US black metal act Abigail Williams sure don't sit still long enough to become complacent. Since their debut back in 2006, the band has gone through a myriad of line-up changes and variety of musical styles, starting off as a metalcore group with black metal influences to then mimic the symphonic black metal style of the Europeans and Scandinavians on later releases. This third full length (and fifth overall) sees the band go deeper into classic Scandinavian styled black metal, along with plenty of avant-garde, psychedelic, prog, folk, and doom elements. The current line-up of Abigail Williams for Becoming is vocalist/guitarist Ken Sorceron, drummer Zach Gibson, Ian Jekelis on lead guitar, and bassist Gryph Wotawa. Not sure who is handling the keyboards or various odd folk instruments these days, but probably either guest musicians or the band themselves.
Opening track "Ascension Sickness" is an 11 minute monster that is part speedy black metal and part avant-garde. The band go straight into almost funeral doom territory on the plodding "Radiance", complete with crushing riffs, haunting arpeggios, and evil rasps from Sorceron. On "Elestal" the rapid tremelo riffing and blast beats return with a vengeance along with venemous screams, which gives way to the even more brutal "Infinite Fields of Mind". Throughout this 11 minute song, the band balances the black metal with the doom and psychedelia quite nicely, and the guitar work and smattering of keyboards are tastefully done. Without a doubt the band are going for more epic length pieces here, as 4 of the 6 tracks exceed the 8 minute time frame. The closer "Beyond the Veil" almost hits the 18-minute mark, as the band go for a feel not unlike fellow US black metal band Wolves in the Throne Room on this one, incorporating folks elements with the thunderous black metal and avant-garde moments. As good as this piece is though (love the violin and cello) I would have trimmed a few minutes off of it, as it tends to meander in spots, although I have to give credit to them for trying something of this nature.
Once again, Abigail Williams are keeping their fans on their toes with this latest Becoming. At a time when so many black metal acts stick to a tried and true formula, these guys alter their sound a bit with each release, keeping things fresh and exciting, and leaving all of us to wonder what they might come up with next. Becoming is slated for an early January 2012 release on Candlelight Records, so be on the lookout for it.
1. Ascension Sickness (11:11)
2. Radiance (5:33)
3. Elestal (8:12)
4. Infinite Fields of Mind (10:11)
5. Three Days of Darkness (2:27)
6. Beyond the Veil (17:31)