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Abigail Williams, a band that confuses me to this day. They started as a metalcore-ish tinged symphonic black metal band, then went to worship Emperor with their "In the Absence of Light" album. Now, they play what can only be described as atmospheric black metal with a lot of post-rock and ambient influences, and heavy metal passages. In short, this is an awesome amalgamation. This mixture creates an awesome atmosphere throughout the entire album. In fact, "Becoming" may be their strongest, best effort yet, I am indeed in love with this album because it almost brings me back to the early days of Agalloch. This album does indeed lack in one vital point (that is why it did not receive a perfect hundred) is because it lacks originality, and it's a bit loose, meaning that some of the passages in the tracks seem as if they don't belong, like that strange growl at about 8-9 minutes into "Ascension Sickness," I think I may have giggled. But everything else is indeed a masterpiece of USBM. It may not spark a "new wave of American black metal" but this record may solidify Abigail Williams and their importance in American black metal.
My favorite tracks on this record are "Beyond the Veil" and "Infinite Fields of Mind." I like "Beyond the Veil" mainly because of it's awesome length (epic standard), classical influences, and amazing instrumentation. This is the track where the post-rock/ambient influences shine. Epic may be overused, but I will use it here, this track is EPIC. I also think "Infinite Fields of Mind" is a highlight, because this is the track where the black metal shines through the bleak, darkened atmosphere of this album and pierces through your speakers. Blast beats and tremolo picking, the usual black metal elements just glisten here.
Pick this album up as soon as you can, it is a must for atmospheric black metal fans. That's how I got here, I heard about these guys a lot but never really enjoyed their stuff until now. At this rate, these guys will be some of the best black-metallers on the Western hemisphere, but let's not bite our tongues, they might have just got lucky.