”
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