KING DIAMOND - "ABIGAIL II: THE REVENGE" (METAL BLADE)
After his solo debut "Fatal Portrait" (1986), King Diamond released the seminal "Abigail" in 1987. The finest King Diamond album ever, with excellent songwriting. In its ranks the band still had Mercyful Fate members Michael Denner and Timi Hansen. It was the first King Diamond album I heard, and as so often happens, that tends to be your favourite one. "...And Justice for All" is my favourite Metallica album, "Jugulator" my favourite Priest one, and I think Roger Moore is the True James Bond because I saw "For Your Eyes Only" first. Be that as it may, I think it's safe to assume that "Abigail" is the favourite album of many King Diamond fans.
Now, nearly 14 years later, King Diamond has revived the Monster Bitch and her compelling story for "Abigail II: The Revenge". In interviews King Diamond claims that this was the right time with the right band members...was he right?
My dad always scoffs at sequels. He seems to be blissfully unaware of "Indiana Jones III", "Terminator II", "The Revenge of the Killer Tomatoes" and other sequels that prove him false, however in general the tendency for sequels to not attain the quality of the original holds true. Is it the same for "Abigail II", I hear you ask?
For starters, I think it is highly unfair to rate any band's album by their debut efforts. Would any Metallica album be able to beat the eager intensity of "Kill 'Em All"? Have any Malmsteen albums beat the exquisite "Rising Force"? Has Annihilator ever re-attained the energy and songwriting displayed on "Alice in Hell"? Similarly, I am afraid, "Abigail II" just can't beat the original. However, let me tell you right off the cuff that "Abigail II" to me is the finest album since 1988's "Them". Gone are the extended theatrical passages, and once more the focus is on good songwriting. The album contains many a potential classic track, including "The Storm", "Miriam", "Slippery Stairs" and "The Crypt". "Little One" is enhanced by a young girl's anguished cries, and "Slippery Stairs" ends with the most authentic sobbing I've ever heard on album since Anthrax' "N.F.B. (Dallabnikufesin)".
All in all, King Diamond has delivered the goods and has approached the quality of the original a lot. It's definitely not a cheap musical rehash, and I suggest you check it out!
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Written January 2002
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