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Playing a mixture of deathcore and Dimmu Borgir style symphonic black metal was never going to go down well with the majority of the metal listening public. Deathcore in itself is a pretty reviled sub genre and mixing it with heavy use of orchestration certainly wouldn't bode well for most of us. However colour me surprised, instead of Legend receiving a universal backlash, it draws an unpredictably mixed response from people with a couple of positively glowing reviews.
Then again Legend isn't really a deathcore release. It's more along the lines of melodic death metal with slight core leanings and heavy use of keyboards than anything else. Legend isn't filled to the brim with palm muted chugging and sterile breakdowns, but instead the listener is treated to actual RIFFS, and thankfully the riffs themselves are well written and enjoyable to listen to. They are very Swedish in nature with immediate comparisons being drawn to Slaughter of the Soul and Heartwork. At times the riffs stop and the band leads into a breakdown but they are surprisingly effective and work well in the context of the music.
While Abigail Williams give a good mix of things there are some flaws that need mentioning. Although the keyboards are arguably the most iconic element of this EP, they're also the weakest element. They're oft overdone and can drown out the music underneath which is usually going pretty well. Matters aren't helped at all with them sounding like modern Dimmu Borgir, utterly bombastic and overdone. The keyboard player is also a self described scene chick, good god.
Legend is also wildly unfocused. A reviewer before me noted that the tracks become more black metal as it goes on. I agree with this but also means the band struggles to find an identity as they're unsure of what type of band they want to be. Songs offer a mix of melodeath riffs, Dani Filth styled vocals, Gothic keyboards and hard hitting breakdowns. At times the juxtaposition of these contrasting elements can work well as is the case with the first three tracks but after than it just becomes far too random and unfocused for its own good.
A much more focused and refined sense of song writing would go a long way with helping Legend. The ideas the band presents are good but the execution is flawed. Ideas come and go without any thought as to how they transition leading an almost bipolar quality to the music. Thankfully the music itself is quite memorable. The second and third tracks have some truly stand out riffs, with the third track having a line that is really quite emotional. Atmosphere is pretty good throughout with a focus on sounding icy whilst also being bombastic with the inclusion of the orchestral arrangements. It's fairly similar to modern Dimmu Borgir with a modern melodic death metal edge. You should know if you want to check this release out based solely upon my previous description.
Well what do you know, apparently two genres I dislike can come together quite well. I don't like black metal and I like deathcore even less, but for whatever reason this EP works with the melodic influences it includes. Certainly deserves more than a big fat 0% anyway.
Okay, admittedly the drums are about nothing but being fast at some points, but that's not too bad. It could be worse. And okay, there are moments of chugging that - while subtle - are not the most enjoyable thing ever. And yes, the vocals are pretty shit. Gloss over all of that though and you have a decently enjoyable record.
The thing that I will bash more than I already have though are the vocals. I strongly dislike them. Too reminiscent of screaming, not enough force behind them. They come from the throat and aren't very pleasant to listen to and they do detract a fair amount from the overall record. This all applies to the unclean vocals, but the clean ones are actually very nice. I'd recommend that they stick to them, but my advice has probably come a bit too late.
The thing that really makes the record enjoyable is the use of melodies throughout. It brings everything up notch, hiding the horrible core noise that the guitars would otherwise be making. The use of keyboards is also excellent and they really add an extra element of depth to the mix. Honestly, they're probably the best part, not least because they help to drown out the horrid vocals. Sadly they don't do the same for the drums, which are a bit too prominent, but you can't have it all.
Admittedly the EP gets worse as it goes on and by the end you're willing it to stop, but there are good things to take out of this. There's a sign of promise here, but sadly if other review scores mean anything than they failed to live up to the early expectations. Sad really, but I could kind of see it coming. Worth a listen, but not really much more than that.
Before ascending to the realm of full on symphonic black(ish) metal, Abigail Williams walked a fine line between these embryonic symphonic elements and sounds rooted in metalcore sensibilities. However, this is by no means as offensive as the palm-muted bro metal that crowds the genre’s arteries today, and Legend is actually quite an enjoyable little excursion.
Yielding to the pull of melodic deathcore rather than the full-blown epic nature of the band’s later years, keyboards still add a layer of grandeur to compositions that are generally of a melodeath slant. Though the obligatory breakdowns do surface, they do not ruin the experience. The musicians are good, and the music itself is fiercely energetic, featuring a good variety of towering, icy passages, slower theatricality, and some sections of all out hurricane blasting. The production is very warm and clear, which imbues a lot of feeling to the compositions. There is a slight classical aspect to Legend as well, lending it brief moments of almost power metal flavoring. All the separate elements emerge into a short genre-blending excursion that should appeal to anyone with an open minded approach to their metal. Vocals are a shrieking blackened style, but channel the attitude and brevity of metalcore barks, sometimes reaching an impressive higher register, akin to Cradle of Filth, though not as abrasive. I was not so fond of the inclusion of emo vocals (I struggle for better descriptors, but ‘emo’ is entirely too accurate), as their whiney nature sounds extremely out of place within this musical context. Thankfully, they aren’t prevalent.
All told, this a pretty good EP. It shows Abigail Williams’ undeniable promise; the roots of their cold, harsh ethereality are present, and Legend forges its own musical identity through a well-done variety of elements. They would end up removing this dynamic juxtaposition, for better or worse, by the time their next outing surfaced. The only negatives brought to the table are a few uninspired breakdowns and some whiney crooning (which is really, really bad; I cannot stress this enough), which are definitely a blemish on an otherwise stellar EP. What I appreciate about Legend is that it just feels like Abigail Williams were having a blast. There’s a sense of youthful excitement abound within Legend that their later projects, though more musically mature, don’t quite capture. It’s that spark that makes the despotic elements forgivable, and makes Legend so much fun.
-Left Hand of Dog
I picked up the Legend ep by Abigail Williams not too long ago and was thoroughly impressed by the work they did on this cd. From the beginning track, "From the Buried Heart", it had a rather interesting start, but picked up very fast with impressive vocal work and flawlessly-done guitars, bass, and drums. Then the song "Like Carrion Birds" began with a short synthesizer opening followed quickly by fast and heavy music, keeping a very strong and consistent feel throughout the song and keeping my ears wide open. After that, the track "The Conqueror Wyrm" began and it was a little different from the beginning and on. It kept a strong feel, but was focused a little more on the synthesizer, most notably in the beginning of the song, then it felt slower, yet this was appropriate for the song itself and fit in really well with the rest of the cd. "Watchtower" started and I was completely blown away by its introduction. The synthesizer was played very appropriately with the powerful blast beats and the song's speed and power with very impressive riffs all the way through. After that, the cd came blaring the start of the song "Procession of the Aeons". It had a powerful beginning, very fast-paced and heavy, then some double bass after a few seconds was enough to put my jaw on the floor. It's an extremely heavy song with a much more powerful feeling than most of the cd and ultimately is the most impressive. A very good way to end a very good ep.
All in all, the cd was an impressive selection of songs and a good choice for under $10. I suggest this as a purchase for anyone who wants to hear the band, but does not want to buy a full album for full price. Ultimately, a powerful cd and worth the purchase, so I give it an eight out of ten.
First of all, anyone who thinks Abigail Williams is a metalcore band is an idiot. Abigail Williams is a SYMPHONIC BLACK METAL band from the US. This is their debut ep Legend. After releasing this ep, the band broke up. A couple months later they reformed with a completely different line-up except for the vocalist, Sorceron. Then, most of the new members either left or got kicked out of the band leaving just Sorceron. The old keyboardist rejoined the band and they are now working on their first full length album. Sounds like a lot for a band that has only released one ep right? What most people don't know is that this ep with just 5 songs on it is amazing.
Vocal-wise, I would describe Sorceron as a mix of Ihsahn from Emperor and Dani Filth from Cradle of Filth. Believe me that's definitely not a bad thing. This guy has the potential to be on of the best vocalists in the black metal scene. You will also hear him let out a death metal growl more than once during this album. The only complaint I have about him is that he also has a whiny emo/metalcore-like singing voice to go along with his amazing black and death metal vocals. Now, if you think this band is metalcore, these vocals might be the only thing you have to back that statement up. Other than that this guy's vocals are absolutely incredible.
The main instrument that the band utilizes is the keyboards. The keyboards will probably remind you of Cradle of Filth as well. If you cant tell this band is strongly influences by the Cradle of Filth guys. This album is extremely symphonic. The guitar playing on this album is very melodic and fast tremelo picking more often than not. While this album is very symphonic, it is also very fast and brutal. The drumming is blast beats basically the whole time and if you know me by now you will know that I can never hear the bass in any album I listen to so I couldn't tell you about that. The band also does an occasional breakdown, but its not a common thing during the album.
Basically, there is nothing wrong with this album except for the whiny emo/metalcore-like vocals that are used a couple of times throughout the album. I do know for a fact that they are gone on the full length that should be released later this year. If you are a fan of the early symphonic black metal bands such as Emperor, Cradle of Filth, Limbonic Art, Dimmu Borgir, etc, you should do yourself a favor and check this out.
Abigail Williams is a band hailing from the deserts of Arizona and the West Coast metal scene. They have since relocated to the Cleveland/Detroit area.
Despite what a lot of elitists from the death and black metal realms, Abigail Williams is at least expanding on the extreme ends of the genres while infusing a grandeur form of metalcore. At least they're not playing cheesy, sing-a-long chorus, post-hardcore/metalcore.
Pushing the limits on creativity has always been the stigma for hundreds of bands. Abigail Williams is not an exception. They take their roots in metalcore while adding the extreme elements of death metal and black metal. The vocals are one of the standouts in their sound. Ken Sorceron's vocal influences seem a lot like Dani Filth from Cradle of Filth but that's not necessarily a good thing. Cradle of Filth is not exactly the band to model your band from.
The riffs are obviously metalcore but with that added flavor of extremism. The black metal influences in this band attract me the most. A lot of metalcore bands are modeling after that melo-death/Gothenburg sound perfected by bands such as Dark Tranquility and At The Gates. Abigail Williams marks their territory with influences from Emperor to Absu.
The drumming is another thing altogether. Too many bands are using that triggered effect that in most cases ruins the production quality of the album. Abigail Williams has fallen into this as well. Their drum sound is atrocious. They should have stuck with acoustic.
Another big problem with this band is the member rotation. You would think after so many musicians coming and going, it wouldn't seem worth it to continue but yet they are persevering. They even attracted the attention of Trym of Enslaved, Emperor and Zyklon fame. That, I guess, says something. We'll see how it pans out.
Overall, if you're looking for the extreme ends of metalcore, Abigail Williams is a band to check out. They aren't overly kvlt and aren't over queer with their brand of metalcore. Hopefully with a full-length, they will progress into something better and easier to listen to.
I know, upon reading the title of this review you are astounded by the general hypocrisy of it. "How can a metalcore band be kvlt?" Well, the answer is really that they are neither. I would say there are certainly some similarities to today's metalcore movement i.e. the use of breakdowns and typical At the Gates style chord progressions. However, they really aren't the focus of the band. I guarantee had this band come out of Sweden, metalheads would be mmuch more willing to overlook their -core aspects. Instead, they are labeled as such.
I would call this band the metalcore scenes black metal band. For instance, the Black Dahlia Murder is a band also associated with the metalcore genre, however, they are more of a pure death metal band, especially with the release of Nocturnal. Abigail Williams is more of a black metal band than a core band, but lets not take this comment as saying that they are the next Emperor. Simply, they are more aligned with true or "kvlt" metal than they are given credit for. Now that that's out of the way, onto the review.
The overall feeling of the album is something of a mix of Emperor and At the Gates, epic, but with obvious death metal song structure and chord progression, possibly best shown in the song "Like Carrion Birds." This ep is also odd in the sense that it seems to get progressively more black metal from beginning to end. The opening songs are more death metal/metalcore influenced. Thus, "Like Carrion Birds" is a transitionary song. By the time we reach "Watchtower" though, we are hit with some keyboards remniscient of early Dimmu Borgir, maybe even the more atmospheric or melodic bands such as Vintersorg.
Vocally, Sorceron reminds one of Dani Filth, giving a black metal-esque shriek which is really a voice all its own. In this case, he is a bit weak, though I will say he is not as bad as everyone has been giving him credit for. Production-wise, it is super tight. the drums are highly triggered, and the blasts are hyperspeed. The closer, "Procession of the Aeons" is probably the best song on this ep. It shows the full song-writing capability of the band, as well as shows what makes this band so unique.
The overall impression of the album is that it is a bit keyboard saturated, and maybe a bit amatuerish, but it is certainly something quite unique. As I said, Emperor with At the Gates is the overall impression. I can certainly see how this band could progress into something unique and hopefully, break the stereotype which has been placed upon them. I award them a score of 67. They don't give off the general "wow" factor that is reserved more more groundbreaking first releases, but they have potential. What they do with that potential, only time will tell. I, for one, will be watching this band closely.
A score of 50% is rather ambiguous and in fact before I had heard this EP I would have quite happily petitioned to remove the number '50' from being a potential review score since it basically screams that the reviewer in question is an indecisive asshole. So, uh, I guess I'll get it out of the way and say I'm an indecisive asshole, although I'm sure the latter hardly comes as a shock. Abigail Williams are yet another disposable metalcore band out on the scene but with a catch; they have a hot scene chick on keyboards! Okay so the real catch is that they apparently fuse metalcore with symphonic black/melodic death metal. Their music has keyboards but isn't really symphonic in the same way as Emperor or (thankfully) Dimmu Borgir, and it manages to utilise both melodic death metal riffs as well as a few melodic black metal ones. Admittedly it works to some degree; maybe if they'd stop listening to 'Slaughter of the Soul' they could take up writing some original riffs.
To be honest this EP, despite only being five songs, runs together a bit too easily. The difference between each riff is minute due to the majority of them stemming from SoTS and not really doing anything revolutionary with them. Occasionally they bust out into a nice little tremolo picked riff that helps to break up the monotony and it works pretty damn well especially in 'Watchtower' and 'Procession of the Aeons'. The keyboards sit comfortably in the mix, something that other bands fail to do all too often and while they can be fairly generic and bring nothing ground-breaking they work nicely in the background providing atmosphere and the occasional line during the quieter moments. The keyboards in the introduction to 'Procession of the Aeons' are pretty nice actually; in fact that song is definitely the highlight of the EP thanks to having a lower production value and using the keyboards tastefully throughout with a good mix of ATG and tremolo riffing. It lacks a solo but makes up for this by lacking an annoying breakdown.
The drumming is phenomenal and while I base a lot my opinion on the crushing double bass pattern he manages to maintain near constantly, I can hear him hitting a bajillion things at once and being in about the middle of the mix which is good. At times the double bass can get far too overbearing such as in 'Conqueror Wyrm' but that has more to do with the mixing. On the topic of production this album is a bit polarised with the first three songs having rather high production values and the last two having lesser production values, although I find this enhances the last song 'Procession of the Aeons' but greatly hampers 'Watchtower' since the solo now sounds like a bad synth.
Unfortunately the vocals are fairly atrocious and only sound good on the final track since they're buried further down in the mix than usual. Sorceron's attempts at a black metal rasp are poor at best and sound as though he took a cheese grater to his oesophagus before recording. His clean vocals aren't much better either, being the typical metalcore whine: irritating but forgettable.
'Legend' is an average EP with an equal amount of good and bad moments. Whether you'll enjoy this release is wholly dependent on how much of an elitist cock you are when it comes to judging metalcore bands; it is far more talented than other keyboard laden contemporaries such as Bleeding Through and Still Remains but the guitar work is lesser than Shadows Fall and (some of) Lamb of God. I think the most important thing is to avoid trying to compare it actual symphonic/melodic black metal since in that frame of mind this release falls flat on its face. I can't really recommend nor denounce it but it's interesting for a listen regardless of outcome.
"Legend" by Abigail Williams, a band generally new to the "metalcore" scene. This album is unique, and that's much more than any Dimmu Borgir/Emperor impersonator can say about their music. Sure, I guess if you count ONLY the Melodic/Symphonic elements, it does not come close to something the likes of Drudkh or classic Burzum, but mixed with the perfect bt of hardcore and death metal, this album makes something so unique that I was surprised when I first heard it. Albums comparable would be "A Cold Day In Hell" by Winds of Plague or perhaps "Urban Cancer" by Nefastus Dies.
Metal elitists are giving this band a load of trouble because they have "hardcore" elements in their music, and they go touring with legends like Dark Funeral. They can shove it in their ass, Ellylon [keyboards] makes some of the most beautiful melodies known to music itself, and the band is just straight up solid. There aren't any flaws that I can really come up with. The production is satisfactory to me, the vocals are a nice black/death metal mix, and all the songs are a perfect combination of Black Metal, Death Metal and Hardcore.
Now on to the hardcore elements, there are indeed breakdowns. However, these breakdowns are not vivid and obvious such as those by The Faceless, or even some by Behemoth [whom most metallists love]. They are played in the background of a melodic riff to add an effect or something. The band is always playing something new and always playing something catchy. The point of music is liking a band for what they play, not hating them because they have a few breakdowns in their songs?
My favorite track on the album would be Melquiades, mainly for it's brutal bridges and fills as well as its beautiful chorus. Like... this is the definition or symphony in my opinion, this is new black metal, this is possibly the way that the new wave of black metal could sound. Now you may say to yourself "Well if this hardcore bullshit is the new black metal then I don't want to hear it." Go fuck yourself. It's heavy music, hardcore isn't added for the sake of adding hardcore. It's for trying something new and adding effects into the music that wouldn't usually be there.
For a final verdict, this album is what the title implies, BEAUTIFUL. There is melody, symphony, death, black, core. Emotions run wild, either you get pissed off with heavy tracks like Watchtower, or you get emotional with Melquiades. No matter your mood, this album has it. May I add, the EP has a solid length to it, with no crappy interludes and straight up 4-6 minute songs. GIVE IT A TRY, PLEASE DON'T JUDGE.
Evolution of Elohim
Let me first start off with the fact that this is NOT Metalcore. All I hear about this band is people complaining about how they're a "shitty Metalcore band". What Abigail Williams plays is melodic Death Metal with a very slight hint of Black Metal.
This EP has its ups and downs such as every other CD out there. One of my two big complaints is the fact that this EP is so short. My second complaint being Ken's choice to use clean vocals at times. The cleans really do not fit the music at all. Ken normally screams but from time to time you will hear a few growls. The riffs are good for the most part. On "From a Buried Heart" the guitars are rather slow but it speeds up at points but to nothing overly fast. On "Like Carrion Birds" we get a little more speed, the staccato opening and sweeping arpeggios are cool. "The Conqueror Wyrm" is the slowest one on here.... the riffs are slow and pretty damn boring. Now on "Watchtower" the melodic Death sound is nowhere near apparent and is replaced with more of a melodic Black Metal sound. This one is a faster one, but it does have it slow moments. It does repeat itself quite a bit and the drum machine they used on this song is not great, real drums would have been better. The last track is my favorite. The speed and intensity are great. The melody is there, the insanely fast blast beats are there.... everything seems to piece together really well on this track.
Zach once again proves that he is a great drummer. He has definitely cleaned up since he parted ways with TBDM (don't get me wrong, I liked his work with TBDM but he sounds a bit more professional now). The keyboards are good too. I do feel that the keys compliment the music well. As for bass.... there's really none to be heard.
My reasoning for the 76:
- the music is good, but it does have its boring parts and is rather inconsistent
- the clean vocals are bad
- the cd is too short
I have heard rumors that on their full length, the style is more along the lines of "Procession of the Aeons". If so, I feel it will redeem them (somewhat) with the people who have already disregarded them.
My advice: if you haven't heard these guys yet.... check out their myspace page and just wait for their full length to come out.
I need to begin this review by saying I have no discrimination against the metalcore scene or any bands that participate in it. I'm also not a black metal elitist whom has hatred toward groups that try to fuse the unholy genre with something else. With that out of the way, I can honestly say I know why both the metalcore scene and the black metal elitists scorn Abigail Williams. I was originally suckered into buying this EP because I was convinced it would be a neat forgery of two separate sounds with a touch of creativity, but that's the exact opposite of what "Legend" is. Though the idea sounds promising, "Legend" is just a chunk of trash with few good moments.
Abigail Williams mainly focuses around the melodic riffing and drumming found in most metalcore groups. The guitar work resembles the typical "-core" trend with recycled melodic riffs that don't sound original or creative. Most of the riffs sound too much alike and it's hard to tell apart each song as they all sound way too similar. There are some average solos, but they can't uplift the overall guitar effort in any memorable way. The drumming has its moments, but like the guitars, it's all just the same stuff you'd find in any metalcore band.
I would assume people think Abigail Williams received their "black metal" influence from the symphonic keyboards used during "Legend," but I want to tell you otherwise. Ashley Jurgemeyer's keyboards are far from anything remotely black metal and sound gothic more than anything. The keyboards have a big role in "Legend," which is pretty cool from my standpoint. Jurgemeyer has some good lines throughout most of the tracks and she adds all the pleasant qualities to this EP.
The listener is damned to hear Ken Sorceron and his horrendous vocals throughout this twenty minutes of putrid shit. Sorceron sounds like that cretin from "The Lord Of The Rings" who was just punched in the throat. I usually don't have a problem with a vocalist that has a strange voice, but Sorceron is annoying beyond believe. Hearing this guy shout and growl is the audio equivalent of someone scratching a chalk board. The annoying mixture of screaming and growling spreads an illness of uncorrelated crap that almost drove me nuts. I typically don't mind the metalcore vocal style, but Sorceron's singing is probably one of the most horrid and appalling examples of it .
Abigail Williams is already digging their own grave with "Legend." The band's poor attempt at combining metalcore and what they call "black metal" is a formula for disaster that probably won't impress too many people. Nothing they do is consistent, enjoyable, or even remotely memorable, so just avoid Abigail Williams and their atrocious debut.
This review was written for: http://www.Thrashpit.com
The above is indeed true if you replace "greatest" with "most embarassing", "black metal" with "horrendously shitty metalcore faggotry" and, of course, "Quite possibly" with "Without a doubt". To say that this band is pathetic would be like saying that The Berzerker's drummer is simply just fast. I don't even know where to start describing this horrible excuse for an EP - it has absolutely no redeeming qualities to it whatsoever. This ranks up there with Black Chariot (you know, the band of 15 year olds where they took "grim" pictures outside one their houses and Halloween decorations were plainly visible) in terms of shittiness. If the fact that their bassist (now out of the band for some reason) is from Job For A Cowboy, and that the drummer is from The Black Dahlia Murder isn't enough reason in itself not to listen to this shit, how about the fact that the pianist (what the fuck?) Ashley Jurgemeyer is a self-proclaimed emo (she said "scene girl"...)? Holy fucking shit... Anyway.
This EP starts out with the track "In A Buried Heart", and, as the name implies, it is a disaster right from the beginning, with lots of annoying tremolo picking that fades back and forth to pointless displays of technical "talent". But that's what we've all come to know and love from MySpace bands, isn't it? Lots of annoying chugga chugga riffing, an annoying faux-symphonic sound by Miss Emo, and some decent drumming. The song, I suppose, is supposed to sound dirge-like. This is only apparent if you concentrate very hard on it. It fails. Miserably.
Tracks 2 and 3, "Like Carrion Birds" and "The Conqueror Wyrm", aren't bad music so much as they are annoying as hell. And they just plain suck, for that matter. The keyboard inevitably always sounds thrown in simply for the sake of being able to call the music "symphonic" or even "progressive", which this certainly is not. Think Emperor, mixed with Draconian, with a hint of Marduk at times, topped off with lots and lots and lots of annoying Killswitch Engage and Black Dahlia Murder stupidity, thus killing anything the band may have had going for them if any of the members did not have rather extreme cases of Down Syndrome.
Watchtower is a boring track, to say the least. The songwriting, as always, is uninspired, but with this song Abigail Williams has managed to redefine the word "boring". The stupid attempt at sounding symphonic is here yet again, as are the boring drums, and the lame guitar repetition, but what really takes this track to new levels of patheticness is the fucking vocalist. He's incredibly annoying throughout the entire album, yes, but hearing him in Watchtower just makes me want to stab my fucking ears out. I can't stress this enough - he is so very very VERY bad. There are no words to accurately describe how lame he sounds. All. The. Time. But with a stage name like Ken Sorceron, you really shouldn't be expecting much, I suppose...
This website mentions a 5th track "Procession of the Aeons (Exclusive Demo)", which my copy of the EP, for some reason, does not have on it. As crushing as it is to me to miss an exclusive demo (what the hell is that, anyway?), especially one good enough to convince another reviewer to score this EP an 88%, I'm quite sure that it sucks beyond reason just like the rest of Legend does.
I do not recommend this piece of shit to anyone at all. These shitheads make even Slipknot seem good.
0/100 - worst album ever.
This young band hailing from Arizona deliver on this EP with 20 minutes of powerful, fast, and sometimes epic metal. Merging the bleak sound of black metal with metalcore and a dash of melody, they breathe some new life into all the genres they draw from. This sextet's constantly rotating lineup managed to solidify - with Vehemence veteran Bjorn Dannov and ex-Black Dahlia Murder drummer Zach Gibson - long enough to record this tantalizing record; just long enough to satisfy but also short enough to make you desperately want more.
The band is remarkably tight throughout, with the drums and guitars standing out in terms of intricacy and skill. Their keyboarder, a recent convert to metal fandom, provides just enough harmony to add to the music without diluting its raw power. The bass is, as usual, too quiet for my tastes--but not unforgivably so. To top it off, their vocalist belts out raw, high-pitched shrieks interspersed with occasional deep growls (and even more occasional clean vocals) which adds the final layer to an already-excellent piece.
All in all, this EP is a gem among the myriad of "-core" influenced bands; if metal purists can disregard that label, they may find this album is worth their time.
It seems that basing reviews on preconceptions and self-indulgent ideals about how a band is "supposed" to sound is the new sport around these parts.
Snobbery about the band's origins aside, Abigail Williams have managed to create an excellent, if not entirely original, set of songs on their debut EP "Legend". Drawing influences from more than one genre, including Swedish death metal and the latter-day Norwegian black metal scene, the band move between these styles with ease and with an unexpected flair for such a young band.
The talent here is obvious. The arrangements show a nod to the classical styling of Emperor and Dimmu Borgir, complete with some tasteful orchestrations and keyboard work.
The drums are fairly mechanical sounding, which is possibly down to a poor choice of samples or possibly because they're actually programmed. They certainly sound it, I have to say. Regardless, they work well within the framework of the songs and incorporate some dementedly fast gravity blasts and impressively rapid double bass work.
The guitars execute the strong riffs with aplomb, and it's here where Abigail Williams really show their strength. It's the effortless fusion from discordant black metal to the more savage end of the melodic Swedish style that stands out a mile. The influences couldn't be clearer, but it's the sheer quality of the writing that makes it so enjoyable.
The vocals remind me of the dude from Tvangeste, which isn't necessarily a good thing. In fact Tvangeste is probably a decent reference point overall, only with Abigail Williams dropping in those more furious death metal-esque elements.
If you're short-sighted enough to ignore this release simply because the band are wearing the wrong t-shirts or have the wrong haircut then you're doing yourself a disservice. Abigail Williams have set their stall out with a quality EP of well crafted and superbly executed metal and their future is very bright indeed.
Abigail Williams has been making a peculiar stir with their debut EP 'Legend' in the past few months. I've witnessed a rather high degree of polarization between those that would detract it for its ostensibly mainstream influences and those that would uphold it for its originality and distinct sense of melody. I fall somewhere in the middle, though leaning towards the latter: while I think the claims of utter uniqueness and brilliance are rather overblown, there's no doubt that 'Legend' is still a very fine and in some ways original piece that would appeal to numerous metalheads, from mainstream to utter underground.
For the few of you that haven't heard what all the fuss is about, Abigail Williams plays what is essentially a mix of metalcore and symphonic black metal. Now, while such a concept almost certainly inspires waves of revulsion in many of you readers, let me assure you that such a combination is done with a level of taste that I would certainly not have expected. While traits of both genres are present, they are used well in conjunction with the other. For instance, 'breakdowns' are still part of Abigail Williams' music, such as midway through opener 'From A Buried Heart', it fuses with black metal in a unique, tasteful, and compelling way, which alone is certainly enough to make this EP a worthwhile exploration to the metal listener.
The inclusion of symphonic elements is a welcome addition to the snowy and organic atmosphere reminiscent of Pacific Rim-area black metal artists such as Wolves In The Throne Room. There is a high degree of skill and professionalism on 'Legend', both in musicianship and production. In fact, I'd go as far to say that there are few perceptible flaws with this release: the songwriting is solid and ever-changing, but not in meaningless fashion. Perhaps the only real complaints are a slight lack of differentiation between the songs, but even this isn't a true issue because no song sticks out as a sore thumb in being particularly poor. No, Abigail Williams has certainly crafted a very solid, intriguing EP.
Granted, I'm sure that none of my persistence will dissuade many metalheads from the opinion that such a fusion of genres would be impossible to create without grotesquely insulting either or both of the musical parents. But for those who are willing to step outside the box a little and explore, 'Legend' is most certainly a release to look into.
(Originally written for www.vampire-magazine.com)