Abigail Williams - The Accuser
Candlelight Records
Black Metal
8 songs (45' 34")
Release year: 2015
abigail williams, Candlelight Records
Reviewed by Andy

Little did I know, when I first saw Abigail Williams open for Rotting Christ back in 2011, how controversial they were to the "kvlt" black metal set -- mostly due to their past as metalcore kids born and bred in an American mall, but also because of their abrupt changes in styles every other album or so, leading inevitably to accusations of inauthenticity. Without any inkling of the endless blood being spilled in metal forums across the planet, my first thoughts were, "Hmm, very smooth production of Norwegian-style BM, especially considering the awful state of the sound system in this lovely establishment and the fact that they're an opening act, but they're not particularly authentic", nor did a later listen to some of their earlier black metal albums give me a better impression. Then, after a re-listen of Becoming, their last album, I was thinking that perhaps I misjudged them; one can see flashes of real genius on that one. But The Accuser may very well be their best yet. After years of trying out different styles with fairly low success, Abigail Williams is producing interesting, well-made, and dare I say -- authentic -- black metal music.

The first track is strong, but no real indication of a change in musical direction. Path of Broken Glass is traditional black metal -- riffs reminding one a bit of Dark Funeral in places, with the tremolo guitars and band leader Ken Sorceron's banshee scream an inoffensive nod to tradition. But The Cold Lines' slower tempo reveals that the greater sonic complexity found on Becoming hasn't gone away, as the feedback-laced melody echoes back and forth across the song as if played on some level of Tolkien's Mines of Moria.

Towards the middle of The Accuser comes the song that abruptly made me reach for the volume control to crank it up -- Will, Wish and Desire, a departure from traditional black metal riffing in favor of melodic two-guitar layers, a steadily pounding bass-and-drum section, and a melancholy tune straight out of an Imperium Decadenz album, given an extra buzz-saw edge every so often by the simple expedient of stacking extra guitar layers on top. If all the other songs on the album were garbage, I'd still consider buying it just for this track; it's a surprise and a damned good one. Nor are Sorceron's guitars the only stars of the show; Forever Kingdom of Dirt's combination of furious yet precise riffing lightens up every so often to let the bass and drumming inject complexities of their own, and still has time for soloing and introspective little riffs to show up. The black metal never goes away, but the riffs get more melodic and more of them creep in; when the solos crash in through the roof, such as in Lost Communion, it culminates the buildup of what was already a solid, atmospheric track. The clean, post-metal sound of Nuumite result in a slow and rather dreamy track that winds the listener down after the fury of its predecessors, though out of all the songs on the album, it's probably the weirdest fit of the bunch. Still good, though.

I was quite prepared to hear a decent but unexceptional album when I first picked up The Accuser, but Abigail Williams has upped their game and produced something more memorable this time around. The Accuser builds on its predecessor's strengths and provides an experience that shows how far the band has come since its early metalcore days.

Killing Songs :
The Cold Lines, Will, Wish, and Desire, Lost Communion
Andy quoted 86 / 100
Other albums by Abigail Williams that we have reviewed:
Abigail Williams - Becoming reviewed by Goat and quoted 84 / 100
Abigail Williams - In the Absence of Light reviewed by Crash and quoted 93 / 100
Abigail Williams - In the Shadow of a Thousand Suns reviewed by Alex and quoted 76 / 100
Abigail Williams - Legend reviewed by Alex and quoted 74 / 100
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