Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Review: Abigail Williams - Becoming

 This has got to be the only band that I did not find out about through my love of similar bands. Instead I discovered the Los Angeles based trio through my love of the works of Arthur Miller and while searching for inspiration for an essay that I had to write about the character from The Crucible, whose main character traits were her powerful, manipulative personality and her extreme passion, which revealed her to have a rather monstrous personality, I came across a band with the exact same name and they were powerful, played with an extreme passion and had a sound that was monstrous in it's heaviness and overwhelming sense of gloom. Most importantly having gotten into them means that taking Higher Drama in my fifth year of school has actually paid off.

 The group's third album Becoming sees the group continue to focus on creating a more traditional style of black metal and moving away further from the symphonic black metal and metalcore influence of 2008's The Light of a Thousand Suns and instead giving listeners a far more recognizable outlook of utter doom and despair.
 The rough and rustic production of lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist Ken Sorceron makes gives Becoming a much more genuine unforgiving listening experience and as Ascension Sickness gently lures listeners in with it's peaceful intergiung acoustic led intro and even managable buildup of drums from Zach Gibson until Sorceron's subsequent riff-athon with it's constant exchanges between light and heavy or gleefully fast and painfully slow maintain this rough and rollicking experience that this album is.
 Througout the album this sense of doom and despair and general evil is kept up by Sorceron's punishing demonic growling, which sound like the groans of the devil waking up on a bad day with a headache. The anger, misery and overwhelming evil they contain are very real and unescapeable.
 An influence from black and doom metal acts is ever present on Becoming, whitht he exchanges between rapid-fire and monstrously slow carries the image of the band juggling Bathory and My Dying Bride records together and influence emerging as a result. Plus a very unmistakeable Metallica reference is heard every now and again, such as in Elestial which carries the same grimnesss and lead guitar techniques as Welcome Home (Sanitarium).
 Though not as present as on their debut, symphonic moments do make various appearances on this album and when they do, know that there is no way your life can get any bleaker. Even if your own younger sibling spontaneously combusted in front of your eyes at that moment, the music would still be the main cause for feeling depressed. The addition of instruments like violins and cellos on this album drags listeners down a new realm of gloom as the slabs of heavy ryuthyms become that bit more monolithic and chilling.
 So, if looking for a good portion of blackened doom metal, Becoming may leave you a bit full at times, but the group really have gone the extra mile here to unleash a new force of power and total devastation. I'd recommend this album but a severe downer will be required if you have any hope of getting properly into it.

Abigail Williams' Becoming is out now via Candlelight Records.

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