Abigail Williams have had more than their fair share of rotating personnel in their ranks, save for their mainstay and visionary frontman, Ken ‘Sorceron’ Bergeron. Yet, in spite of this, they only seem to keep growing in size and show even more progression with each release.
It’s safe to say that fans will no doubt be excited for their fifth full-length album, ‘Walk Beyond The Dark’, and at the same time wondering what to expect.
Opener, ‘I Will Depart’, comes straight in with its immediate gallop, eschewing any kind of overly long intro. Sorceron brings in a lot of intensity vocally, and the band prove themselves to be more than adept at switching things up, which continues for the rest of the record. And, even when they’re not doing this, there’s always plenty of underlying tension, and the final build-up at the end is particularly striking.
‘Sun And Moon’ has a particularly tense intro, and the clean vocal melody especially helps to accentuate this, but not without some urgency of course. After a nicely-executed bass break, we suddenly move into a frantic blast-beat section, which is brilliantly melodramatic in the way that it carries itself.
And, with ‘Ever So Bold’, the band continue to up the levels of energy. There’s a particularly urgent sense with the start, and it’s kept up all the way with the tremolo riffing. The band also come up trumps with the strings-driven intro of ‘Black Waves’, and what follows afterwards is a gorgeous clean section which isn’t a million miles away from the likes of Deafheaven. Even when it gets heavier, the melodic richness is still maintained, helped by the diverse instrumentation which couldn’t sit over this better.
In spite of the aforementioned track being just over 10-minutes long, and the album being just under an hour, none of it feels like it drags on at all and it moves by very quickly. It’s not only an intense epic, there’s also a real feeling of warmth in this song.
‘Born Of Nothing’ is another masterclass in light and shade, and in ‘Final Failure’, the clean vocals really lift the song. In fact, this whole song may be the album’s finest moment.
And for the ending, the way the instrumentation slowly but surely strips everything bare to leave just the strings exposed is so cleverly done that it’s impossible not take notice. It’s just one of many indicators that ‘Walk Beyond The Dark’ is the sign of Abigail Williams truly joining the pantheon of modern extreme metal greats. We’ve been treated to a masterful, cinematic body of work.