Abigail Williams – The Accuser (Candlelight)

Tuesday, 24th November 2015
Rating: 7.5/10

The longstanding complaint with Abigail Williams is that they’re almost too adaptable to the times. When keyboard-dominated, metalcore-influenced black metal started to head on out, so did Abigail Williams. When the flourishes of the Pacific Northwest became popular, Abigail Williams bought the line. And now that mangled, discordant black metal is the thing, Abigail Williams, like previous times, are on that train as well. The band, led by main dude Ken Sorceron, have proven, however, that regardless of the trends, they can hang in there, something brought to light with their fourth album, The Accuser.

Lots of uncomfortable riff strands to work with across the album’s eight cuts. The regular melodic thread that AW were so fond of has been nearly abandoned altogether, although there are a few utterly long melodies dished out. Here, the band works off of a continuous pile-on of atmosphere-on-abstract ideas, many of which push the brutality envelope, as so heard on “Path of Broken Glass” and in particular, “Godhead.” (Drummer Charlie Fell, he of Lord Mantis and Nachtmystium fame is a standout.) Yet the album’s two breakout moments, “The Cold Lines” and “Nummite” are rife with lush passages that if you want to run up that hill, could nip at the heels at the most dreaded current “black metal” band of ’em, Deafheaven.

Such will be the long-running conundrum for Abigail Williams, who in the process of changing their sound so many times, have still managed to remain as one of American black metal’s more interesting acts. The Accuser should properly shift the conversation into more stable, positive directions for Abigail Williams, who should stay on this tract and exploit it, for once.

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