The historical Abigail Williams played a crucial role as one of the main accusers during the notorious Salem (US) witch trials. It also happens to be the name of a melodic black metal band from Phoenix, Arizona. Ironically the band fell victim to a modern form of witch hunt, shortly after the release of their debut album. According to many black metal purists it contained influences from metalcore, which is apparently pure blasphemy in their eyes. After long bouts of touring Abigail Williams are finally back with a new album, entitled In The Absence Of Light.
Personally I don’t give a damn about what so-called purists have to say. If they want to cling on to their early Mayhem, Burzum and Darkthrone material and whine about it, that’s their call. Anyway, there are no metalcore influences to be found on In The Absence Of Light and it’s actually rawer in nature. The music reminds me of the later Old Man’s Child material and there are some flourishes of Keep Of Kalessin as well. This is especially apparent on faster tracks like What Hell Awaits Me and In Death Comes The Great Silence.
The epic feel and grandeur of Old Man’s Child shines through clearly on Hope The Great Betrayal, Final Destiny Of The Gods, The Mysteries That Bind and Malediction. These tracks also feature a nice set of melodic guitar leads, atmospheric keyboard parts and assorted elements which enhance the melodic and symphonic character of Abigail Williams. Mind you, this isn’t Dimmu Borgir’s Death Cult Armageddon or Abrahadabra. The music on this album is firmly guitar driven. The keyboard parts are merely there to convey a certain feel of darkness.
Despite the musical talent displayed on In The Absence Of Light and the presence of killer tracks like the aforementioned Hope The Great Betrayal, Final Destiny Of Gods and In Death Comes The Great Silence the album tends to become a tad aimless towards the end. This is certainly the case on An Echo In Our Legends, one the album’s lesser inspired moments. Luckily the sheer force of Malediction smoothes these ruffled feathers.
In The Absence Of Light by Abigail Williams packs quite a punch and should appeal to the Keep Of Kalessin and Old Man’s Child fan base. Abigail Williams may somewhat lack the finesse of those bands, but they have certainly managed to turn me over with this album. Recommended!
written by Raymond Westland