Review Summary: While now defunt, Abigail Willaims showed all of us what they could have become with just a little more fine-tuning.
By: Eric Smith (www.thrashpit.com)
I want to make this very clear early on in this review: Abigail Williams is NOT a metalcore band. They have no semblance to the genre whatsoever musically. This is straight-up melodic death metal with traces of symphonic black metal to go along with it. I hear no such "breakdowns" or gang vocals on this EP to warrant them such a label. So the metalcore purists need to shut the hell up and keep on fighting invisible ninjas; you know, what they do best…
Oh, and the black metal purists are "labeling" the band due to the fact that they wear non-kvlt clothes and don totally un-necr0 hairdos. My message to these people; get a life and leave mommy's basement, please.
Abigail Williams is a group that hails from the snowy, frostbitten plains of… Phoenix, Arizona. Certainly not the most frigid climate around, but the layers of blackened metal that permeate this EP would make you think that this stuff was from some of the great Nordic lands themselves!
The way I like to describe their sound is a mix of The Black Dahlia Murder (funny considering the drummer on this record was Zach Gibson, ex-BDM member) with a small influential chunk from symphonic bands such as Emperor or Dimmu Borgir… but only a minute amount. The riffing style, however, seems to take inspiration from many Gothenburg-style bands, such as Dark Tranquility and Impious. The only real qualms I have with Abigail Williams' sound is that many of the riffs tend to blur together (I call this the "Sweden Syndrome") and sound the same. Never fear, however, there is enough variation in the songs themselves to keep those with a low attention span interested.
While mixing these particular genres is nothing particularly new (Bleeding Through is well known for their "hardcore/black/death/thrash" style of insanity) Abigail Williams does it in such an overtly symphonic and tasteful way much someone like Bleeding Through does.
Vocals here are more akin to traditional black metal, with some very underpowered death metal grunts, and background clean vocals (and those are used VERY sparingly). Most of this album, vocally, is shrill blackened screaming (provided by band frontman Ken Sorceron) that is non-stop and unrelenting. While Ken is quite adept at what he does, there is little variation in his vocal tonality, so it can be quite wearing on the ears at times, but at the same time it fully puts into perspective the sheer intensity of this kind of music as well.
Lyrically, this band is nothing new. Love, darkness, despair, and hate are the prominent lyrical themes here, and they are written in such a way that they almost come off as (somewhat) dark gothic poetry. Not everyone's cup of tea, I realize, but I enjoy it.
I realize there has been a lot of hype with this group, and currently there is a lot of trash-talk about them as well. But here is the ultimate, unbiased, word on Abigail Williams: they are a bunch young, obviously talented people who have an idea on where to take their concept of black metal. Whether they will accomplish this mission and sway the masses is only for time to tell. There is one important thing for all to remember there, though…
THIS IS JUST AN EP!!!
We will all have to wait for their full LP to hear just what this beast has to offer… but consider me an early fan, nonetheless.