Abigail Williams

Walk Beyond The Dark

Written by: KW on 06/01/2020 21:39:14

2019 truly has been one hell of a year for modern black metal, so today I’m examining one of the dozens of hyped records that hit the heavy-sphere like a sledgehammer. Abigail Williams was one of the latecomers of 2019, and being kind of biased by not really liking much of the little I’d heard from the band beforehand, the amount of buzz surrounding “Walk Beyond the Dark” kind of surprised me. But oh man, was the hype ever so warranted… So let’s take a look at this beautiful savagery that is the newest release from this American solo project.

The first thing that instantly enveloped me when “I Will Depart” punishingly set off the record the first time, was the phenomenal production, which sounds monstrous and crystal clear, while still maintaining an organic and dramatic openness, as though the whole thing were being performed atop a mountain or inside of a burning church. The drums cut through clearly without seeming overpowering, not unlike Der Weg Einer Freiheit’s latest record “Finisterre”, and while they of course consist mainly of blazingly fast blastbeats and double pedalled bass drums, there is enough finesse and detail to the drumming that it never gets repetitive to listen to, which just supports the massive tremolo-picked chords so well. “I Will Depart” is a nasty and evil-sounding piece to start the record off with, and taking one gander at the album cover, it suits as the soundtrack to the Lovecraftian, cosmic horror piece perfectly (the artwork was created by the same artist who made that Bell Witch cover art for “Mirror Reaper” as well: Mariusz Lewandowski). The outro turns the looming atmosphere uncomfortably thick with doomsday monk choirs, before heading into the droning, summoning portal that is “Sun and Moon”, which also serves as one of my favourite, as well as one of the most hypnotizing moments of the record, with its fairly simple, yet highly effective use of drones to highlight the fierce wall of blasts in the choruses.

But “Walk Beyond the Dark” isn’t all about summoning Satan with evil-sounding minor chords, as tracks like “Ever So Bold” and “Into the Sleep” demonstrate. The mood is still unquestionably dark and the shrieks from Ken Sorceron hellish, but there is a glimmer of light peeking through the depressive soundscapes here, which makes the record so much more dynamic as a result. “Black Waves” adds a pair of sliding, wailing violins to create the most bone-chillingly beautiful and sad intro on the album, while “The Final Failure” pulls off one of the more unique-sounding outros to an album I’ve heard in a while by combining those same, somber violins playing solo on top of pounding double pedals, which makes it sound like this powerfully chaotic, sonic loneliness.

There really isn’t much to criticize about what Ken Sorceron has created with “Walk Beyond the Dark”. “Born of Nothing” does drag on far too long in the latter half, and the album might not be the most groundbreaking black metal album I’ve ever heard. But it certainly is one of the most emotionally fulfilling ones I’ve heard all year. It gave me goosebumps several times and is truly an extremely consistent and well-crafted experience you really shouldn’t miss if you’re at all a fan of extreme, yet beautiful soundscapes.

9

Download: Sun and Moon, Black Waves, Into the Sleep, The Final Failure
For the fans of: Altar of Plagues, Der Weg Einer Freiheit, Wolves in the Throne Room
Listen: Facebook

Release date 15.11.2019
Blood Music

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