Wednesday, December 16, 2015

King Diamond - 'The Family Ghost' from Abigail (1987)

One of my greatest regrets of this past year was not being able to see King Diamond recreate Abigail live. I have never seen King Diamond in concert which makes me feel sad. Nonetheless, I worship at the altar of Mercyful Fate especially, but listen actually to his solo albums more often for some reason. Maybe it is the evocative covers? Today in honor of The King, I listened to 'Abigail' full on whilst doing household things. Ideally, headphones in a comfortable chair in the middle of the night or at least evening, but as the sun is setting close to the Winter Solstice works pretty well too. More than any other concept album not by King Diamond, 'Abigail' feels like a short story or even a novel in how it is delivered in distinct chapters, each with its own voices and passages. Overlapping eras and personalities bleeding into each other or overlain as transparencies are strongly evoked by the shifts in register and direction each song takes, all of which serve their overall narrative without seeming belabored or awkwardly shoehorned into a pre-existing structure. The songs are the story, and the story is the songs. The stage show and video presentation for Abigail is highly visual and performance-based. An excellent example is 'The Family Ghost' video, presented here! What is rad is that 'The Family Ghost' video doesn't even try to catch you up on where you are in the larger 'Abigail' narrative, but instead is like if King Diamond were telling you a story, intermixed with footage of The King at court, with court entertainment all around him. If you are following the story, you can get what is happening from the words, otherwise, it is a super-80's video functioning as a 'single'. Additionally, it is rad to see King Diamond rocking out on his throne to his own band, who are amazing. There is nothing I like more in metal than consecutive guitar solos by different guitarists. Next we have a video of King Diamond getting his necro-necro-Alice Cooper on in 1987 for the OG Abigail tour. Note mic stand!!! And lastly, even though it is hard to imagine Joe Franklin listening to King Diamond's Abigail in a home setting, who knows? It is a pretty rad album! Here is a vintage King Diamond interview with the aforementioned Mr. Franklin during the Abigail promo tour. The King is resplendent in aviator shades, pentagram medallion, upside-down cross pin and bullet belt. He sits next to a 'rapping cop'! They all listen to 'The Arrival' which is my favorite song on Abigail. Hail To The King!!!

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