King Diamond’s Abigail (1987): A perfectly crafted and conceptually holistic heavy metal masterpiece

If you like heavy metal, you know about Danish heavy metal legend King Diamond and his horror concept albums. Many of my metalhead-friends from back in the days were hooked on his Roadrunner releases — the first five albums — but those masterpieces somehow never appealed to me. Until now.

It took me almost three decades to listen to and appreciate one of the most creative and enticing heavy metal horror concept albums ever written: King Diamond’s Abigail (1987).

Justin Taslak depicts the plot on sputnikmusic.com:
“The plot behind Abigail is based around the ever so popular theme of “couple inherits/buys new house, mysterious person(s) tell couple not to occupy house due to its haunted state, and couple does not listen and stubbornly settles down in house”. That aside, it’s a cohesive concept, which is praiseworthy to say the least. Here, Miriam Natias and Jonathan La’Fey are said couple, and upon moving into the mansion, they are promptly visited by Jonathan’s deceased ancestor, Count La’Fey. He urges Jonathan to hastily murder his wife, for the evil spirit of Abigail La’Fey will soon take the form of a fetus inside his wife. Abigail, who was originally born and died on July 7th, 1777, is not meant to live, and the birth must be prevented at all costs.”

After having listened to this concept album at least a handful of times in the past 48 hours, not skipping one second of it, I can state that Abigail gets even better with every new listen. I keep discovering new details and get pulled into the story more and more. Furthermore, there is not one song that sticks out or falls short on this 40-minute heavy metal horror opera. Sure, some people find the creative way King Diamond uses his voice something to get used to. Others, like me, find it phenomenal. In addition, the impeccable balance of beautifully heartbreaking melodies and harmonically dissonant guitar riffs provide the heavy metal listener with a constant exhilarating musical experience.

Abigail is a perfectly crafted and conceptually holistic heavy metal masterpiece. The story is thrilling and the music offers the ultimate soundtrack embracing all the scary and emotional moments depicted by the written words. I don’t know how come this album didn’t appeal to me decades ago, but I’m ecstatic to finally have discovered it. Next stop, Abigail II: The Revenge.

Sebastiano Mereu

YouTuber + host of the #FHTZ online music show with co-producer @simonkurt + marketing & digital content producer + university lecturer