Review Summary: Can the sequel recapture the magic of the original?
I remember when Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
came out. I was as excited as I had ever been in my five year old life. There was a new Star Wars movie! And I got to see it on the big screen! I remember coming out of that movie, still rushed with the excitement of seeing a Star Wars movie in theaters. I recall enjoying it, but even as a five year old, I knew there was something wrong. There was something a little…off about it. I didn’t get the same thrill as I did when I watched the original trilogy. The effects were great, the characters were pretty good, and it had some amazing scenes (The Podrace, and the lightsaber duel with Darth Maul). What was missing? There was an air of magic in the originals, of exploration and discovery that was missing. This film was just a retread of sorts of the originals. Abigail II: The Revenge
falls into this same trap.
is arguably one of the greatest concept/metal albums of all time, and the pressure was definitely on if you even DARED do another one. But I had faith. If anyone could pull it off, it would be King Diamond, whose solo career has almost no bad albums. On the surface, everything seems fine. The King’s high pitched and growling vocals were as good, if not better, as they always are. The dueling guitars of Andy LaRocque and Mike Wead were solid and air guitarable. The rhythm section of Hal Patino and Matt Thompson was robust, and the production is crystal clear. With all these good traits, shouldn’t the album get a good rating? Unfortunately, that is not the case.
starts off strongly, with the tracks Mansion in Sorrow
. These two tracks are arguably two of the King’s strongest tracks ever written, with great guitar work and King Diamond’s always stellar vocals. However, quality quickly drops off from there. Little One
feels like a mish mash of various tracks from both King’s solo career and his stuff with Mercyful Fate. And many of the other tracks feel the same way, as if they were just retreads of some of King’s best stuff. While I am all for an artist taking his previous work and using it to thread in and out of his albums, here it feels more like “Oh, we need another track here. Let’s take the guitar part from this song, the chorus structure of this song over here, and the bass line of this other song. There, boom, another song done.” Therefore the tracks are all enjoyable, but they are missing the magic and mysticism that seems to surround King Diamond’s work. After the first four tracks, the rest of the album feels almost like filler. I can pop in this album and head bang and enjoy it the whole way through, but I feel almost robbed and cheated at the end, like “I swear I’ve heard this riff before somewhere…” Where’s the creative spirit that seems to thrive in King Diamond’s work?
While a fan whose never been exposed to King Diamond’s work before will enjoy this album immensely due to the immaculately crafted riffs and vocal parts, any long time fan will quickly be able to pinpoint that the King is ripping himself off, which detracts from the album significantly. I once read an interview with King Diamond when he had just finished touring with Metallica. The magazine asked him what he thought of the accusations that Metallica has sold out. He responded with that he didn’t feel that Metallica was a sellout. He said they followed their creative spirit and didn’t insist on retreading their old work. The King said that made them artists. He said if he made an Abigail II
, that would be selling out. It wouldn’t have that creative spirit and energy that is required for an album. I never thought I would say this, but King Diamond, YOU ARE A ***ING SELLOUT!
-The King’s always amazing vocals
-Great Guitar work
-Feels awfully similar to his old work
-Filler feel of many of the tracks
-Concept is harder to follow than most of the King’s work
-Cannot hope to live up to the legacy of the original
Mansion In Sorrow