23 January 2012
by Andy Parker
Abigail Williams is the sole brainchild of Ken Sorceron, a man who has purged and rebuilt his empire several times over in the search of his “true” sound. Becoming sees the band’s creator and leader finally making some serious headway into reaching that goal.
The tone of Becoming is set by that of the opening track, ‘Ascension Sickness’ – a slow building atmospheric piece, which before the first hallowed screams of Sorceron could be mistaken for one of the post-rock elite. During the 11-minute warm-up, it pitches and yaws through several passages before fading through a sombre string arrangement, underlined with more traditional black metal blastbeats.
By far the most accomplished release from Abigail Williams so far, Becoming sees a mixture of Celtic influence and the aforementioned post/math-rock genre create a fresher, haunting affair. Although some of the more traditional derivative black metal manoeuvres are still present, the guitar work is what really hits this one home. It makes for a dramatic improvement on their heavily-criticised second album, In The Absence Of Light, which depended so much on the works of the Scandinavian Second Wave that it might as well have been re-titled The Beginner’s Guide to Norwegian Church Burning, all the whilst bringing absolutely nothing new to the (desecrated) altar.
Watch Abigail Williams throw a dildo at iwrestledabearonce (c/o The Gauntlet):
With Becoming, Sorceron has thrown his musical irons into the same forge that cast the likes of Neurosis, Cult of Luna or Isis. It’s this leaning towards the progressive metal sounds of the aforementioned that’s given Abigail Williams an opportunity to evolve further than many of the other current bands trying to tack whatever gimmicks they can off of the side of black metal. That said, there’s certainly still room for improvement. ‘Radiance’ virtually puts a halt to the flow created by ‘Ascension Sickness’, with its stripped down and more doom-laden intro. It’s not until halfway through the track (and taking a slightly wider context, the album as a whole) that things start to regain their former intensity again.
Sorceron has come a long way since those awkward deathcore crossover beginnings, and is slowly becoming a man to be recognised and appreciated. It’ll be interesting to see where Abigail Williams take it from here.
Sounds Like: Mayhem, Katatonia, The Fall Of Efrafra, Neurosis, Gorgoroth
Standout Tracks: Ascension Sickness, Beyond The Veil