Abigail Williams

In The Absence Of Light

Written by: PP on 13/12/2010 02:26:36

Two years ago, Abigail Williams recorded what is regarded by many as one of the better symphonic black metal albums of the decade, despite receiving their fair share of shun and disregard from the kvlt tr00 black metallers. You see, Abigail Williams dared to infest their pure black metal with elements of metalcore, and even 'scene' given their fringe haircuts, tight jeans and the like. Nonetheless, "In The Shadow Of A Thousand Suns" combined the two genres nearly flawlessly, appealing to both camps of the metallic spectrum. Since then, everyone but vocalist/rhythm guitarist Ken Sorceron has moved on to other projects, begging the question to be asked: is this still Abigail Williams?

Truth be told, I'm inclined to argue against the fact, because despite the name and the typical (to the genre) shriek of Sorceron, very little has been left untouched in terms of the soundscape, which is really no surprise given how nearly all of the composers from the band have disappeared. The band still deals in black metal, but in a much more traditional and conventional manner. The symphonies that were so dominant and omnipresent in their sound have been pushed to the side, only making an occasional appearance, and never quite achieving the same striking "wow" factor as in the past. In fact, they go largely unnoticed throughout "In The Absence Of Light", where there are extensive sections without any keyboards whatsoever. Moreover, the sublime riffing that went hand-in-hand with said symphonies has also been toned down into a much more generic tremolo-meets-death metal format. While the new guitarist can shred decently, he's no comparison to the band's previous symposium of melody and brutality. So I'd say the change is definitely not for the better.

What then, if anything, is "In The Absence Of Light" worth? While not a terrible album, it's rather generic and includes way too much filler to be enjoyed thoroughly. Though the song's aren't outright awful, they are disappointing and underwhelming in nature, most underlining the word average at every possible occasion, the consequence of reducing a six man outfit into a trio. "The Mysteries That Bind The Flesh" is one of the exceptions given its more creative structure and approach to riff/atmosphere combination, but really, all too many tracks simply feel like second-rate Cradle Of Filth songs with less symphonies on them. Fans, prepare to be disappointed thoroughly.


Download: The Mysteries That Bind The Flesh
For the fans of: Cradle Of Filth, Dimmu Borgir, Dark Funeral
Listen: Myspace

Release date 29.09.2010
Candlelight Records

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