Abigail Williams

In The Shadow Of A Thousand Suns

Written by: PP on 13/10/2008 13:37:35

You've seen the name. You've noticed the hype. You've read about how they continuously polarize fans and critics. But now you have a chance to hear it as well, as Abigail Williams are gearing up to release their new album "In The Shadow Of A Thousand Suns" to the unsuspecting public, a symphonic black metal assault with roughly the same effect as Darkest Hour's "Undoing Ruin" - a truly magnificent breath of fresh air to a genre previously plagued with obscurity and ridiculously bad production techniques. Yes, "In The Shadow Of A Thousand Suns" is an album that's funeral-dark enough to be loved by the black metal loyalists, but also complex, melodic and dramatic enough to draw in plenty of listeners outside of its genre. Thus, it has what I call the "Darkest Hour" effect: it's heavy and brutal enough to not be shunned by Dimmu Borgir and Emperor fans, but it's not extreme to the point of non-recognition for people not familiar with the genre. In other words, regardless if you're a pop music loving hippie or a long-haired, leather-clad metal head, it's cool - really fucking cool - to like this band.

You see, unlike most releases in this genre, "In The Shadow Of A Thousand Suns" hasn't been recorded with the band standing at the opposing end of the studio from the microphones, nor are there any shoes involved in between the instruments and the devices. This gives for a monumental, crystal clear sound with heavy focus on the frighteningly dark, symphonic keyboard melodies that give all of the songs an epic feel, but also allows for intense and tight instrumental delivery; these dudes can fucking shred. They can also play mind blowing solos at breakneck speeds, and construct brilliant passages where ultra-melodic meets ultra-brutal, creating the sort of contrast most black metal bands are always (or should be) searching for, but only the select few are able to do.

Take the vocalist, for instance. There are moments where his distinct shriek seems to depict the witch burnings from the 1600s, but because of the intense orchestration backing him, he doesn't sound brutal more than he sounds fitting to their songs. As paradoxical as it might sound, there's even elements of pure melody in his coarse shriek, making it a wonderful listen for even those not usually accustomed to screaming/growling vocals. Or take the drummer, whose performance throughout the album is nothing short of phenomenal. The level of stupendously fast pounding especially on the blast-beat department makes me fairly certain that he's got to replace his bass-drum after each song, but simultaneously he's also able to provide rhythmic pulsations to provide a great deal of variation to the band's music - unlike most bands in the genre, every Abigail Williams song is distinguishable, unique, and extremely enjoyable.

So the rest of the genre take note here: this is how black metal sounds when it's at its very best: incredibly symphonic, a great deal of melody and dramatic flair, and a fantastic contrast between the brutal and the soft. Though "In The Shadow Of A Thousand Suns" may not be a perfect album, it's still easily among the best I've heard in this genre, and a must have for any music fan, regardless of your genre affiliation or the automatic denotation the word "black metal" has in your mind.

Download: The World Beyond, A Thousand Suns
For the fans of: Dimmu Borgir, Emperor, Light This City
Listen: Myspace

Release date 20.10.2008
Candlelight Records

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