- We are gathered here tonight
To lay to rest Abigail La'Fey
Whom we now know was first born dead
On the 7th day of July 1777-"Funeral," the album's opening dialogue
Set in the summer of 1895, it centers on 27 year-old Jonathan La'Fey and his newlywed wife, 18 year-old Miriam Natias, who move into a dark and gloomy mansion that Jonathan has inherited. At the mansion's entrance, they meet seven ominous black horsemen who urge them to turn away from the mansion, or "18 will become 9." Jonathan ignores their strange warnings, and during the night he's visited by the ghost of his relative, Count de La'Fey. The Count shows Jonathan to a vault holding the sarcophagus of Abigail La'Fey, the stillborn illegitimate child of The Count's unfaithful wife, who both died 68 years previous. It's then revealed by The Count that Abigail's spirit has taken hold of Miriam's soul, and will soon be reborn unless he takes her life.
Sitting among the band's best-selling works, the album was the first of Roadrunner Records' to break into the Billboard 200. Abigail marks a step up in King Diamond's storytelling prowess, exploring cinematic, horror themes over vivid set pieces, all of it delivered by King's haunting, multi-layered falsetto vocals. More over was the twin guitar attack of Andy LaRocque and Michael Denner, trading off tasteful-yet-epic leads without compromising the flow of the story. The airtight rhythm section provided by Timi Hansen's driving basslines and Mikkey Dee's complex, speed metal drumming was also highly-praised, a massive step in a career that would eventually lead to his joining Motörhead. All in all, the album is a moody, theatrical, riff-laden tale that meticulously weaves its music into the arrangement of its story without sacrificing either.
- King Diamond: vocals
- Andy La Rocque: guitar
- Michael Denner: guitar
- Timi Hansen: bass
- Mikkey Dee: drums
- "Funeral" (1:30)
- "Arrival" (5:26)
- "A Mansion in Darkness" (4:34)
- "The Family Ghost" (4:06)
- "The 7th Day of July 1777" (4:50)
- "Omens" (3:56)
- "The Possession" (3:26)
- "Abigail" (4:50)
- "Black Horsemen" (7:40)
- Album Intro Track: "Funeral," overlapping with Opening Narration (sort of).
- Ancient Tomb: Abigail has been buried in a vault beneath the mansion for years and years (STILLBORN!)
- And I Must Scream: Miriam's screams can still be heard near the stairs, her soul unable to rest.
- Apocalypse Maiden:
"Abigail, nothing I can do / but give in, Abigail
- Jonathan is told early on by Count de La'Fey that Abigail's spirit is inside his wife, and he has to kill her to prevent "the second coming of the devil in disguise." He naturally refuses at first, but succumbs in the title track.
Follow me to the cryptAbigail, you ought to be reborn / where you died, Abigail""Jonothan, I agree... Yes I do"
- Arc Number:
- 7 mostly, but the phrase "18 is 9" from "Arrival" is important in "The Possession" as well.
- 18 stands for Miriam, who is 18 in the story. 9 stands for Abigail, who was stillborn at least 9 months into her mother's pregnancy.
- Aristocrats Are Evil: Count de La'Fey is no saint.
- Big "NO!":
- The Countess let one out as she was pushed down the stairs.
- Miriam gives a terrified series of them in "Omens" when asked by Jonathan if she brought the haunted cradle into the house (because he certainly didn't).
- Call-Back:So this was 9...
- Cassandra Truth: Jonathan doesn't believe the 7 black horsemen that warn him not to go into the mansion, even if it belonged to him.Jonathan laughed and said "Get out of my way / I don't believe a word you say"The 7 horsemen disappeared into the night / "Someday you'll need our help, my friend"
- Character Title: The whole album.
- The Climax: The title track and the first half of "Black Horsemen."
- Cold Flames: When the spirit of Count de La'Fey first appears, the fireplace is mysteriously lit and yet the room is freezing cold.
- Death by Childbirth: Miriam dies when she gives birth to Abigail.
- Death by Falling Over: Miriam breaks her neck upon landing.
- Demonic Possession: What ends up happening to Miriam, as the black horsemen warned. Probably best punctuated by this lyric:I am alive / Inside your wifeMiriam's dead / I am her head...
- Design Student's Orgasm: The album cover was designed by Thomas Holm, who did several covers for King Diamond and Mercyful Fate.
- Downer Ending:
- The couple is dead and Abigail gets buried forever by the black horsemen.
- As sequel reveals, only Miriam dies at the end of original story. Jonathan is just severely crippled and the horsemen actually spared this Abigail's life. Although by the end of it Abigail and Jonathan end up dead anyway.
- Echoing Acoustics: The album is absolutely swimming in reverb, but the band is quite happy with that, saying it fits the mood (King describes it as a "church-like feel").LaRocque: A difference between us and some other bands from that time was that we never tried to hide bad playing with reverb. We just used it to create atmosphere.
- Epic Rocking: "Black Horsemen" (at over seven minutes)
- Evil Laugh: Many throughout. At the 2:45 mark in "The Family Ghost," King seems to allow a small, less-intimidating chuckle into the mix.
- Express Delivery: According to one lyric, Miriam "grew hour by hour."
- Extremely Dusty Home: "A Mansion in Darkness" mentions that the titular mansion was like this when the couple first got there (while also being very, very dark).
- Fade Out: The album ends with one.
- Fetus Terrible: Abigail ate her way to life from inside Miriam's womb.
- Fighting from the Inside:
Jonathan, this is Miriam / Our time is out / Remember the stairs... it's the only way
- Miriam, while possessed, manages to break from Abigail's control for only a moment.
Soon I'll be free!!!"
- It's also implied to be a gambit by Abigail speaking through Miriam to get Jonathan close enough to the stairs so she can push him herself. Just based on lyrics like...
- Flash Back: "The 7th Day Of July 1777" takes place 68 years earlier, to the original incident that created Abigail. It ends with the Countess being pushed down the stairs, a fate that later befalls Jonathan.
- Foreshadowing: This line from Count de La'Fey:Beware the slippery stairs / you could easily fall and break your neck!
- For Doom the Bell Tolls: At the start of "Omens."Nobody's inside the church but the bell / is ringingFor no reason the flowers / are dying
- Haunted House: The setting. According to "A Mansion In Darkness," it seems to almost be breathing, as if alive.
- How We Got Here: The final track ("Black Horsemen") reveals that "Funeral" was chronologically the last event to take place, with the titular horsemen dragging Abigail to a chapel in the forest to finally be buried (impaled by silver spikes).
- Human Pincushion: When Abigail was laid to rest, she was suppossed to be impaled with "7 silver spikes, 1 through each arm, hand and knee" (with the last of them "drawn through her mouth").
- "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Jonathan tries to call out to Miriam in the title track, telling Abigail that he'll get a priest to get his wife's soul back. It doesn't work out, and in the next song, the possessed Miriam pushed him down the stairs of the crypt where Abigail was buried.
- Inadequate Inheritor: Count de Lay'Fey murders his adulterous, pregnant wife because of this.No bastard baby / will inherit what's mine
- It Is Pronounced "Tro-PAY":
- At one point, King mispronounces "embyo" as "embraio" for some reason. He also seems to pronounce "sarcophagus" like "sarco-PHA-gus."
- King admits this nowadays, stating he knows now he's pronouncing it wrong, but is too used to that pronounciation to change it.
- It Was a Dark and Stormy Night: The start of "Arrival" and "A Mansion In Darkness" mentions rain on the night the couple moves into the mansion. "Black Horsemen" calls back to the rain on the day of their arrival in particular.
- Large Ham: It's King Diamond. The delivery is naturally going to be pretty intense.
- The Leader: O'Brain of the black horsemen.
- Long Title: "The 7th Day Of July 1777."
- Meaningful Name: Abigail's name contains seven letters.
- Metal Scream: Nearly the entire album is sung in King's signature shriek, with some passages instead being told through low growls.
- Murder Ballad:"The 7th Day Of July 1777" goes back to Count de La'Fey killing his unfaithful wife by pushing her down the stairs while she was still pregnant, miscarrying the child. He later burns her body, and mummifies the stillborn fetus, naming it "Abigail.""Abigail, you must rest in shame"
- Murder Makes You Crazy: After he kills his wife, Count de La'Fey becomes strangely obsessed with mummifying Abigail ("for the future to find").
- Nested Story Reveal: The album's final line implies this.That's the end of another lullabyTime has come for me to say goodnight
- Non-Appearing Title: Only "The Family Ghost," "Omens," "Black Horsemen" and the title track directly drop their titles at some point, and often only briefly. Otherwise every other song qualifies.
- Ominous Pipe Organ: "Funeral" and the title track end with one.
- One-Woman Song: The title track, and the whole album by extension.
- One-Word Title: "Abigail", and the individual tracks "Abigail", "Arrival" and "Omens".
- Poltergeist: During "Omens," spooky things start happening around the house, like a third chair appearing in the dining hall, a crib that seems to rock on its own, and a rotten smell permeating the whole mansion.
- Record Producer: The DIY method, produced by King himself (with assistance from Dee and Denner)
- Self-Backing Vocalist: King is mentioned in liner notes as providing "lead & backing vocals."
- Shout-Out: "Abigail La'Fey" is probably a reference to Anton LaVey.
- Sins of Our Fathers: Jonathan's only real mistake is not listening to the black horsemen. Other than that, it was his ancestor The Count who really created Abigail.
- Solo Duet: Every character is played by King Diamond. Including Miriam and Abigail.
- Soprano and Gravel: Often used to take on certain characters.
- Staircase Tumble: Countess de LaFey dies when she is pushed down the stairs by her husband before the events of the story.
- Starts with Their Funeral: Abigail's funeral song is the beginning of the album.
- Supernatural Gold Eyes: Abigail is said to have "a pair of yellow eyes" (which where the last thing Miriam ever saw).
- Technician Versus Performer: Based on the interviews in the digipack version, Denner seems to regard himself as the performer as opposed to LaRocque's technician.
- Title by Year: "The 7th Day Of July 1777"
- Tragic Monster:
- Miriam isn't connected to the La'Fey family's history, but gets possessed by Abigail and ends up being the one who apparently kills Jonathan by pushing him down the stairs.
- Abigail herself might also qualify. King would rather let the listener decide if she truly counts as a villain or not.
- Vagueness Is Coming: By the time Jonathan figures out what "18 is 9" means, it's already too late.
- Villain Song: Depending on your interpretation, "The 7th Day of July 1777" (or maybe "The Family Ghost") could be taken this way.
- Voice of the Legion:
- "Funeral" has King narrating with this effect, proceeding over Abigail's funeral.
- Supposedly Miriam spoke "with different tongues" while under Abigail's possession.
- Unfinished Business: Count de La'Fey appears before Jonathan as a Spirit Advisor, to show him the crypt where Abigail rests. Given the final lines in "The 7th Day Of July 1777," this act might actually make him the true villain of the story.
- Updated Re-release: Twice, most definitively as a part of Roadrunner's "Top Shelf" series, released in 2005 in honor of the label's 25th anniversary (a testament to what a landmark album it was to them). It includes the song "Shrine"note , three demos, expanded artwork, an interview with the band in the liner notes and a DVD containing 3 videos and a live performance from Gothenburg, Sweden in 1987.
- Wham Line:"The spirit of Abigail is inside your wifeAnd there's only one way you can stopThe rebirth of evil itselfYou must take her life now"
"I'm having your baby my love
- There's also this one by Miriam in "Possession":