Ah yes, Abigail Williams, a band that was once compared to Winds of Plague on account of similar musical direction and frequent turnover of hot female keyboardists (in fact, some of them were in both bands at different times). This American outfit's change in music from symphonic death-core to atmospheric black metal might be the reverse of what's expected from a band in mainstream metal; several bands have changed direction from less mainstream to metal-core, while others, such as AW and Job for a Cowboy, have shrugged off the mainstream sound and gained underground metal fans while maintaining much of their mainstream fan-base. This newest release, "The Accuser", not only pays some homage to the band's namesake with its title, but also makes the listener wonder if it really is the same band that released "In the Shadow of a Thousand Suns" just over half a decade ago (spoiler alert: it is).
Black metal has certainly always flirted hard with ambient sounds, as though it were designed to lure the listener into a dark misty forest before being sacrificed by the band. Now that the death-core element is gone from AW, this album follows in the old Scandinavian black metal footsteps effectively. The mix brought the Canadian band Adversarial (whose album I reviewed weeks ago) to mind, as the music retained the rawness that is expected of black metal along with the ambiance and vocal effects; however, I can thankfully hear the guitar this time. Once again, I'm not overly fond of growl/scream vocals with effects, but it doesn't take away from the listening experience here, and Ken's vocals are more distinct than one would expect from ambient black metal. The music itself is somewhat melodic while remaining stylistically faithful, concluding with a beautiful and melodious track, "Nuumite", in which the vocals take a backseat.
No holds barred in this album, and all influences outside of the black metal genre have been dropped like a sack of potatoes; this might have resulted from the band retaining Ken Sorceron as the only consistent member. The cover art for this release is something that I would have expected from an up-and-coming Periphery wannabe, rather than a black metal band. The one real gripe that I have is the same as my last review, Horrendous' album "Anareta": the track lengths change drastically at first. I wonder that's a formula of sorts?
My rating: 7/10
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