Rating:
7.7
Abigail Williams - Becoming
23 January 2012


01. Ascension Sickness
02. Radiance
03. Elestial
04. Infinite Fields Of Mind
05. Three Days Of Darkness
06. Beyond The Veil


Funny things happen when you ignore the name attached to a product and focus on the merits of said product exclusively.

Listening to a new Abigail Williams album is kind of like shopping for the latest MacBook. It's still a laptop, but it's an Apple laptop. Thus, it receives a majority of its love and hate purely based on its brand name, while only a few actually care to test the product and make an objective analysis. Ever searching for an identity, it's quite possible this latest jump of the bandwagon will bring these American black metallers closer to an established sound and subsequently a legitimate fan base.

Becoming takes more than just a few notes from the likes of Wolves In The Throne Room and a variety of other trending atmospheric black metal bands making it big on atmosphere without much substance, yet the bones of this skeleton have a fair amount of meat on them... and some spices to boot.

This is relatively slow for a black metal album, a trait that may incite listeners to tag the music as doom-infused or down-tempo, but it still has all the bells and whistles that make black metal what it is. In addition to the typical blastbeats and distorted guitars that have all but become synonymous with the genre, the band members make excellent use of some gloomy acoustic passages and touching violin and piano passages. Not necessarily reminiscent of A Forest Of Stars, but definitely a mood enhancer for those who appreciate melody and beauty in their extreme metal concoctions.

With all that said, of course Abigail Williams will still go hand-in-hand with "lacking identity" and "bandwagon jumping", but Becoming is a major step forward in terms of finding a style that best suits their abilities. Whether the band works at this rather than continuing to change at the drop of a hat remains to be seen, but at the very least fans of well-executed atmospheric black metal can put their worries to rest and enjoy the sonic nightmare created at the hands of some rather confused musicians.

Performance: 8
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 5
Production: 9


Band profile: Abigail Williams
Album: Becoming


 



Written on 13.04.2012 by
Troy Killjoy
Just another opinionated guy telling you what to listen to.
More reviews by Troy Killjoy ››



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Troy Killjoy - 13.04.2012 at 01:44  

Highlight of the album right here.
Nosurper - 13.04.2012 at 01:45  
I liked confused musicians
Alex Fenger - 13.04.2012 at 03:04  
Written by Nosurper on 13.04.2012 at 01:45

I liked confused musicians

"Like" or "Liked"... there's a difference
!J.O.O.E.! - 13.04.2012 at 03:13  
I still think if this were by a different band it would be raved about across the internet. Purely because it's more balanced and better performed than the vast majority of similar bands.

And anyway, it's not like Wolves did anything substantially different than what Weakling didn't already do (with their first couple of records), so by that regard Wolves are just as much rip-offs as those that followed. Being a band that jumped sound is no worse/better than forming a band and adopting a sound already done before. Most people seem to forget that.
Troy Killjoy - 13.04.2012 at 03:19  
Written by !J.O.O.E.! on 13.04.2012 at 03:13
I still think if this were by a different band it would be raved about across the internet. Purely because it's more balanced and better performed than the vast majority of similar bands.

And anyway, it's not like Wolves did anything substantially different than what Weakling didn't already do (with their first couple of records), so by that regard Wolves are just as much rip-offs as those that followed. Being a band that jumped sound is no worse/better than forming a band and adopting a sound already done before. Most people seem to forget that.

For the most part I agree. The only thing preventing me from praising this was actually the slight inconsistency. If they all carried the same sort of weight of "Beyond the Veil" (building up an immense epic, bludgeoning the listener with grandiose chamber-esque music, and tying in just about every element of the song together as if to tell a story) then I would easily throw a high eight at this. But compared to that track the rest seemed to have moments where they kind of meandered in and out of cohesion, like maybe the band members weren't sure if what they were doing made sense? I dunno, that's my take on it. But I do think at least a significant portion of black metal fans would be adding this in the top 10 of their "best of 2012" lists if not for the whole Abigail Williams thing "tarnishing" the album.

Agreed with the Wolves comment too. But they didn't have a questionable metalcore-influenced beginning so people never judged them for jumping any kind of bandwagon.
BoxCar Willy - 13.04.2012 at 03:21  
I honestly don't give a rat's ass about the "Originality" of this album, thelittle things that make up this album seperate it from the rest. I didn't enjoy it when i first heard it, but it's a grower.
Merchant of Doom - 13.04.2012 at 10:54  
Great album... rating a bit low, but I agree it's a tad inconsistent. I also agree that we would be raving about it if we weren't talking about Abigail Williams...
Urs Blank - 13.04.2012 at 13:20  
Thank you Troy for reviewing this album.
It gaves me the opportunity to get over this unfair reluctance I had about that band. To be honest I even thought Abigail Williams were a Power Metal band. Problem fixed! Surely not original but at least they achieved to reach a level of production they should really be proud of. Their performance is more than creditable, and I would probably give it a 8 after my second listen.
Merchant of Doom - 13.04.2012 at 14:46  
Written by Urs Blank on 13.04.2012 at 13:20

To be honest I even thought Abigail Williams were a Power Metal band.


They were kind of "deathcorish" at the beginning...
Slayer666 - 13.04.2012 at 14:54  
It is rather surprising Abigail Williams could fork up an album like this. It's nowhere near spectacular or anything, but it is leagues above what they used to do.
The Galactican - 13.04.2012 at 16:16  
I'm ever baffled by the hate a lot of listeners have for these guys. I don't disagree with the fact that they're not the most original band on the block, but that doesn't make them any different than hundreds of other bands. Recycled riffs, sounds, and songwriting structures are super common place in metal; more the norm than not if you ask me. Personally, if I enjoy the songs I pretty much don't care.

Anyway, in general agree with the review. I liked this one and their last one quite a bit. I saw them live a couple of years back too and they killed it on stage.
Aetherius - 13.04.2012 at 17:00  
Great review, now I really want to buy this
Troy Killjoy - 13.04.2012 at 17:51  
Written by Urs Blank on 13.04.2012 at 13:20
Thank you Troy for reviewing this album.
It gaves me the opportunity to get over this unfair reluctance I had about that band. To be honest I even thought Abigail Williams were a Power Metal band. Problem fixed! Surely not original but at least they achieved to reach a level of production they should really be proud of. Their performance is more than creditable, and I would probably give it a 8 after my second listen.

My pleasure! Glad to have altered your perception for the better - I know these guys altered mine with their music. And while they've never been a power metal band, their blend of symphonic black metal and metalcore has all but dissipated and you're left with quite a nice atmospheric black metal release. An 8 seems like a perfect score.
Unhealer - 13.04.2012 at 18:23  
This guy up here thought this was a power metal band... Well, I thought "he" was a solo guitarist or something similar That was stupid from me.
That song you highlighted was excellent, I'll give this a try.
And well, the "nice review, dude" should be implict by now.

PD: Abigail isn't even a "he". Now I feel worse.
Troy Killjoy - 13.04.2012 at 18:57  
Written by Unhealer on 13.04.2012 at 18:23
PD: Abigail isn't even a "he". Now I feel worse.

History fail.
strade - 13.04.2012 at 20:38  
Meh, it would probably help if I was interested in this style of music. Wolves in the Throne Room bore the hell out of me, too. Those songs should have been much shorter, also. Really, I just don't like this release or band, and some of that might inevitably go toward the brand name on the cover. There, I admit it, but I wouldn't like it anyway, so oh well.

Good review though, and I do wish people would be less hasty to judge a band because of its popularity/notoriety.
BoxCar Willy - 13.04.2012 at 21:20  
Abigail Williams was the first American to be burned for witchcraft.



...The more you know...
Ernis - 13.04.2012 at 21:33  
Written by BoxCar Willy on 13.04.2012 at 21:20

Abigail Williams was the first American to be burned for witchcraft.



...The more you know...


As much as I've heard she was accused but she wasn't burned. In fact, as she left Salem, no one ever heard of her again.
Troy Killjoy - 13.04.2012 at 21:35  
Written by Ernis on 13.04.2012 at 21:33
As much as I've heard she was accused but she wasn't burned. In fact, as she left Salem, no one ever heard of her again.

That's how the story goes. She was never burned for witchcraft.
Winterthrone - 13.04.2012 at 22:14  
Ken Sorceron recently wrote on his Facebook that the next album would be in the same shades of Black Metal.
Troy Killjoy - 13.04.2012 at 22:17  
Written by Winterthrone on 13.04.2012 at 22:14
Ken Sorceron recently wrote on his Facebook that the next album would be in the same shades of Black Metal.

In that case I look forward to reviewing their next release.
Opethian - 15.04.2012 at 01:01  
Killer review Troy!
Troy Killjoy - 15.04.2012 at 01:57  
Written by Opethian on 15.04.2012 at 01:01
Killer review Troy!

Thanks!
Dogsbreakfast - 15.04.2012 at 15:56  
Written by Ernis on 13.04.2012 at 21:33

Written by BoxCar Willy on 13.04.2012 at 21:20

Abigail Williams was the first American to be burned for witchcraft.

...The more you know...


As much as I've heard she was accused but she wasn't burned. In fact, as she left Salem, no one ever heard of her again.


No one is Salem was burned for witchcraft. They were either hanged, imprisoned, or crushed to death.
Protostar - 17.04.2012 at 05:44  
Another band I have loved from the very beginning, even on their first wobbly steps. Maybe it's just because I'm not a massive black metal fan or maybe it's because I prefer melo-death over "true" black metal, but I enjoyed "In The Shadow Of A Thousand Suns" and "In The Absence Of Light" to any of their work. I know it's unlikely that they'll ever go back to that sound as well but.. Those two albums will entertain me for years to come anyways no matter what direction they choose to take.
Bones222 - 14.05.2012 at 10:02  
There is an epic death/black metal growl at the commencement of track 2 "Radiance" truly sent shivers down the spine. Thanks for the review promptly purchased the album and have enjoyed so far, awesome soundtrack that matches the winter weather that is fast enshrouding us down under... winter and death are here.

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