Relentless blast beats, crushing guitar riffs, boatloads of orchestral keyboards, and layers of evil screams & gutteral growls...sounds like the makings of a Norwegian symphonic black metal album right? Well, in most cases you'd be right, but nowadays music of this nature doesn't just come out of Norway, Sweden, Finland, or the UK for that matter. Abigail Williams, the young US band that only a few short years ago released a promising debut EP then broke up after a slew of live dates, have reformed and come back with this blistering concoction of American symphonic black metal, and it's damn impressive. While their EP displayed some metalcore mixed in with their black metal leanings, it's the latter that's been fully embraced here, as the band does their best Dimmu Borgir-meets-Emperor-meets-Cradle of Filth, delivering 10 dramatic pieces here that hit on all levels. Perhaps it's the marvelous synth work, the effective growling vocals, the layered guitar riffs, or the bombastic drum blasts...or better yet, all of it combined, this is one exciting album for lovers of the genre. Tunes like "A Thousand Suns", "The World Beyond", "Into the Ashes", and the epic "Empyrean- into the Cold Wastes" all sound like they could have been recorded in the mid-late 90's by any of the bands mentioned above, each dripping with melody yet ferocious in nature, given a majestic turn by all the sumptuous synths and piano. Though some might say that Abigail Williams are merely mimicking their heroes, I think it's probably an honest form of flattery, and with Emperor done, Cradle going more goth by the minute, that leaves just Dimmu carrying the torch. Perhaps not for long.
I could go on and on here, but essentially this is a band that has grown leaps in bounds in a real short time, and have fired back from the brink of the abyss with one of the hottest symphonic black metal releases this year.
02.The World Beyond 06:16
04.A Thousand Suns 05:09
05.Into the Ashes 04:39
06.Smoke and Mirrors 04:52
07.A Semblance of Life 02:06
08.Empyrean- into the Cold Wastes 06:15
10.The Departure 05:56