01. Ascension Sickness
04. Infinite Fields Of Mind
05. Three Days Of Darkness
06. Beyond The Veil
Well, Abigail Williams is a band that’s really hard not to have an infected opinion about. Everywhere I turn someone has to either spew gall over the band’s constantly changing style or hail their high level of adaptability. In a way this type of music is always going to be divided into two camps: the fuming crew of elitists and kvlt members of the black metal underground, and the fuming fans rising to protect their masters from the unjust critique of the dark side. To be totally honest I have no opinion about this band whatsoever and after listening to their latest album “Becoming” not much has changed. Abigail Williams is just one of those bands that fails to strike an interest in me. The songs are not so bad that they deserve to be cursed for eternity by those claiming that this is just a blatant copy of older bands such as Dimmu Borgir or Emperor, nor are they anywhere near being Wolves in the Throne Room. To me, “Becoming” is just another decent black metal release from the US, nothing special in any way and a few of the songs are actually quite catchy, but they fail to spark even a slight interest in me – but is my lack of interest enough to let my hammer fall over these really skilled musicians? Hardly…
The overall production of the album is a bit fuzzy and that’s not a bad thing, rather the opposite. The atmosphere in the different songs feels quite at phase with the rather rough sound of the overall mix and the various violins and chimes used during some of the tracks really work well in the mist of the, I hope, intended mediocre mix. The guitars are quite enjoyable in some tracks and Ascension Sickness is really crowned by some pretty damn good riffs that burst through and connect with a more primitive side of me. The songs are overall quite lengthy with the winner being Beyond the Veil who clocks at well above 17 minutes: luckily this song is one of the brightest stars on the whole album and despite lacking in some apartments the overall aesthetics and instruments strike me as suiting it. I find it hard to complain about “Becoming” in the same way that I had problems complaining about the new prequel/remake of John Carpenters “The Thing”. It looked all right and entertained me to a point but having grown up with the pure masterwork of suspense and horror that is the 1982 version it’s just felt bland and uninteresting. I hate to join in the chant but the problem with black metal today is this stagnant feeling I get whenever a new release lands in my lap and it is all the same thing put through the same mould over and over again.
The time of judgement is now, and for me the conclusion is that Abigail Williams have potential but sadly fail to achieve anything highly memorable in “Becoming”. It is an OK work of black metal by a band who have a hunch of what they are doing but can’t really aim their efforts to a single vision. In the global scene of today where a legion of black metal bands which come and go – one must find something that is truly unique and really works to make it stick out from the black mass, like a lighthouse in the middle of a raging storm. “Becoming” is only the tip of the iceberg and Abigail Williams is not the first band that I find possessing quality lurking in their pit of insecurity or whatever emotion or universal law holds them back. For die-hard fans this album might be highly recommended, but for ordinary listeners of black metal this is a decent album if you happen to have too much disposable income and little to spend it on. Hey, at least it’s way better than “From The Depths Of Darkness”.