Abigail Williams - Becoming
Candlelight Records
Atmospheric Black Metal
6 songs (55:06)
Release year: 2012
abigail williams, Candlelight Records
Reviewed by Goat

Call me prejudiced, but I had dismissed Abigail Williams as a blackened deathcore band before now, partly because that's what they sounded like, and partly because I didn't give 2010's In The Absence Of Light a good chance. The band have been steadily moving away from 'core for a while now, it seems, leading to their third full-length being a very different beast to that which you'd normally associate with them. We'll leave the whys and wherefores for the forum - quite how switching from 'core to a purer black metal sound could be construed as a cash grab is beyond me, but I'm sure some will accuse Abigail Williams of that. The harshest I would be is that these frequent stylistic changes come across not as restless genius looking for new territory to conquer, but as talented musiciams unsure of where that talent is best used. Still, surely all can agree that the fact they've used that talent here and now for Becoming is proof of some worth, at least.

Why? Simply put, Becoming is a damn good album. Opening with the eleven-minute surge of energy that is Ascension Sickness, building from plucked acoustics to almost - almost Drudkhian powerful riffage, screams and subtly-woven melodies helping to create a nicely psychedelic effect that reminds me of both early Emperor and the Cascadian tree-hugger brigade. Sure, the lyrics are a little hokey ("...surrender to the magnificence of my own being..." - !) and it's nothing that an avid black metal listener of the past few years won't have heard already, but it's done very well and holds your attention, little drum trills and breaks in the action for atmospheric violin-and-female-vocal caresses making an appearance to keep you gripped.

It's a hard album to pick holes in. The build-up in the second half of Radiance is a shock, the first half being rather dull, coming from nowhere and making you sit up and listen as the ensuing rush of black metal shriekiness falls around your ears. Infinite Fields Of Mind goes soft and melodic at first, with gently crashing waves in the background and an almost Burzumic repetitive melody upfront before launching into violence, and turning catchy towards the end with some mid-paced knees-up riffing. Seventeen-minute finale Beyond The Veil, meanwhile, starts with a lovely bit of unaccompanied violin before going all melodic and doomy on you. The track has something of a different vibe to the rest of the album, the violins continuing beneath almost prog metal riffage, a melancholic folky atmosphere prevalent that would make for an interesting future line of exploration for the band. Wherever Abigail Williams head next, if it's half as good as Becoming then I'll be following in admiration.

Killing Songs :
Ascension Sickness, Infinite Fields Of Mind, Beyond The Veil
Goat quoted 84 / 100
Other albums by Abigail Williams that we have reviewed:
Abigail Williams - The Accuser reviewed by Andy and quoted 86 / 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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