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Abigail Williams - "The Accuser" (CD)

Abigail Williams - "The Accuser" CD cover image

"The Accuser" track listing:

1. Path Of Broken Glass
2. The Cold Lines
3. Of The Outer Darkness
4. Will, Wish And Desire
5. Godhead
6. Forever Kingdom Of Dirt
7. Lost Communion
8. Nuummite

Reviewed by on January 22, 2016

"As usual, don't expect whatever sound was dominant on the previous album, as our dear Abigail moves away from the 17 minute psychedelic songs and dives into the misanthropic U.S. black metal sound instead."

After the “farewell” tours, canceled breakups, location changes, and more lineup shifts than I can count, Abigail Williams continues the trend of sub-genre jumping on every single release with fourth full-length album “The Accuser.” As usual, don't expect whatever sound was dominant on the previous album, as our dear Abigail moves away from the 17 minute psychedelic songs and dives into the misanthropic U.S. black metal sound instead.

There's always been a weird inverse correlation between the latest Abigail Williams album release and the quality of the production – it's gotten worse (or in black metal terms, more “tvue” and “lo-fi”) with every album. On schedule, there's a much more raw sound here than “In The Absence of Light.” Whereas “In The Absence Of Light” was very strongly a European symphonic sound, this time around the band has gone way more misanthropic, with a hint of the experimental edge from “Becoming.”

If you dig black metal that hates existence, then that's a good combo to have, and you can't help but notice a Nachtmystium feel to some of these songs. In some cases the nihilism doesn't play out as well though. One element that doesn't work and should have been cut was the annoying-as-fuck amp feedback that starts several tracks. The non-stop feedback sounds kicking off the first 20 seconds to “Of The Outer Darkness” are obnoxious, and they only get worse from there.

Opening track “Path Of Broken Glass” starts out very prototypical with the constant blast beats and shrieks, but throws in some odd melodies and a-typical hoarse vocals that are more avant-garde. That slightly off kilter approach occurs on most of these tracks, with the guitars doing more traditional metal sounds while the drums and vocals are pulling straight into kvlt black metal station. The guitar play on “Will, Wish, and Desire” for instance is almost a ballad - very hopeful and pleasant sounding - contrasting harshly with the other elements.

On a similar note, “The Cold Lines” is much more atmospheric, but somehow doesn't give up the heaviness in weird and interesting combo. Showcasing some doom influence, the song slows way down part way through. Changing gears further, final track “Nuumite” also slows down, but focuses on twangy guitars and melancholy clean vocals for a twist ending.

While “In The Shadow Of A Thousand Suns” tore my face off and made me beg for more with its mix of extremely black metal with symphonic elements, this time around the nihilistic sound is less aggressive, and while it's somewhat interesting, it's not exactly engaging. The experimental tone to everything with frequently changing sounds works in parts but fails in others, and the lack of a core tone doesn't really give a listener much to latch onto and get hooked. Essentially, it's a good (but not mind blowing) album from a band that really has no identity.

Highs: There's some diamonds to be found in the rough if you like odd juxtapositions of differing metal sounds.

Lows: The feedback openings are actively unpleasant, and the band's lack of identity is sort of getting out of hand.

Bottom line: Yet again Abigail Williams shifts tone entirely on this album, mixing up odd avant-garde tones with nihilistic U.S. black metal.

Rated 3 out of 5 skulls
3 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)