Abigail Williams
Becoming

American black metal is like Japanese pasta—a non-indigenous dish that actually does justice to the original (and perhaps even surpasses!) from time to time. Hence, I’d expect nothing less from the eclectic Abigail Williams, who have really gone off the edge of the cliff this time round and switched to playing an ambient form of doom-ish black metal that just tugs at your heartstrings and snaps them.

Many remember this band as another one of those unstable acts with a volatile line-up, or as that band that is not “tr00” because of changing its style to go with the times, ie. Playing metalcore-influenced black metal in their early days during the mid-2000’s when –core genres were hugely popular, and then subsequently switching to a purer black metal sound on their 2010 record, In The Absence Of Light; which happened to be released during a period filled with new releases from veterans of the so-called “tr00” black metal scene, such as Immortal’s 2009 album, All Shall Fall, Marduk’s 2009 album, Wormwood, and Watain’s 2010 album, Lawless Darkness. Regardless, good music is good music, and hipsters or not, Abigail Williams have released a really solid record this time round.

With only the brevity of 6 tracks, the band have managed to cram in 55 whole minutes of emotionally-charged black metal that sinfully borders on feeling romantic—something that no “tr00” black metal veteran will tolerate I’m sure. In fact, I’d dare say that the current incarnation of Abigail Williams could be likened to a variation of 40 Watt Sun that have gone all grim and black metally—plus a little bit of a speed boost of course.

The beautiful numbers breeze by with unpredictable dynamics, but the end result is always the same. At times, they are capable of evoking an atmosphere of despair and isolation simply with quiet solo strumming from the lead guitar; yet at other times, loud and abrasive bursts of anguished shrieks and blast beats achieve the same effect. It is a truly alluring and masterful way of conveying pessimism if I ever heard one.

There are also some grooves thrown here and there to catch the unsuspecting listener off-guard, as heard at the ¾ mark of “Infinite Fields Of Mind” for example, but one has to be mindful that they are not to be seen as the main attraction of Abigail Williams’s work this time round. If you are the kind who fancies grooves and only grooves though, your impatience will rob you of the opportunity to experience the lengthy but rewarding entertainment provided by the band. Patience is key here, as the urge for instant gratification will only make it harder for you to “get it”.

Personal favorites of mine are the tracks “Ascension Sickness” and “Radiance”, but do listen to this album in its entirety to enjoy the calm ride into your heart’s darkest depths. Keep an ear out for the beautiful violin soloing at the ¾ mark of “Beyond The Veil” too, it will probably make you think it’s drizzling in your well-sheltered room.

Alas, one might speculate that the more ambient direction taken in the music this time round could be another hipster attempt at following the recent trend of ambient metal (Remember the Southern Lord and Profound Lore craze from last year?). Honestly though, what’s wrong with doing this if you are talented enough to pull it off?

Between a band that stick to their old tricks and come up with an uninspiring new record, and a band that change with the times to produce a refreshing take on an old metal sub-genre, I will settle for the latter any day.

 

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Dane Prokofiev
January 9th, 2012

Comments

  1. Commented by: demise

    Its easy to tell when people don’t have a clue as to what they’re talking about.
    Namely morons who think “tr00” means anything to anyone.
    Terrible cd,worse reveiw.


  2. Commented by: Storm King

    Before I clicked on the link to this review, I thought to myself “I wonder what bandwagon Abigail Williams has jumped onto this time!”

    Sadly, I was being a smart ass, and didn’t really MEAN it.

    These guys aren’t bravely changing their sound as a creative decision. They jump on the latest trend with both feet. It’s getting kind of sad.


  3. Commented by: Melltro

    I think the album is amazing and I’m sure the guy above has not even heard it considering its not even leaked yet.


  4. Commented by: Metaller

    ok. their first album is cool, but deathcore and black metal DO NOT MIX. thats what bug me. Despite the vocals on that record “A Shadow Of A Thousand Suns” i liked it, but then didnt.

    im still stuck on the “In The Absence Of Light” record. i like that one WAY more because its pretty much black metal.
    i know some black metallers will say “american black metal sucks! Norwegian black metal (or) european is better.
    to be honest, people are rite. BUT, i think bands around the world should do whatever genre and these guys are doing it so you got to give them some respect because the USA doesnt have much black metal bands around here.

    i heard one song from the new record and it sounds, different. i need to hear the whole record to really feel what the review is talking about.
    hope its better then the last records.
    \,,/


  5. Commented by: gabaghoul

    I actually dug Thousand Suns, better than recent Cradle and after you remove the goopy instrumentals, about on par with Anorexia Nervosa. Didn’t get much of a core vibe from it though. Last album was dull. Will check this one out too but if they’ve dialed back the symphonic elements which made Thousand Suns appealing, don’t have high hopes…


  6. Commented by: gordeth

    The one track I heard from this wasn’t bad, but it’s painfully obvious that they’re trying to jump on the blackgaze bandwagon.


  7. Commented by: stiffy

    Melltro,

    Reviewers get digital promos earlier than you can steal it.


  8. Commented by: thisblacksession

    Yeah – way too much “tr00” usage in there.

    I was a fan of both Thousand Suns and Absence of Light, and it sounds like this will be similar to neither. Not sure what to expect out of this.


  9. Commented by: Dane Prokofiev

    stiffy:

    I think Melltro was referring to the very first commenter. Anyway, I think this record is worth buying once it comes out.


  10. Commented by: metalmax

    zero originality here but at least they ripoff good bands


  11. Commented by: Grimulfr

    a Little much with the “tr00” tag, and a lack of understanding of what it means (if anything anymore)

    I gave the album a once through and liked it enough to go back for a careful listen, which I have not done yet, and I don’t particularly care if they are the bandwagon jumpers or the trend setters, if it is good listen to it.

    Some of my favorite bands have volatile line-ups


  12. Commented by: Tim

    If the album is anywhere near as bad as the review, it’s going to be a contender for worst album of the year.


  13. Commented by: Melltro

    The album has received mostly glowing reviews from most other publications. It definitely wont be a contender for worse album of the year…


  14. Commented by: Dimaension X

    I don’t know why everyone rags on this band – sure they revise their style album to album, but it never sounds as bad as people say. I kind of like this new album.

    I also like a band that is able to have a lot of variety in their sound, yet keep it sounding good, unlike Craptopsy, Craptallica or Mediocre Angel, who drastically revised their whole sound and did so badly.


  15. Commented by: Nick Taxidermy

    also, it’s “TRVE” when you’re talking about black metal.


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