Fifteen years after the release of Abigail, King Diamond did the unthinkable and unleashed a sequel, known as Abigail II: The Revenge. Although not as powerful as the original CD, Abigail II: The Revenge stands on its own in terms of story, with Diamond and his band returning to a time when the music was darker and heavier. Having developed leaps and bounds as a storyteller, this album builds upon the original characters showcased in Abigail and presents a storyline that will leave both fans and newcomers shaking in their leather.
Guitarists Andy LaRocque and Mike Wead return to the land of heavy riffs, setting down rhythms and leads from the age of Abigail. The core sound is once again speed metal, with one guitarist setting down some driving rhythms and finger-burning riffs while the other breaks out with some stunning and catchy leads. This crisscrossing approach hints at the style originated by the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, only the overall sound in darker, atmospheric, and at times majestic. The rhythm section of bassist Hal Patino and drummer matt Thompson keep the pace steady, pulling back when the atmospherics kick in. Helping out King Diamond with the keyboards is Kol Marshall, who also contributes strings and the harpsichord. Newcomer Alyssa Biesenberger plays the voice of “Little One,” the ghost of the original, dementedly evil Abigail. Of course, Diamond serves as ringmaster to the tale, his voice sounding pretty damn good, although he continues to shy away from his falsetto, using it in spurts for effect.
As for the tale, the plot thickens with respect to the events chronicled in the original. Leader of the Black Horseman O’Brian is revealed to be the half-brother of Abigail. Far worse, O’Brian through some type of sacrilege has enabled the reincarnation of Abigail, who is now flesh and blood. The year is 1863, and Abigail is now 18 years old and is flesh and blood (rather than stillborn). Abigail during a storm finds her way back to the LaFey Mansion, where she encounters the ghost of the “Little One,” the essence of the living Abigail and who O’Brian claims is neither evil or good—all she wants, is to make things right again.
More horrors await inside the mansion, where Abigail learns that Jonathan LaFey did not die when he fell down the stairs. Instead, Jonathan is confined to a wheelchair, but he can walk with a cane. He greets Abigail, thinking her his long-dead Miriam—and rapes her so that he can produce an heir. Abigail then visits the crypt where the stillborn Abigail is kept, and it is here that she takes a necklace (the same from chronicled in Diamond’s The Eye) and uses it to slit the neck of Jonathan’s servant, Brandon Henry. Abigail then trains Jonathan’s dinner with broken glass. As he chokes from the shards, Abigail beats him to death with his own cane. Abigail sets him ablaze, and soon the house is also on fire, as is Abigail. Both Abigail and the mansion burn; only the crypt is intact, with the stillborn Abigail crying out for her mother (the closing track, the heartbreaking “Sorry Dear”).
Abigail II: The Revenge is a richly layered, hideously demented tale of revenge, ghostly spirits, and insane characters. It is a worthy successor to the original Abigail, standing on its own merits but also contributing to the legacy of the original characters and storyline. The structure hints at other Diamond stories, hinting at a universe and history of characters and storylines, all under the puppet master that is Diamond.