Abigail Williams – Becoming
Tags: Abigail Williams > Andrew Kapper > Ascension Sickness > Becoming > Beyond The Veil > black metal > Candlelight Records > In The Absence of Light > In The Shadow Of A Thousand Suns > Ken Sorceron > michael keene > USBM > Zach Gibson
Having received a hell of a lot of flak from ?trve? black metal aficionado?s at the start of their career, Los Angeles? Abigail William?s have morphed from USBM?s whipping boys to one of the most respected new black metal acts, and their third full-length promises to have band delve deeper into darker and more abstract influences and sounds.
Stylistically, ?Becoming? is the obvious evolutionary next step from Abigail Williams last record ?In The Absence of Light? ? and a world away from their polished debut ?In The Shadow of a Thousand Suns?. It would be easy to accuse them of simply trend hopping, with the band?s three full lengths and EP all sonically different, but in their defence it?s more obvious that founding member/frontman/main songwriter Ken Sorceron simply doesn?t want to regurgitate the same record over and over.
It?s not hard to hear the influences of post-black metal groups Wolves in the Throne Room and Agalloch on ?Becoming?, with the atmospheric intro of album opener ?Ascension Sickness? an obvious tip of the hat to the former, but the lengthy track eventually opens up to layers of both furious and melodic guitar work, all with the drum work of returning member Zach Gibson barrelling away in the background. The production job by Michael Keene, who has worked with Born of Osiris, his own band The Faceless and others, and Sorceron is raw and visceral, something that perfectly suits the band?s new musical direction. The vocals and drums also sound eerily distant in the mix, while the guitars are unpolished and you can hear the primal attack that all the musicians inflict up their respective instruments.
The melodic and delicate guitar lines of ?Radiance? and following track ?Elestial? creates highly emotional pieces of music, with the weaving lead parts and droning rhythm guitars perfectly balancing with Sorceron?s howling screams and yells. After a dissonant Opeth-like passage in the song?s middle section, ?Infinite Fields of Mind? throws in a surprisingly fist-pumping riff at the 6:07 mark that bolts out of nowhere, and surely that alone will make the tune a live-staple. Even though the word is extremely overused these days, the 17 minute ?Beyond The Veil? is a true epic. With the mournful violin and tribal drum intro eventually giving way to a wall of guitars, the tune is so dense and layered that it will take multiple spins to engorge the track?s complete brilliance. The amazingly beautiful string-section lead part that raises it?s head in the middle of the song is worth the admission price alone, and it?s greatness is furthered by the fantastic riff that eventually accompanies it.
In the digital age that we all currently live in, more and more bands are releasing albums that are simply a collection of random songs put together. But Abigail Williams are not one of these groups, and thanks to a fearless and untainted musical vision, ?Becoming? is a flowing sonic journey that needs to be experienced with the listener?s full and undivided attention. Candles and incense not included.
By Andrew Kapper