To get the obvious comparisons out of the way, Chelsea Wolfe, Myrkur, and Daughter are but a few of the singer/songwriters who have made a name for themselves by transcending genre tropes; delving into palpable, emotional sonic territory, dealing in the macabre and ethereal.
While the aforementioned have had several years to build upon their vision with each subsequent addition to their discography, A.A. Williams is a newcomer. An outlier, offering her debut full-length, ‘Forever Blue’, up for dissection and scrutiny. What’s apparent from the offset is an approach that’s even more stark and minimalist than any of her peers. Make no mistake, this is a damning, despair filled, woe driven descent to the depths of the abyss we each harbour within ourselves.
Equal parts orchestral, theatrical, gothic, bombastic, intimate, serene, and distressing, this blackened marrying of post-rock and dark folk is an intoxicating fusion. The loud-quiet-loud dynamic is nothing new, but is approached here with such severity that focus and attention are absorbed in a manner both hypnotic and wiccan.
Each moment of sweet, ephemeral beauty is clouded, distorted, and often destroyed by cascading crescendos and walls of aural devastation. Amidst it all is the haunting, distant, and somewhat detached vocals of Williams, guiding you through the ether like a voice made of fog. There’s an arresting, and often overwhelming sense of nihilism that permeates through every aspect of the material, leaving it to the listener to find their own way to the strength that can be found in moments of utter fragility.
‘Forever Blue’ is a potent, powerful display of self-rendered doom and makeshift catharsis. The sheer audacity of a debut to be this powerful is staggering and commendable. There’s an experience and artistry exuded, far beyond the years of activity that this project bolsters. Collaborating and touring with the likes of MONO are surely just early signs of the rewarding and much deserved reverence that A.A. Williams has waiting for her on this grim, astounding ascent to new professional heights.