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Abigail Williams - "In The Absence Of Light" (CD)

Abigail Williams - "In The Absence Of Light" CD cover image

"In The Absence Of Light" track listing:

1. Hope The Great Betrayal (6:44)
2. Final Destiny Of The Gods (8:15)
3. The Mysteries That Bind The Flesh (6:51)
4. Infernal Divide (4:59)
5. In Death Comes The Great Silence (6:17)
6. What Hells Await Me (4:47)
7. An Echo In Our Legends (4:59)
8. Malediction (7:01)

Reviewed by on September 18, 2010

"The deathcore tones that annoyed all the black metal fans from the band’s earliest demo have all been mercilessly eradicated, but so too has the non-stop aggression from the first full-length album 'In The Shadow of a Thousand Suns.'"

Abigail Williams can’t seem to sit still long enough to nail down a specific sound, which is both a good and bad thing. Whether it’s cycling through 16 or so band members, briefly calling it quits and getting back together, or heading out on tour, the band just can’t peg a specific spot on the genre scale. The deathcore tones that annoyed all the black metal fans from the band’s earliest demo have been mercilessly eradicated, but so too has the non-stop aggression from the first full-length album “In The Shadow of a Thousand Suns” (reviewed here).

The latest release, “In The Absence of Light,” settles for a more mid-paced affair that is significantly more restrained and frequently comes off as Dimmu Borgir or Cradle of Filth worship. It’s hard to say whether that’s maturation, or the band is just suffering identity crisis and decided to emulate the European acts when other ideas ran dry. There are times when vocalist Sorceron does a nearly perfect Dani Filth impression, and the guitar work frequently makes one wonder if a Dimmu track got snuck in by mistake.

The opening song is one of the few instances where the symphonic and atmospheric elements make a significant appearance, as they have been toned down significantly from earlier Abigail Williams. To make up for the symphonic shift, the music uses frequent tempo changes and even throws in a few mainstream elements that almost take certain songs into “black ‘n roll” territory. The random rock-themed backing guitar solos are the main drag away from European black metal, giving the music some needed depth and variation.

While “In The Shadow of a Thousand Suns” moved at a blistering pace and shredded apart anything in its path, “In the Absence of Light” is more slow moving and introspective. Rather than hitting that sweet spot where the music drags a listener in and takes them along, it instead ends up in a place where it’s all too easy to accidentally zone out and suddenly realize several songs have passed by.

“In the Absence of Light” is yet another turning point for Abigail Williams, and whether the fans accept it will depend on how much they dig a more European style of melodic black metal. Some of the best aspects from the last album, like the frantic screams, relentless pace, and infrequent clean vocals, have all been scrubbed clean and cast aside. It’s not a total wash though, as the album is still a solid and professional sounding piece of black metal that’s worth checking out.

Highs: Proffesional and polished sound, some interesting "black 'n roll" elements.

Lows: Frequently sounds too much like Dimmu Borgir, and the album is easy to accidentaly tune out.

Bottom line: Less aggressive and unique than the last album, but still worth it for fans of European style melodic black metal.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls


Key
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)