It seems there’s been no easy way with Abigail Williams, as the band has been all over the chart from album to album. But with an ever changing line up it seems excusable. That, or original member Ken Sorceron (Bro Jovi, ex-Lord Mantis, among a fuckton of other things) is following whatever sounds he’s focused on at the time. So it should come as no surprise to listeners that…The Accuser is another different approach for the band. And for those that loved their solid 2012 Becoming it’s worth recognizing that Abigial Williams has very possibly become their most sinister incarnation yet.
A part of me thinks it sucks to say this, it oft seems like the best way to describe an Abigail Williams album is to name drop. The Accuser bombs on with “Path of Broken Glass” like it’s suddenly playing Under the Sign of Hell. Those that came to love the depressive Wolves in the Throne Room-esque Becoming and were hoping for a part two are going to find that The Accuser is waist deep in old school, raw black metal. And “Path of Broken Glass” is the perfect introductory piece. Sorceron’s vocal attack is fierce while the instrumentation shoves forward, breaking down here and there but never feeling like its taking time to breath.
And though aggression is the name of Abigail William’s game this time, the band still makes time for melody and mood. Instead of continuing their savage assault, the second track “The Cold Lines” brings out moody qualities. Screams and howls drift throughout as the instruments maintain a cold, eerie quality. With these two tracks it’s like the band want to show their cards and competence immediately. It feels almost reassuring. And though there the peek at what to expect for the following tracks may hold that reassurance, the album luckily never feels safe.
Abigail Williams maintain a balancing act as The Accuser drives on. Tracks swoop between thundering tempos with skin peeling shrieks/screams, and melodic sections that are sometimes beautiful, and sometimes harrowing. Never does it feel like the band is exhausting anything because nothing is ever held for very long. The band always manages to maintain something interesting or captivating. Arguably the album’s best track “Wish, Will, and Desire” has one of the steadiest beats on the whole album and consistently comes at us with a swelling chorus and stellar leads.
If you’ve had issue with Abigail Williams in the past (albeit their generic Dimmu Borgir worship or their deathcore days) don’t let that stop you from listening to what is actually a fantastically composed album. The Accuser stands as my favorite incarnation of the band’s material. The old school mentality gives the band a serious edge, though their still not without modern influence in the post metal world (we’re “post” everything these days, aren’t we?). Those that love Gorgoroth and Emperor, but can stand to see flashes of bands like Pelican in their black metal take note and get on this one.
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