Abigail Williams - In the Shadow of a Thousand Suns

Named after one of the principal accusers of the Salem witch trials of 1692, which ended with 19 presumably innocent people executed to death under accusations of practising witchcraft, Abigail Williams is a North-American group delving into a Black-Metal-tinged sonority somewhat indebted to UK’s Cradle of Filth.
Their excessive use of keyboards to convey the songs with an obscure and terrifying atmosphere coupled with vocalist’s Sorceron persistent practise of high-pitched Dani Filth-styled screeches are the most easily recognisable traits that brought to mind such comparison.
Exhibiting a great production work from Death-Metal guitar maestro James Murphy, “In the Shadow of a Thousand Suns” is actually the group’s debut full-length album, following a well-received EP named “Legends”. Thought I’m not familiar with their previous release I recall reading something along the line of a Metalcore act trying to linger over Norse Black-Metal. Well unless someone is pulling the shit with such observations, aside from their well-adjusted slightly hardcore image eschewing the corpse-paint of their Norwegian counterparts, I really can’t hear that much Metalcore input here. It’s essentially a symphonic and absurdly ferocious take on Black-Metal, neither wholly Norse-influenced nor exclusively similar to Brits Cradle of Filth. Well-written and well-played, songs such as “The World Beyond”, “Acolytes” and “Into the Ashes” do see the band deftly treading the cold, atmospheric and vile path explored by COF on albums like “Cruelty and the Beast”, while tracks like “Empyrean: Into the Cold Wastes” witness Abigail Williams bordering on an almost Norse relentless savagery. It should be mentioned that “In the Shadow of a Thousand Suns” features the fantastic and powerful drummer Trym Torson from Emperor/Zyklon fame, which enhanced these ten songs with an incredible nasty and furiously fast performance.
Although their synth-drenched sections owe a lot to COF’s influence, there’s occasionally a glimpse glow that indicates other inspirations as well like for example “A Thousand Suns”, its strange and progressive leanings are certainly more reminiscent of someone like Arcturus.
Bottom line, Abigail Williams is a band to watch out and “In the Shadow of a Thousand Suns” a record to hear, despite its derivative side.

Band info: www.myspace.com/abigailwilliams
Label info: www.candlelightrecords.co.uk