Starting out as a symphonic metalcore band, Abigail Williams have come a long way in their career, with their latest release, the aptly named Walk Beyond the Dark, venturing further into foggy, frostbitten lands (perhaps inspired by a move from Arizona to Olympia, Washington). It’s been four years since The Accuser (and album which received mixed reviews) and Abigail Williams have certainly been through trying times. The one long standing member, founder and sole creator Ken Sorceron has remained stoic and proud, stuck to his guns and with Walk Beyond The Dark produced a beautifully devastating and dynamic masterpiece that is a joy to listen to over and over again. The album also comes adorned with the stunning artwork of Mariusz Lewandowski, best known for Bell Witch‘s Mirror Reaper, hinting at the bleak atmosphere that the album will bring along with the glimmers of light breaking through the darkness.
Displaying influences of Wolves In The Throne Room and Aanal Nathrakh, Walk Beyond The Dark is an adventure through wintery landscapes, blackened skies, looming icy mountains and dark, solitary forests with the occasional uplifting layer shining through like light filtering through a tree stripped bare. More than that though it is a journey through a tortured but ultimately triumphant and determined mind.
‘I Will Depart’ is an unapologetic full black metal assault starting out with frost bitten guitar notes and launching into rasping snarls. The chords and drumming are fairly basic more similar to dare it be said ‘mainstream’ black metal such as Dimmu Borgir, but where this track lacks originality and dynamism the following tracks more than make up for it as the album ascends in its dynamics, emotion and awe factor. ‘Sun and Moon’ picks up the pace with a folky/Viking and post metal vibe, bolstered by primitive drumming and oscillating guitar tones which pick up pace to speedy tremolos and blast beats alongside anguished howls with furious cymbal splashes all suddenly punctuated by a mournful cello interwoven into the tangled chaos. The fast pace continues through the shortest track ‘Ever So Bold’ which is quite possibly the most ferocious of the album with more lightning fast galloping palm muting and blast beats and poignant solos amidst the filth, building to a triumphant sounding finale.
Elsewhere, ‘Born of Nothing’ begins with slow, solemn guitar strums and cello, transitioning into more blackened ferociousness before breaking down once again. Final track ‘The Final Failure’ is anything but. The storm of light and dark rages on in a tumultuous cacophony of orchestral layers, thunderous blast beats, torturous snarling and deep threatening growls and even the odd bit of clean vocals and complex searing guitar solos. It’s a truly great finish that should see Abigail Williams receiving the recognition they have been yearning for.
Walk Beyond The Dark is out now via Blood Music and can be purchased here.
Words: Abigail Coulson