Album Review: Abigail Williams – Becoming [9.5 out of 10]

By Andrew Bansal

Los Angeles-based extreme metal band Abigail Williams have always intrigued me  with their music. Their albums are ‘records’ in the truest sense of the word, because they represent where the band stood musically at that point in time, and have little to no relation with the other releases. Each of their previous three releases presents a completely different musical style. While the 2006 debut EP “Legend” showcases their metalcore influences, the first full-length album “In The Shadow Of A Thousand Suns” came out in 2008 and can be described a symphonic black metal record. The next album “In The Absence Of Light” shed all of those symphonic elements and offers a pure black metal sound to its listeners. Now they are ready to release their third full-length, “Becoming”, which hits the US market on January 24th 2012, and presents yet another new facet of Abigail Williams’ musicianship.

As with the past albums mentioned above, this is a fresh musical chapter for the band, but this one is undoubtedly their darkest, most epic, and most complex album till date. It justifies its title brilliantly, because it shows the extent to which Ken Sorceron and his band mates have developed as musicians. The standard edition consists of 6 tracks adding up to a duration of 55 minutes, and the digital version includes a bonus track titled “Akasha”. Having said that, I find it impossible to analyze or review any of these individual tracks, because when I listen to this album, it feels like a single 55-minute track to me. The kind of quality, style and structure it possesses simply makes it mandatory for the listener to enjoy this album in its entirety. I’ve always been a sucker for album-oriented rock, and Abigail Williams’ “Becoming” satisfies my needs when it comes to that aspect.

It builds up gradually and beautifully in the first ten minutes or so, creating the desired ambience and easing the listener into what follows. Although the overall sound of the album exudes a melancholic feel, it has a certain degree of grittiness to it that will be well appreciated by black metal fans. This comes mainly due to Sorceron’s vocals and Zach Gibson’s drumming. The album is structured excellently well. Even though it consists of varying patterns, it has a very natural flow to it. The production also does complete justice to what the band is trying to achieve here. It’s raw enough to highlight the harsh segments of the music, but still clean enough to showcase the epic, melancholic element.

This is most certainly my favorite Abigail Williams album, one that captures my imagination to the fullest extent. If you’re looking for a fast-paced, breakneck type of extreme metal album, this is not your thing. But if you are generally able to look beyond sub-genre confinements to appreciate good music, this comes as a strongly recommended album from me. The release date is just about right as well, because the music on this album fits perfectly with the winter season. All in all, “Becoming” is an amazingly epic, expressive and thought-provoking piece of music that sees Abigail Williams reach a new level of musicianship.

Rating: 9.5/10

US Release Date: January 24th 2012
Label: Candlelight Records

Track Listing:
1. Ascension Sickness
2. Radiance
3. Elestial
4. Infinite Fields Of Mind
5. Beyond The Veil
6. Three Days Of Darkness

Related: Ken Sorceron interview