Sunday, January 8, 2012

Abigail Williams - Becoming



To preface: cool cover. I dug the Black Dahlia Murder's similar one for Ritual-- stained-glass Satanism.

If Down can be said to be "doom [metal] for dummies," then Abigail Williams are Black Metal for Dummies. Decibel magazine called them "grimness ready for mass consumption," (pretty much the same sentiment)-- the production is solid, not nearly as "cold," or off-puttingly trebly-equalized, as are traditional black metal acts, and there's actually some melody here.

You can hum this black metal.

Abigail Williams, like similar Satanic-ish brethren Nachtmystium and Death, have an almost completely different line-up with each release; from an ego-centric/artistic standpoint, this seems ideal-- you can musically turn on a dime, so to speak, anytime the mood strikes you. Not sure if someone's been watching Disney Channel or not (I love it, myself, very inspiring sometimes), but that might explain some... uh, memorable leanings here.

Track two, "Radiance" opens with a beautiful ambient/emo riff that's Darkthrone cut with a dusting of Selena Gomez (or whoever her writer is); "Elestial," at around around 3:00 slows down from its blast-beat assault and almost sounds like the dirge of some forgotten fallen angel lieutenant to Lucifer; "Infinite Fields of Mind" opens with wind and ocean sounds and acoustic guitar before becoming a fairly typical black metal blasty-beaty tune; "Beyond the Veil" (a nearly 18-minute behemoth) opens with a solo violin and proceeds to hit every ambient/black metal trope (though quite memorably); and closer "Three Days of Darkness" is an instrumental that sounds very like the intro to Stryper's "To Hell With the Devil" (irony!).

Overall, this seems like "transitional/ gateway" black metal-- like Fear Factory, it's got the imagery, and, for the most part, the adherence to the tropes of an extreme form of music, but only enough of them to "represent" the genre while simultaneously being as inviting as possible using melody and hooks. Who knows-- maybe this'll be what gets 2012's version of a 12-year-old Chronos into black metal?

What a strange concept: commercialized black metal. Granted, not tr00 or kvlt... but what if this market, arguably the absolute last market to be blood-sucked for commerical appeal-- was co-opted by Big Business?

After that, what's LEFT?

Remember the joke, "If Napalm Death got any heavier, they'd hit some sort of heaviness continuum and become Air Supply?"

I doubt [in my perhaps-"old-fogy"-ness] if you can get any "heavier" than black metal. No faster, not meaner in lyrical spirit, no more (sometimes) detuned....

So, then, musically-speaking, what musical artifacts are we leaving for future generations of angst-y teens to avoid/ abandon/ abjure?

I can't think of anything (sonically-speaking) that would even qualify as "music."

What, then? Will teenagers of the near future eschew music entirely, as something from the past-- like the Charleston was for your Grandparents?

That's a chilling thought.

I think Abigail Williams made an album much more horrifying than they intended--

however unintentionally.

But you're curious now... aren't you?

--Horn

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