How many times can a band change direction before it seems like they’re constantly running after the bandwagon? Overall, it depends on the quality of the record. Since this is American black metal outfit Abigail Williams‘ umpteenth change in sound, and it does approach atmospheric elements of black metal that have been extremely popular recently, it would be fair to look at it with suspicion.
Basically, AW‘s first album is ferocious black metal combined with some slightly campy symphonic influences. They then changed it to a more contained chaos with a clean-riffing style without the symphonies, and it suited them a lot more. Even their first EP has some metalcore influences… that’s nothing surprising. Though a lot of bands take a release or two to find their sound, and considering the amount of line-up changes the band this have gone through, it’s not a shock that their general sound changes like the seasons.
The suspicion comes with Abigail Williams‘ latest release, ‘The Accuser’, which ditches the clean and cut-throat guitars for speedy and heavily muddled instrumentals. It’s a sound which is heard on Deafheaven‘s ‘Sunbather’ (the most recent ‘black metal’ success to break out of the genre) and Ghost Bath‘s material, and it’s hard not to wonder if Abigail Williams wanted in on the more atmospheric scene, especially when you consider how fast this development came to be.
‘The Accuser’ isn’t a bad record, despite the fact that some tracks do absolutely nothing. Opener, ‘Path Of Broken Glass’, doesn’t take you anywhere or do anything, it just rumbles on for five minutes. The album does get better when it switches up its tone a bit on tracks like ‘Will, Wish, Desire’ which has a good build-up into a melodic guitar solo, which then goes into ‘Godhead’, which sounds like a more vicious, traditional black metal song.
The album’s obvious highlights are when it throws in these more unexpected moments, like the fun riff in the middle of ‘Lost Communion’ that sounds like it could’ve come off a Kvelertak record. It just takes wading through some sub par, done before modern black metal to get to these tiny gems.
Written by Jack King (@Jackingy)